The Ultimate Christmas Present (Presence) – Matthew 1:1-17 – Pastor Scott
Matthew starts his book with the genealogy to show that Jesus came from Abraham – the father of all Jews as well as in the line of King David. Matthew lists 42 generations that led to the birth of Jesus. Through this genealogy we can see how the first Christmas came to be. When Jesus was born, there was the expectation He would save them from the evils of this world. But He came with a bigger picture in mind. Jesus made it clear that He had an eternal perspective. God is all about the big picture and He has a plan. Jesus is God’s Ultimate Plan. As we look at the history through the centuries leading up to Jesus’ birth, we can see how God had a plan every step of the way. We know Joseph and Mary were denied a nice room and Jesus was born in a manger. We know the Angels came to announce Jesus’ birth and the Wise Men came with gifts. But there is more to the Christmas story than just what happened that one silent night. It starts back in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit, the only thing they were not supposed to touch. In that one act of disobedience of God, they were banished and their fellowship with God was gone. From that point on, man and God were separated. But God had a plan. And Jesus was always the ultimate plan.
Jesus is the Promised King. Jesus is referred to as the son of Abraham as He is the fulfillment of a promise centuries earlier. God had promised to bless Israel through Abraham. (Genesis 17:3-7) It didn’t start out like that was going to be true as it wasn’t until Abraham was 100 years old that he and his wife Sarah had their first son, Isaac. There are over 40 names mentioned in this genealogy. If you look at some of the names listed you might think that this promise was in jeopardy because of the people God used. But God’s plan is still perfect – even if He uses imperfect people. Jesus was perfect but His family line is far from perfect. It was unusual for Matthew to mention women in the genealogy. But even more surprising were the names he mentioned. Instead of mentioning distinguished ladies such as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, he mentions ladies like Tamar and Rahab – women who were involved in sexual immorality and both possibly were Gentiles which would have not been great examples for Matthew to use considering his Jewish audience.
Tamar was married to Judah’s first son Er, who was so evil, God put him to death. Judah set her up with his second son and he was also put to death by God. Judah had a third son but he was afraid Tamar was cursed so instead of letting her be with his third son, he said to her, “Go live as a widow in your father’s house.” Many years later, Tamar tricked her father in law and she became pregnant by him with twins and one of them Perez is another direct line to Jesus. This is not a story you would like repeated at family gatherings. But the truth is, we live in a fallen, messy and imperfect world filled with imperfect people. People are not always nice. They don’t always make the best decisions. But praise God that He always has a plan and He can even use us imperfect people to carry out His perfect plan!
Jesus is the ultimate King. Jesus is also referred to as the Son of David. Unlike Abraham, David was a king. Jesus was an heir of David’s throne, but while David was known as a man after God’s own heart and considered a great man, he also had his problems with sin. He was an adulterer and a murderer. God’s plan is far greater than sin and any of our faults. Jesus is the Only One who could claim to be sinless. He knows no sin. And He is the ultimate plan from the beginning. Ever since Adam ate the forbidden fruit, God set His plan in motion and even shared His plan early on. Over 2000 years ago, a prophecy that went as far back as Adam and Eve was fulfilled. It promised that King Jesus was coming. He is the ultimate and eternal King. The reign of the promised King is eternal. The reign of the ultimate king is forever. The reign of Jesus will never end.
God’s ultimate plan was not for Jesus to reign on Earth but to reign forever. God’s plan had the bigger picture in mind. An eternal perspective. Jesus was not just a man. He was not just a great teacher, preacher, philosopher or religious figure. He was God on Earth. 100% God. 100% man. He came with a purpose and a plan to rescue His children. He created man to have fellowship with Him and yet, because of their sin, that was not possible. Heaven is perfect. There is no sin, no pain, no tears. Humans are sinful. So how can we be allowed in such a perfect place? We needed a perfect sacrifice. Someone to pay for the penalties of our sin for us. And Jesus being 100% God took a hold of holy God. And being 100% man took a hold of sinful man. And He became that perfect bridge to connect the two. Jesus paid the price for our sins.
That is why He came. That is why there was a first Christmas. That is why we celebrate Jesus’ birth. God had a plan. And He has a plan for your life. Life may be frustrating. You may be discouraged. You may not understand where you are headed or why life is the way it is. Or maybe you feel unsatisfied. Maybe you feel an emptiness inside you. You try to fill it with work or activities or relationships or money or whatever and nothings seems to be able to satisfy. There is only one thing than can satisfy. Only one thing that can save you. And that is a personal relationship with the Savior of the World! That is why He came and that is why there is Christmas!
Christmas is great with the lights, presents, trees, wreaths and decorations. But if that is all you see in Christmas you are missing the main point. Christmas is not about those things. It is about a plan God had for you and me and the entire world. A plan to save us. To give us an opportunity to live the life He created us to live. To have real joy on Earth. To experience the peace that can only come from your Creator. The One who made you!
You need to know Him personally. Would you like to know the God who made you? The God who chose to die for you on that cross 2000 years ago? The God for whom we celebrate Christmas? Make this year’s Christmas one where you can truly experience and celebrate what Christmas was meant to be. From the beginning, Jesus was a part of God’s plan. Will you make Him a part of your life?
Songs of Praise: O Come All Ye Faithful; Away in a Manger; In Christ Alone; We Give You All The Glory; Doxology.
Welcome to Aileen (Oka) Wong for sharing about her work at UC Irvine with Japanese students. Also, welcome to her husband, Marcus, and sons, Troy and Grant. If you would like to find out more about their ministry, please contact Aileen directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org