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The Pedigree, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2021 12:00 am

The Pedigree, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 15, 2021 12:00 am

Genealogies are often a bore to sift through, but that isn't the case with Christ's genealogy. The deeper we delve into the names which comprise that divinely orchestrated list, the more we understand the nature of God's tremendous grace. LINKS: Visit our website: https://www.wisdomonline.org Make a donation: https://www.wisdomonline.org/donate Free ebook: https://www.wisdomonline.org/offer Free issue of our magazine: https://www.wisdomonline.org/magazine

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How do we know that Jesus has a rightful claim to sit on the throne of King David? Jesus can validate his tribal connections and his royal pedigree because his genealogy escaped the destruction of Israel via inspired scripture.

You're holding a copy of thousands of copies available today, which means Jesus is the last verifiable claimant to the throne of David. How much do you know about your genealogy? Have you ever researched your family tree? I know a few things about my past. I find it fun and interesting to think about my ancestors.

But think about this. If you were part of a monarchy, your genealogy would be more than just interesting. It would be critical. If you were a king or a queen, your genealogy would be the basis of claiming your rightful place. Jesus is the descendant of King David and God promised David an eternal throne. Today, we're going to find out why this is important in a lesson Stephen's calling The Pedigree.

Some of the fastest growing internet services are those dealing with genealogical research, already millions of people are researching their family tree through a vast network of sites. I kind of provoked my curiosity, so I went to one of these sites and got about three levels in before they said, you know, you can continue if you give us $7.95. So I said, well, I need a sermon illustration. So I did.

I didn't find anything at all. I did find out that Davey is the 5,592nd most popular name in America. That's really impressive. And I've got an average lifespan of 73 years. So I'm gone in 18 years and my name means absolutely nothing.

So that was a wonderful tour of the internet site. According to one institutional analysis, though, more than 9 million internet users describe genealogy as a serious passion or hobby. I can understand why. One article I read said that people might be simply putting together a multimedia presentation for their next family to get together. Others might be publishing a family history for posterity. Many are searching for living relatives. Many are studying their family's health history in an attempt to kind of get a jump on their own issues.

But all of them, this unbelieving reporter actually said, which is interesting, wrote, they're asking a core question of human nature. Where did I come from? Where did I come from?

Who do I belong to? How far back can I track it? Estimates, if you can believe this, put the number of visitors to genealogy search engines and sites at a staggering 88 million a month.

88 million a month. What would you do if you did a little research and found somebody you were related to and you really didn't want to know that? Maybe it's a little embarrassing in the discovery. I'm related to that guy.

Oh, my. Like one woman I read about who wrote a well-known author and asked him to research her genealogy. She was going to publish it for her rather well-known family.

He agreed. As he began to research, though, he discovered soon into it that one of her distant relatives had been a murderer and was electrocuted at the famous Sing Sing prison in the state of New York. He came to her and he said, look, I'm an honest author and I've got to include this man in your genealogy. And she begged him to leave the guy out of the family tree and he refused to be persuaded. And finally she said, look, if you've got to include him, at least write it in such a way that people won't exactly know he was electrocuted to death at Sing Sing. The book came out, she rushed to that particular page where he wrote of that ancestor and following the entry of his name it read, he occupied the chair of Applied Electricity in one of America's best-known institutions. He was very much attached to his position and died in the harness. There you go.

It cleans it all up. More recently I was sent an e-mail, probably an e-rumor, probably as apocryphal as that Sing Sing story I just told you. Judy Wollman, a professional genealogy researcher in Southern California, was doing some personal work on her family. And she discovered that Senator Harry Reid's great, great uncle Remus Reid, in fact she found that she intersected the family at one point, but she found out that his great, great uncle Remus was hanged for robbing trains in Montana in the late 1880s. She even found a photograph.

I saw it posted. Remus is standing there with about three or four sheriffs and officials around him. He's on a makeshift wooden gallows.

He's standing on top of that trap door that's going to eventually open and leave him just hanging from a rope until he's dead. On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research was this actual inscription. Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to prison in 1883, escaped, robbed the Montana railroad six times, was eventually caught in 1887 by the Pinkerton detective agency, was convicted and hanged.

The entire town came to watch. So rather mischievously Judy emailed this photograph to Senator Harry Reid. Remus Reid, on that wooden platform about to be hung, just to show the senator who he's related to. And at any rate, some time later Harry Reid's staff sent back the following statement, having a little fun of their own, putting a spin on it. Their response was, and I quote, Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana territory. He had several business dealings with the Montana railroad.

In 1887 he was a key player in an investigation by the Pinkerton detective agency. And in 1889 Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing suddenly collapsed. That's the way to clean up your family tree. Well in our last study together we took a look at one of the prophecies of the Messiah. Today I want to look at the family tree, the pedigree of the Messiah from the Gospel by Matthew. So if you'll take your Bibles and turn to Matthew chapter 1, you'll discover his family tree.

In fact it isn't going to take you long, it won't take us long, before we're left wondering why the Lord didn't clean some of this up before posting it for all the world to see. Now before we dive in, these first 17 verses probably cause the average Christian's eyes to kind of glaze over. It isn't the most exciting reading in the Bible. In fact these verses probably represent some of the most skipped verses as Christians begin their Bible reading program through the end of the year. And you look at that and well just the opening line, look. The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. And immediately after reading it you probably let your eyes glance down the page and you see a bunch of names you don't recognize and the rest of them you can't pronounce. There's probably not much here. So you get down to verse 18 and you skip there, now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way and that's the good stuff and that's where you pick it up. Not so fast.

The truth is this is actually a lot more exciting than you might first think. Especially however for the Jewish nation. For the Jewish world to whom Matthew is writing primarily, genealogies were critically important. They determined occupation, land rights. They established a tribal connection and a lineage and all of the advantages that went with that.

Almost like the importance of a social security card or a birth certificate for you to want to do anything official. Well where's your genealogy? These genealogical records were so important that the originals would be kept by the Sanhedrin, Israel's Supreme Court in the temple of Jerusalem. It's interesting to me to find out that the famous historian Josephus when he said about to write his own autobiography in the first century, he began in a way that would have been expected of someone like him. He began with his pedigree. He listed his genealogy. Any Jewish priest in the nation needed to be able to produce an authentic pedigree tracking back his line back to Aaron or he didn't have a job. When Ezra, you may remember, returned from exile and re-established the sacrificial system, several families volunteered several men to serve as priests but they would be denied because they couldn't show their genealogy, their pedigree, the validating credentials.

I also found it interesting that Herod the Great, you remember that king as he intersects the Christmas story as we think of it, he will try to trick the Magi and find and kill Jesus who dared to take his title. He longed to be respected and owned by the nation but he was only half Jew, the other half Edomite, much to his chagrin. Desperately wanted to actually own with a straight face his title, the King of the Jews. That was his. In fact, he had official records destroyed and one of his inserted that showed a pure Jewish bloodline but everybody knew he was lying, everybody knew it wasn't true.

He couldn't validate it. So as you enter this genealogical record of Jesus, you need to know that there are several critical reasons why it would be provided. In fact, for the Jew, the leader, the nation, this is on the edge of your seat stuff.

This is really critical. Let me give you at least three reasons why, not only for the nation but for the church. First, to validate the pedigree of Jesus as legitimately the Messiah.

Look at the opening line again. The book of the genealogy of Jesus, Yeshua, Yahweh, Greek counterpart, which meant the one through whom his salvation or Jehovah saves. By the way, Jesus is Jehovah. Notice further, Jesus Christ, just so there isn't any confusion about this man who has a rather common name, Aesus. He's the Christ. He's the anointed one, as we've studied 1 John together. He's legitimately God in the flesh, the anointed Messiah. That isn't all.

He's claiming to be the center. Notice of David. Since royalty depended on heredity, Jesus is about to track his family tree all the way back to King David to legitimately claim his throne. That's exactly what this genealogy is going to do, and this is going to be stunning, shocking, life-altering reading. It will be inspected, clarified, and proven. In fact, you could paraphrase, one author said, this entire genealogy by basically saying, here's your king. Check it out. Inspect the pedigree through history.

You'll find it true. Now what Matthew does next, and we're just going to do a flyover in case you're wondering if we're going to get very far into this genealogy. What he does is he basically arranges this genealogy into three sections, and those sections follow the three primary stages of Israel's history. Each stage is going to incorporate or include 14 names.

Some names are going to be left out because they're inconsequential to the validation, and some comments are going to be inserted which are going to further startle the nation and create a lot of heartburn in the process. Most evangelical scholars believe that this genealogy is divided into three sections with 14 names each to aid the memory of those that would want the record of their Messiah. They didn't have a copy of Matthew like you do.

We have three or four copies more than likely in our homes and offices, but if you wanted to have a copy of his pedigree, you would be compelled to memorize it and then write it down. This was the way you could stay on track, 14 names in each of the three sections. So the first section, your Bible may have it in paragraphs which is helpful, of Christ's genealogy follows the history of Israel from Abraham all the way down to David the king in verse 6. The second section takes you from David all the way to the captivity of Israel in Babylon verse 11, and it ends with this tragic historical reminder of their deportation to Babylon. And then the third section takes you from the captivity to the birth of Jesus in verse 16 who is implicitly the ultimate deliverer. Now in case you missed any of those three divisions and you're just a type A and you think I'm going to quiz you next week, all you have to do is read verse 17.

Look there. So all the generations from Abraham to David were 14, and from David to the deportation of Babylon 14, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ 14 generations. So now you know where I got my outline. Thank you, Matthew. Alright, so first and foremost, this genealogy is going to validate the royalty of Jesus Christ.

So just think of it. This humble adopted son of a carpenter, this miracle baby boy of a virgin, is actually going to prove he's the heir to the throne of David. Now that's startling.

Secondly, this genealogy will not only serve to validate the pedigree of Jesus, it'll also serve as a demonstration of the providence of God. And let me take you back a little bit in history. Something devastating you may already know about occurred in Jewish history some 1900 years ago when Titus, the Roman governor, finally said on the authorization of the emperor, we're tired of this rebellious little city. Go wipe it out.

And he did. He marched into the city in AD 70 and completely destroyed it, and he destroyed the temple. And with it, and more tragically, and lastingly to this day, those records inside the temple were destroyed as well. In fact, to this day now, we have no genealogy existing that can trace the ancestry of any Jew living today back to their tribal roots. No Jew today can prove he's from the priestly tribe or the royal tribe.

It stopped. There's only one genealogy still available that traces a first century Jew back to his tribe in print, back to royal lines. And here's where it gets interesting. For those Jews today in the 21st century who are looking for the Messiah to come today, that Messiah would be unable to establish his lineage back to David because those official records have been destroyed. But by the providence of God, Matthew, this converted tax collector with his penchant for record keeping, was inspired by the Spirit of God to record the details of the lineage and the pedigree of Jesus, which means Jesus can validate his tribal connections and his royal pedigree because his genealogy escaped the destruction of Israel via inspired scripture. You're holding a copy of thousands of copies available today, which means, I'm getting to the good part, Jesus is the last verifiable claimant to the throne of David. If a man showed up today and said he's the Messiah, he wouldn't be able to prove it genealogically. Jesus is the last claimant who could prove it.

There's another factor, by the way, in this second point, this providence of God. It's tucked inside this genealogy. In fact, if you go to verse 12, you discover the troubling news that Joseph is in the line of Jeconiah, a wicked king. In fact, if you go back to Old Testament records, you find that because of Jeconiah's wickedness, God declares that no descendant of Jeconiah's shall sit upon the throne of David, Jeremiah 22 verse 30. That means that since Joseph is descending from Jeconiah's line, a descendant of Joseph can't claim the throne, but we know that the Messiah is going to sit on David's throne, and he has to have a legitimate claim to it.

So now what? Well, if you compare Matthew's genealogy with Luke's, and we won't take the time today, Luke chapter 3, they both track back to David, but through different descendants. That's because Luke is tracing Mary's natural father, Eli, and his line tracks all the way back to David through his son, Nathan. Matthew is tracking Joseph's line all the way back to David through his son, Solomon. The lines converge at David through different sons. See, Matthew is tracing Jesus' adoptive father, Joseph. Luke is tracing the lineage of Mary. I know this is a little tedious, but hang with me. The result is wonderful.

And by the way, let me do a little sidebar here. It's interesting then to consider the fact that both Mary and Joseph can trace their lineage back to King David. So you think about the fact that this migrant carpenter and his teenage bride have royal blood coursing through their veins.

Here's why the providence of God shines so brilliantly. If Jesus had been the natural-born son of Joseph, he would have been disqualified from David's throne because of this curse on Jeconiah and his descendants. No blood descendant of Jeconiah can sit upon the throne of David. But Jesus wasn't a blood descendant of Joseph, was he? He was adopted.

He was born of a virgin. And from the Virgin Mary, he receives his bloodline back to David, because she's related to David too. And from his adoptive father, Joseph, he receives the legal right passed down, father to son, which was significant as well. You see, there's only one way, only one way, for Jesus to circumvent the curse of Jeconiah, to be related to David legally, and yet still somehow be related to David by blood, which was required. You see what God did? Providentially, when he brought Joseph and Mary together, he knew he was giving Jesus Christ, God the Son of the flesh, the bloodline from Mary, the legal line from Joseph, so he could rightfully claim the throne. His parental lines converged to give him his royal pedigree and the royal privilege to claim Israel's throne perfectly. And he's the last to be able to claim that.

The line ended with him. Now, you can't help but notice, by the way, how Matthew carefully makes sure you understand that Jesus is not in the bloodline of Jeconiah. Look at verse 15.

Now, follow it with me here. And Eliad, the father of Eliezer, and Eliezer, the father of Matan, and Matan, the father of Jacob, and Jacob, the father of Joseph, and Joseph, the father of Jesus. Oh, wait. Notice the shift. Notice the shift. And Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born. We want to make sure nobody misses that. The genealogy served not only to validate the pedigree of Jesus and demonstrate the providence of God in just those two illustrations.

Let me give you one more. Genealogy, thirdly, was given to illustrate the principles of grace. If you want to study each entry of this genealogy, go back into the Old Testament and find out this lineage. You'll discover that Jesus descended from a line of kings, obviously. Matthew's going to name 15 of them in all from David to Jeconiah. You take a closer look sometime and you'll discover that half of those kings were godly. That is, they followed after God, like David, Hezekiah, Josiah. But even still, some of those guys were pretty... well, all of them were pretty bad sinners, right?

And they were the good guys. The other half of the list of kings were utterly and openly and unrepentantly and they didn't care about its sinners, like Ahaz and Rehoboam and Manasseh. In fact, the Bible says of Manasseh, he was more wicked than all the pagan nations around him.

How's that for a reputation? And he refused to repent of his unbelief. Instead of God, you know, cleaning up his family tree, he includes these guys. He claims them as his forefathers.

But you need to keep in mind here that Jesus doesn't come to praise his forefathers. He comes to save them, right? And all their sin looked forward to that sacrifice of Christ upon the tree, as we, to this day, look back in faith. He came to save them. He came to die for them.

He came to pay the penalty for their sin. Now, still more shocking than any inclusion of a king, either godly or wicked, was the fact that Jesus would inspire the inclusion of women into the public record of his royal genealogy. They didn't have rights in these days.

They were considered property. So this would be highly controversial. And again, this is the hinting of the gospel, where men and women are equal in the eyes of God in relation to their salvation. They come to Christ just like men do. Sinners forgiven by the grace of God.

But this would be highly controversial. In fact, add to this scandal of grace, all four women just so happen to be Gentiles. There were a lot of Jewish women he could have thrown in here. But now that he has their attention, he chooses four Gentile women. So Jewish, and by the way, again, Jewish genealogies typically bent over backward to show their pure Jewish lineage. If there is anything murky, well, we'll just forget about that second cousin or whatever. But Jesus openly admits what every Jew already knew. They already knew it. The royal line is mixed with the blood of Jew and Gentile already. By the way, so is the church. We're all mixed up, aren't we?

What a demonstration of grace. So who does he choose? Let's look quickly. Tamar is the first one mentioned in verse three. Look there in Judah. He's the fountainhead of the royal tribe. Judah, the father of Perez and Zara by Tamar.

And you're thinking, no, no, no, no, no. Put a period after Zara. You don't need to mention Tamar. She's a blemish on the reputation of our forefather Judah, the fountainhead of the royal line. Her story unfolds in Genesis chapter 38, where she marries the son of Judah. Her husband dies. She marries again.

That husband dies. She wants a child. And so she dresses like a temple prostitute with a veil covering her face. She sits near the place where her father-in-law Judah is tending. The sheep, she catches his eye. Nine months later, she has twins by him. And the first born joins the lineage of the Messiah and exposes Judah in the process. I mean, do you really want to hint at that episode? Let's clean the family tree up. Let's get that little branch taken care of.

No, no, no. Frankly, if we were God, we would have switched tribes at that point, wouldn't we? I think Tamar is specifically mentioned to remind Israel that the very fountainhead of this royal line, that he's a sinner, that he needs a savior too. Just like us, every person in the lineage of Jesus needed Jesus to save them.

Jesus fulfilled all of the promises God made. He has a rightful claim to the throne. Not only the throne of David, but the throne of your heart. Today's lesson is not complete, but our time is running short, so you'll hear the conclusion to this message on tomorrow's broadcast. Between now and then, we have a free resource for you during December. We've taken this entire series, an indescribable gift, and turned it into an e-book that you can download free of charge. Visit wisdomonline.org. Thanks for joining us today here on Wisdom for the Heart. Stephen Davey will be back next time with the conclusion to this message. Join us then. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-09 05:24:20 / 2023-07-09 05:33:59 / 10

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