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Jesus' Family Tree – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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December 7, 2023 1:00 am

Jesus' Family Tree – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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December 7, 2023 1:00 am

The Bible clearly teaches Jesus was truly “the image of the invisible God” and truly man. In His humanity He identifies with us. In this message, Pastor Lutzer shows how Jesus demolished two walls that divide humanity through his family lineage. The account of Jesus’ family tree in Scripture includes both Jews and Gentiles as well as men and women.

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Skip Heitzig
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was a man, but indeed a very special man. He is the image of the invisible God. In His humanity, He identifies with us as He reveals the Father up close and personal. Today we begin a series on the family of Jesus.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, although Jesus was Jewish, His sacrifice extends to the whole human race, doesn't it?

Dave, you're absolutely right. As a matter of fact, do you remember when God called Abraham? He said through you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.

So although Jesus Christ was brought up in a Jewish home, the fact is that He died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. You know, as we anticipate the new year, we certainly want to give that year to God. And Rebecca and I have discovered it is so important to begin each day with God. And in addition to reading scriptures, we use devotionals like the one I'm holding in my hands entitled God's Best for My Life by Lloyd John Ogilvie. It has a scripture reading, and then of course very brief nuggets of truth are found throughout the book every single day of the year. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. The Jesus who was born into a human family is our Savior. May we want to get to know Him better. If you've ever been to the city of London, most assuredly you've seen Trafalgar Square. And there in the square there is a very, very high column that seems to reach to the heavens, and on top of the column there is a statue to Lord Nelson, one of Britain's great admired admirals. The problem of course is that you really can't see his face. You certainly can't see the features of his face because he is too high, too far away.

So what they decided to do in England is to make a replica of that statue and to just leave it on eye level so that you can see him and to see what he looked like up close and personal. When Jesus came to earth, God got up close and personal. The only begotten God in the bosom of the Father, no one had seen him, but the Son has revealed him. Jesus is God at eye level. When he said, he who has seen me has seen the Father, he was saying, this is what God is like.

See him now. In order for us to understand how Jesus indeed was at eye level, it's interesting that the Bible goes to great lengths to show his humanity. We of course are oftentimes very much desirous to prove his divinity, but Jesus was fully man, fully man, body, soul, and spirit. And in order for us to understand who his relatives were, I'm going to be preaching a series of four messages entitled The Family of Jesus. First of all, his genealogy, his family tree, and then we'll look into some of his relatives. We'll look at Joseph and Mary and then the rest of us, which I think is going to come as quite a surprise. But today, his family tree. If Jesus were to have a picnic and all of his ancestors could be raised, who would it be at the picnic?

Who would be considered part of the family? In order to understand that, please take your Bibles and turn to Matthew chapter one. Matthew chapter one, where Matthew wants us to understand immediately who Jesus really was from the standpoint of his family tree. Matthew one verse one, the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. First of all, Jesus is obviously related to the Jews.

He's related to the Jews, and that's very clear here. And notice that you read it and you say, well, why does he put David first? Because obviously Abraham chronologically comes before David. And the answer to that question is that Matthew wants us to understand right away that Jesus has a right to the throne of David. Because you remember what God said to David, David, I'm going to give you a house.

That's a genealogy. I'm going to give you descendants, and I'm going to give you a throne, and I'm going to give you a kingdom. I'm going to give you a dynasty, God said. And so all throughout the Old Testament, the Jews are looking forward to the coming of Messiah who will sit on the throne of David. And the angel says to Mary that he will sit on the throne of David. By the way, many of us think that Jesus has not yet sat down on the throne of David. He's ruling in heaven today, but the throne of David, this is an earthly kingdom that is still to come. Matthew is very anxious to show that Jesus has a right to be called the son of David so that he has a right to be the king or the house of David. And so right out of the chute, Matthew says the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. God promised Abraham a land that he would become a great nation, that he also would be great not only as a nation, but personally great, and then that he would also be a blessing to others. Through him, all the families of the earth would be blessed.

Who would show up for the picnic? Well, most assuredly, Jesus Christ's ancestors, and among them would be David and Abraham. Jesus was completely Jewish. Many of you perhaps know of a friend of ours, Marty Goetz.

Marty oftentimes plays in various venues. Rebecca and I were with them this fall at a conference, and he leads people in worship and plays the piano and does so masterfully. But he was giving his testimony how that he was raised Jewish, went through bar mitzvah and everything else, and somebody challenged him that Jesus was the Messiah. And he said that's absolutely, to his way of thinking, unthinkable. He said that Jesus was for the Christians, not for the Jews. Then somebody gave him a copy of the New Testament, and he began to read it, and he said, Jesus is more Jewish than I am.

Here it is right here. And if you are of Jewish descent, Jesus is more Jewish than you are. Who is Jesus related to? First of all, he is related, of course, to the Jews.

Now David Hume was that great philosopher, that great skeptic, and Hume made the statement that it would be immoral for God to reveal himself to one people in one small part of the world. He was, of course, referring to the Jews and the Old Testament. Well, what Matthew wants to show also is that Jesus is not just related to the Jews. He's also related to the Gentiles. And now we come to a part in the genealogy that was mind-boggling for the folks, especially at the time that it was written. We read it, and we read it very quickly. First of all, no women were ever considered part of a genealogy.

They just didn't rate. Genealogies were always through men, not through women. Matthew includes four women in his genealogy. That in itself is shocking, but when you think of the women that he included, it even becomes more shocking.

You'll notice that he says that Jesus obviously is related to Gentiles. Let's look at, for example, Tamar in verse three. And Judah, the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar. That's the first woman that's listed.

Now she's a Canaanite. And who was Tamar? Tamar has a very sordid history, by the way, Genesis chapter 39.

Let me review it so that you might know how radical it was to include her in the genealogy. There was a man by the name of Judah who was the son of Jacob, and Judah had a son by the name of Ur, and he was evil and died. But Ur had married Tamar, this Canaanite lady. And after he died, she was married to his brother, and then the brother died, and so Tamar was a widow. But her father-in-law obviously was Judah. Now Tamar was angry at him because he didn't keep a promise.

That detail is not necessary to the story. And what she does during the time when sheep are being sheared, and she knows that Judah is in the vicinity, she dongs the garments of a prostitute. She covers her face. And Judah comes along and indicates that he wants a relationship with her, and she says, well, what will you give me? And he says, a goat. And she says, well, how will I know that I'll get it?

He said, I'll give you my staff as a surety, as a pledge. She accepts the deal. They have a relationship together. She gets pregnant. He still does not know that the relationship was with his daughter-in-law well. Three months later, she shows up pregnant, and he says, because of your immorality, you ought to be burned.

Talk about a double standard. She says, well, I'm pregnant by the person to whom this staff belongs. And if there's any ray of hope in Judah's life, it is simply this.

He says, you are more righteous than I. He was caught in his sin. Well, that's the story, really, of Tamar. She has twins as a result of the relationship, and the twins, of all things, are in Jesus Christ's genealogy. There it is, Perez and Zerah, twins that she bore. So that's the story of Tamar, story of incest, of immorality.

Who's next in the list here? Well, in terms of women, you have Rahab, another Canaanite. This is verse 5. And Solomon, the father of Boaz, by Rahab. Rahab? Everyone knows that Rahab was a prostitute. And you know the story of how she is there in Jericho, the spies, the Israelite spies come, and they want to spy out the land, and they come to her place.

I guess it was kind of the meeting spot, because she was kind of the Heidi Fleiss, if you know, of that particular generation. And she believes in Jehovah. She believes that Jehovah is the true God. She disbelieves in the gods of the Canaanites, and she misleads the secret service of Jericho, because they're looking for these spies. She tells them, in fact, an untruth, and she sends the spies away, and then says, remember me, because I'll have a cord that will come on the other side of the wall, and when you see me, spare my house, when Jericho collapses, and they kept that word. So that's Rahab's story.

Rather sordid, I would say. And then the other woman, the other women, I should say, the next is Ruth. Now she's a Moabitess. She's a Moabitess, which they were regarded as kind of cousins to the Israelites, but again, because they were cousins, they were half-breeds and generally despised by the Jews. And then we have Bathsheba. Now, Bathsheba isn't specifically mentioned by name, but look at there in verse 6, and David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah. And that, of course, indicates Bathsheba, because you know the story well, don't you? Now, Bathsheba was an Israelite, but she was one who had a mixed marriage, because her husband, Uriah, who is very loyal to David, her husband was a Hittite. Who in the world are the Hittites?

The Hittites were a tribe within the Canaanite population. So she's in this particular marriage. David, of course, brings her over to the palace. Sometime later, she sends him a note and says, I'm pregnant, signed B. And David realizes that what was supposed to be just a casual affair turns out to be very complicated. And he ends up killing Uriah, and you know the rest of the story. And Bathsheba, by the way, becomes the mother of Solomon, and God says, regarding Solomon, and the Lord loved him. Isn't God full of grace?

Full of grace and mercy and forgiveness. Now, in order to understand this, notice that there are two walls that are just smashed in this genealogy. The first wall is between Jew and Gentile. Right immediately, Matthew wants to understand that Jesus isn't just the Messiah to the Jews. Jesus is Savior, the Savior to the Gentiles. Matthew wants us to understand that.

But more than that, another wall also goes tumbling down. And that's the wall between men and women. God, through his word and through the inspiration of Matthew, is saying women can be included, too, in the genealogy. And yes, these women, for the most part, had a sordid past. But if God can include them, he can include anybody in his grace and mercy. And anyone can become a member of Jesus Christ's family tree. Jerome, the great Bible translator, looked at these women in the text and says everyone is a sinner, and that is why they are here. This is a chapter about grace. They obviously could not have saved themselves.

In fact, no one can. And there it stands. Talk about a skeleton in Jesus Christ's family tree. Luther said all these women are foreigners.

And he says we are all foreigners. He says they are out of their country, but they are included in God's matchless grace and in his genealogy. Hendrickson, a commentator, says it is through such a channel of iniquity, the Savior, according to his human nature, was willing to pass on his way from the glories of heaven to the incarnation and the crucifixion.

It is through that channel that Jesus Christ has come to us. So Jesus Christ is related, obviously, who would show up for his family picnic. Well, the Jews certainly would.

The genealogy is clear. But so would the Gentiles. They also would show up as they think about his family tree. And then we would also.

We would also. The Bible says in the book of Hebrews that Jesus is related to all of us. He said we have a Savior, it says in Hebrews, who is not unable to identify with us because he was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, most assuredly. Now of course, God knows exactly what we're going through because he's God. But with the coming of Jesus, you have an added dimension. Jesus can say, I not only know all the details of your experience, but I have personally experienced it. Experience rejection, I know what it's like. Injustice, I know what it's like.

Hunger, I've been there. And so he identifies with all of us. There's a verse in the book of Hebrews that I've often pondered. It says in chapter two, in effect, that God's intention is to bring many sons into glory. God says, I have one son, but I want more. And it is through suffering that these sons and daughters are brought into glory along with Jesus, who also had to go through suffering.

And then it says, wherefore, because of this, he is not ashamed to call us his brothers. Do you have a relative that you would prefer to not attend the family picnic? You know, every family tree has a little bit of sap. Some have more than others. There are some people that they show up and you say, I hope they won't be here too long.

Some people you don't want to be identified with. Here's Jesus who says, you know, he says to you and to me, for believers, I'm not ashamed to call you my brother. Wow. Thank you, Jesus. He's not ashamed to call us his brothers. As a matter of fact, because God has one son and he's brought him into glory and is bringing us into glory, because of that, the Bible says that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

Oh, think about it because we're going too fast this morning. Just imagine God says, I make no distinction between the inheritance that Jesus will receive and the inheritance that you will receive. I'm not ashamed. He isn't ashamed to say you are my brother.

Wow. So Jesus is related to us too. And as we think about this genealogy, I'd like to make two life transforming comments.

First of all, it is obvious that there is more grace in God's heart than there is sin in your past. You know, I read this and of course I've studied this genealogy before and even preached on it many years ago, but I never realized until yesterday that Perez and Zara are included in this genealogy. They are the children of Tamar impregnated by her father-in-law. You know, we live in an age of dysfunctional families. Some of you, God bless you, you don't know who your father is. I've talked to some of you and you don't know that and what a hole that creates within your heart.

Or maybe you never received the approval of your father and on and on it goes. The other day I was listening to a CD about a man who was telling how they adopted a little child who had been, whose father was a rapist and they adopted that child because they said, you know, he has no responsibility for what happened and so they're raising this child for the glory of God and the honor of his name. We live in a very, very broken world. But it's not a new world. Just look at the genealogy of Jesus. Brokenness all over the place. We could go through and we could find out more skeletons in Jesus Christ's closet in his family tree. Matthew is saying to you and to me, immediately please understand that Jesus Christ is for everyone and the grace of God that.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-07 03:34:43 / 2023-12-07 03:42:08 / 7

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