************ Sermon on Matthew 1:18 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on December 24, 2017


Matthew 1:18-25
Matthew 1:18
"Whose Son is the Christ?"
Advent

Introduction
"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" That's the question Jesus asked the Pharisees (Mt 22:42). Whose son is the Christ? Or, to put it another way, whose son is the Messiah, the King, the King of the Jews?

"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" That was an important question at the time of Jesus. That continues to be an important question today.

"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" That's the question I want to ask you on this final Sunday of Advent: Whose son is the Christ? That's a question everyone of us needs to consider. That's a question everyone of us needs to answer.

I Jesus is the Son of David
A "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" Do you know Matthew gives us two different answers? He gives us the first answer in the genealogy of verses 1-17.

What do we learn when we look at this genealogy? We learn that Jesus is the son of David. Listen to verse 1:
(Mt 1:1) A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew then lists the genealogy going from Abraham to David to the descendants of David; he ends with Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

B "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" We know from the Old Testament that the Christ, the Messiah, the King, the King of the Jews, needs to be the son of David (2 Sam 7:12-14). That is why Matthew shows us in the genealogy that Jesus is a royal son of David. He is telling us Jesus is the Christ.

"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" The first answer: He is the son of David.

C "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" It should not surprise us that when Jesus asked the Pharisees this question they answered by saying, "The son of David." The Pharisees were students of the Old Testament Scriptures. They knew the Christ, the Messiah, the King, had to be the son of David; that is, they knew the Messiah had to be part of the royal family line of David.

"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David." Good answer.

D "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David." Now, let us think of the implications of this. To be part of the family line of David means the Christ is human like David. Fully human. With flesh and blood. Part of a family. Born of a mother.

In this Christmas season we celebrate that Messiah Jesus has come. We celebrate that Christ Jesus is the son of David. We celebrate that He is born of Mary. We celebrate the birthday of a King.

II Jesus is the Son of God
A "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" Matthew gives us the second answer in the genealogy of verse 18. You heard me right: Verse 18 is a genealogy. Some of you might be scratching your head and saying, "What genealogy? I don't see a genealogy in verse 18!"

I wish you all could read Greek and have a Greek Bible in front of you. Because if you do you would see that verse 18 uses the same word as verse 1. The Greek word for "birth" in verse 18 is the same as the Greek word for "genealogy" in verse 1. And you know the word; everyone of you knows the word. It is the word "genesis."

So what does this second genealogy tells us? It tells us Christ Jesus is the Son of God. Listen to verse 18:
(Mt 1:18) This is how the birth [the genealogy] of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
Do you hear? The divine genealogy of Jesus, this genesis of Jesus, is through the Holy Spirit.

Verse 1 introduces the human genealogy of Jesus while verse 18 introduces the divine genealogy of Jesus. Verse 1 and following tells us Jesus is the son of David. Verse 18 and following tells us Jesus is the Son of God.

B "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David," said the Pharisees. So far, so good. So far they are on the same page as Matthew. However, the Pharisees weren't sure of anything else. They had no idea that the Messiah, the Christ, was the son of David AND the Son of God. They had no idea that He would be God in human flesh. They had no idea that he could be the son of David and the Lord of David at the same time. They had no idea that His would be a virgin birth. They had no idea that He would suffer and die. They didn't know what our great hymn writers know. I think, for instance, of "Once in Royal David's City." Listen to stanza two:
He came down to earth from heaven
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall.
With the poor, and mean, and lowly
Lived on earth, our Savior holy.

"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" The Pharisees shouldn't have been confused and ignorant. After all, everything Jesus claimed about the Messiah is found in the Old Testament. Standing on this side of Christmas it is easy for us to see this and understand because we live in the time when all the promises about the Messiah have been fulfilled and we have the illuminating presence of the Spirit. But it is hard to see and understand any of this if all you have are the promises.

"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" When Jesus tried to stretch their minds and their thoughts and their theology, when Jesus claimed to be both the son of David and the Son of God, the Pharisees accused Him of blasphemy. They gnashed their teeth. They demanded the death penalty.

"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" Many people today have the same problem as the Pharisees. They have no problems with Jesus being the son of David. They look at Matthew's human genealogy and even agree that Jesus is a royal son of David. But they are not willing to believe He is also the Son of God. They are not willing to believe He is God in human flesh born of the virgin Mary. They would rather focus on Jesus as the cute little baby in the manger instead of also seeing Him as Mighty God and Everlasting Father.

C "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" Based upon the Old Testament, Matthew's second answer is that the Christ is the Son of God. What Old Testament texts? Let's run through some of them.

The first Old Testament passage I want to mention is Psalm 2. God announces "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." Notice what God proclaims about this King in the very next verse:
(Ps 2:7-8) "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. (8) Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession."
Do you hear that? The King, the Christ, the Messiah, is God's Son!

A verse we hear often at Christmas time is from Isaiah 9. Listen to what this verse says about the King, the Christ, the Messiah:
(Isa 9:6) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Consider next the text from Isaiah quoted by Matthew in our Bible reading for this morning:
(Mt 1:23) "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us."
This, too, is a prophecy about the King, the Christ, the Messiah. He is "God with us."

"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" The teaching of the Old Testament is that He is the Son of God.

D Now, remember, Matthew is teaching us the genealogy of Jesus:
(Mt 1:18) This is how the birth [the genealogy] of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
What is Matthew saying today? Matthew is saying Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the King, the King of the Jews. Jesus is the son of David and He is also the Son of God. That's what Matthew is saying to his audience. Jesus, the son of David, the Son of God, is the Messiah.

E In telling us the divine genealogy of Jesus, Matthew introduces us to a woman named Mary. We don't know much about Mary. Her father was Heli. Her cousin was Elizabeth. Her nephew was John the Baptist. Her early life was spent in Nazareth. She attended a family wedding in Cana. She had other sons and daughters. She was there at the cross.

We are told Mary "was pledged to be married to Joseph." Does this mean they were engaged? Was Mary wearing a big diamond on her finger? Did Joseph give her a promise ring to hang on her necklace? Was she wearing his shirt or his jacket? What does this mean? This means this young couple had marriage plans -- first century Jewish marriage plans.

Mary "was pledged to be married to Joseph." This means a contract was drawn up -- either by their families or maybe by the couple themselves -- that promised marriage six to twelve months in the future. The six to twelve months, what we know as the betrothal period, was a period of testing, a time of probation. It gave both partners in the contract a time to prove to their satisfaction that the other side was pure and holy. If the woman was pregnant, it would be known before the betrothal was over; if the man was a rapist or molester, unfit to be a husband, the truth would come out before the wedding.

The time of betrothal is a reminder that God is concerned with purity and virginity is of high value to Him. Today's world thinks this is old-fashioned and foolish but God and His church thinks this is beautiful and lovely.

However, something happened during the betrothal of Joseph and Mary. Mary was found to be pregnant. Joseph knew he was not the father. So he could come to only one conclusion: Mary must not be pure; Mary must not be a virgin. Which means Mary violated the marriage vows. So Joseph resolved to divorce her quietly. Our text tells us Joseph was wrong in his conclusion because Mary was "with child through the Holy Spirit."

Mary "was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit." What does this tell us? That Mary was not impure and sinful. In fact, the image of her in Luke's gospel is the opposite. When the angel tells her she is going to be pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit she submits to the Word and will of God: "May it be to me as you have said" (Lk 1:38). She knew people would talk. She knew her pregnancy would make her look impure and sinful. If this happened today, people would say she needs to see a counselor. Or, she needs to have an abortion. Or, she needs to contact Bethany Christian Services. "May it be to me as you said." What a devout woman of faith who submitted to the Word and will of God in spite of the problems it would cause her.

Because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, we know He is the Son of God. And, because He is the Son of God, we know He is the Christ, the Messiah, the King, the King of the Jews.

III Jesus is the Savior
"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" He is the son of David. He is the Son of God.

Why is this important? Here we come to the words of verse 21:
(Mt 1:21) She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

The Christ, the Messiah -- as the son of David and the Son of God -- is the Savior. He needs to be both to be our Savior. He needs to be both the son of David and the Son of God to be our Savior from sin. He needs to be the son of David in the flesh to pay for sin. He needs to be the Son of God to bear the weight of God's anger against human sin.

There is one, only One, in all of history Who is qualified to be Savior. Jesus, and only Jesus, is the only One Who is both the son of David and the Son of God.

Conclusion
"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" Jesus wants us to see and confess what the Pharisees could not: that Jesus Christ is the son of David and the Son of God; that Jesus Christ is the son of David and the Son of God in order to save us from our sins.
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