Bill Clinton: Who is he?
Nelson Mandela: Who is he?
Quite a difference isn’t there? There is a lot of power, story, identity in a name. So why do you think Matthew opened his book this way?:
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
1. Son of David
2. Son of Abraham
Reverse order to the genealogy.
a. Not the son of Joseph.
b. Secondary identity is “son of Abraham.”
c. Primary identity is “son of David.”
Named: Jesus Christ. One of only four uses of the full title, before his resurrection, Jesus being his proper name by prophetic birth revealing the character and destiny of the man, and Christ being his mission title - the saviour spoken of by the prophets. This let’s the audience (primarily Jews) know that Matthew is referring to the Messiah of God and the one who fulfills the hope of Israel.
In Matthew’s thinking, the primary things we need to know about Jesus Christ as God’s Messiah, are that he is the son of David and the son of Abraham. So what?
1. Abraham was the model of faith of all those from the nations - true sons and daughters of Abraham by faith - who would have a heart to hear God call and say, “go up to a land I will show you” and who would drop everything and say, “on my way.” So much so, that he would be known as a “friend of God.” Abraham was a normal guy, not a king. He was not a ruler, just a friend. But it was through the faith that Abraham had, that God was able to use him to bless the nations of the earth. He was the father of faith and friendship with God. Jesus would open the doors, as a son of Abraham, to fill full the measure of God’s promise to Abraham that he would have sons numbering as the sand of the sea or the stars of the sky. What kind of sons do you think they are?
They are sons and daughters, through Jesus as a son of Abraham, who can hear God speak to them even out of cluttered up cultural pressures, persuasions, false gods and the like, and say, “I hear Your call! I’m in. I’ll follow. I want friendship with You, my God, above everything else.” Abraham’s faith followed the prophetic voice of God into the unknown. Abraham’s faith waited with his wife’s womb was as good as dead to see the manifestation of God’s promise for a son. Abraham’s faith interceded for the lost in an unprecedented, passionate and daring way at Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham’s faith obediently put the very son of God’s promise on the altar to kill him, trusting God’s intervention to raise him from the dead.
And you are Abraham’s offspring by faith. You, through Jesus, are the fulfillment of that kind of faith. You are the promise fulfilled in Jesus. But are you living like it? Have you ever tried to call your child to come to dinner when he was in the midst of an intense video game, or at the height of a movie’s climax, or in the middle of a phone call from his girlfriend? In God’s eyes, most of us are more like that child. But he wants us more like Abraham.
2. David was an archetypal king. He was a king whose identity was wrapped in worship and his rule rooted in revelation. David’s psalms are full of prophecy because he was a worshipper. He moved and spoke in concert with the Spirit of God unlike any other king that ever lived on the earth. When David spread Israel’s rule, it was a rule under prophetic blessing. If you came subject to David’s rule, you came subject to exposure to the living God, to the clear word of the Lord, to huge material blessing, to a reign of peace, filled with mercy and welcome.
David is not known for his spectacular morality. He is known for his heart after God which took it’s basic expression in worship, in the raising up of true prophets, himself being a prophet-king, and righteous rulership in an ever-expanding kingdom of peace. David, set the stage in two ways. Being a son of David, meant Jesus Christ was not just in David’s physical lineage, but was designed to be the consummate prophet-king. David’s was not a temporal kingdom, but an eternal one. All other kings failed in worship and so, to that degree, were merely figureheads of yet another earthly kingdom. The USSR. The Empire of Japan. The United Kingdom. The USA. All of them are temporal kingdoms. The have all risen. Some have already fallen. All will eventually fall. But not David’s. David’s kingdom is founded on worship of the eternal God, and based upon the revelatory and prophetic word of God. So his kingdom lasts forever. Jesus comes as a son of David, a product of God’s grace in action to mankind, facilitated through worship and prophecy, to make it so.
So....what does that mean when Jesus is called, “the firstborn among many brethren”? What does that mean for you? What does it mean about your spiritual lineage by adoption?
Application: We all are born into this line the moment we entered into relationship with the Father through repenting of our sins and inviting Jesus into our hearts. We began a new, kingdom relationship. That relationship follows two distinct and complementary streams of relationship in God’s history.
a. It follows the stream of Abraham. In Jesus, we are to be living fulfillments of the promise to Abraham - sons/daughters of Abraham. We are to be living Christs -reflections of how Jesus lived as a son of Abraham. We are to live a life of radical faith and friendship with God. We will never live our destiny, never see the glory God has destined us for, until we take steps to be able to hear God call, to respond by faith, and to move with just radical obedience that an intimacy develops whereby God knows He can depend on us. And from that, we move from servant, to child, to friend of God. He wants to call us friends; because friends show their friends everything they are doing so that together, a great thing can happen.
b. It follows the relational stream of David. In Jesus, as a son of David, we were destined to rule an eternal kingdom. That kingdom is a kingdom that flows from the heart to worship God in the extreme. It is an eternal echo in heaven broadcasting itself on earth - the sound of music playing and calling sons and daughters to their eternal birthright as worshipping co-regents. We are to establish God’s rule, here - now! Jesus, as a son of David, healed EVERYBODY who came to him. That is God’s eternal kingdom! Jesus forgave the sins of everyone who sought Him through repentance. That is God’s eternal kingdom. Jesus cast out demons from the oppressed, and loved the outcasts that religious culture had rejected. That is God’s eternal kingdom breaking into this realm. Jesus defeated the works of the devil, smashed his dominion, and brought freedom to all who would receive him. That’s what it meant for Jesus to be a son of David. And that is what we are to be in His name.
That relationship, however, is like every other. The reality of it and the destiny of it and the fruit of it depends entirely on the development of it. God never called Jesus a son of Abraham, a son of David, with the intent to abandon Him to figure out His sonship on His own with His own resources. He called him and then anointed Him with the Holy Spirit, and secured a deep, powerful relationship of friendship with Him through prayer and sacred times apart where He was alone with God in heaven. Their communion as Father & Son, friends, was never broken. And so, the eternal kingdom of David, and the Son of David, finally broke in to begin taking over the kingdom of darkness which dominated the earth.
None of this will ever come to pass until you first see that you are not here by accident; you are not here to get through another church service; you are not here to put a couple of bucks in the offering plate or do some menial service so you can say you have served the Lord. You are here, above all, to learn what it means to be a son/daughter of Abraham, and a son/daughter of David, even as Jesus Christ himself was. You are called to participation in God’s salvation of the people of this creation through friendship, revelation and exercising dominion and expanding His kingdom through worship, knowing Him and the expression of His will, and empowerment by the Holy Spirit to execute that will.
[Challenge: seek a new “primary” identity as a daughter/son of David, Abraham, God]