December 26-28, 2015
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Matthew 1:1-16
“WHAT’S IN A NAME?”
OK, true confession time. I hope I’m not the only one. So you are reading your Bible. You know it’s God’s Word. You know He will use it to strengthen your faith. You know it’s good for you. All of it. But then you run into one of those sections of the Bible. Maybe it’s a listing of the tribes of Israel and what they brought for offerings and for all of them it’s the same. Maybe it’s a listing of the names of the fighting men from each tribe and the numbers of soldiers. Maybe it’s a genealogy, a tracing of the family line that I just read to you. And you think, this is all the same. I’m just going to skip it. Aargh! The conscience kicks in. This is God’s word. The Spirit reminds you that all Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. The Spirit reminds you that Jesus said to diligently study the Scriptures because they testify about Him. Breathe. OK, OK I need to go through this with respect. What does God want me to know? Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels like this!
Well here we are this morning with one of those sections of Scripture. It’s God breathed and useful. It testifies about Jesus. It’s a listing of names. What does it say? In your bulletin the names have been separated in case you want to jot some notes.
Matthew 1:1-16 (NIV1984) 1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David,
Matthew’s Gospel was written originally for the Jewish people who needed to know that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for. That explains why when you read the whole book there are so many quotations of Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah with a corresponding event from the life of Jesus showing He is the Messiah. It also explains this genealogy. It’s going to follow the line of Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather, but more importantly for Jews, his legal father.
the son of Abraham:
It starts with Abraham. What do we know about him? Married to Sarah, a man who could show great faith and great weakness. He trusted God and went when he was told to move to an unknown land, he prayed for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he lied to and deceived the ruler of Egypt instead of trusting God, he and Sarah tried to help God by jointly agreeing to and carrying out adultery with Sarah’s servant, he was willing to sacrifice Isaac trusting God had the power to bring back from the dead.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Pretty good kid, trusted his father’s judgment even though it looked like he would be sacrificed, obediently married the woman his father picked out for him, didn’t want to pass the blessing to Jacob like God had ordered
Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob, there’s a mouthful, name means deceiver, lived up to his name deceiving dad, brother, got deceived by Uncle Laban, married two wives, played favorites with his kids, trusted God’s message in a dream at Bethel, fervent prayer
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, sometimes a good son but had poor judgment, visited a prostitute and got her pregnant, only it wasn’t a prostitute it was Tamar, his daughter in law whom he was treating poorly
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez we don’t know a lot about, other than as was mentioned his mother tricked his father by pretending to be a prostitute
Perez the father of Hezron, just a name in a genealogy
Hezron the father of Ram, just a name in a genealogy
4 Ram the father of Amminadab, just a name in a genealogy
Amminadab the father of Nahshon, he is described as a leader of the people of Judah, sounds like a good reputation
Nahshon the father of Salmon, We know he married Rahab, she was the one who had kept the house of prostitution when the spies came to Jericho but was converted to faith in the LORD
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz is famous and an upstanding man who we learn about in the book of Ruth because he married Ruth
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed was the first son born to Boaz and Ruth, we know nothing more
Obed the father of Jesse, now we’re getting back into familiar territory, Jesse had the 8 sons and the youngest became the most important
6 and Jesse the father of King David. Lots about him, God called David “a man after His own heart” that’s high praise and there are all kinds of examples in the Bible of David humbly acting in faith and then there are his acts of pride and what’s mentioned next, the time he committed adultery with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba and then tried to cover it up by having Uriah killed in battle.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, Solomon, he humbly asked for wisdom and was given that and more by God, great wealth, he ruled a large kingdom but this wise one showed a lack of wisdom by marrying 700 wives and keeping 300 concubines. His wives led him away from the Lord.
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam, he was a foolish and evil king
Rehoboam the father of Abijah, he was just as bad as his dad only without Solomon’s wisdom
Abijah the father of Asa, Asa is described as a good king who wanted to please the Lord.
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, also a good king except for his alliance with evil Ahab of Israel
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, he was such an evil king God gave him and incurable disease of the bowels
Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah serve the Lord 52 years as king
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham, another God fearing king
Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz was an evil king
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah served the Lord. If you remember he was the one who prayed for longer life and God granted him 15 more years!
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, became king at age 12 and the Bible records he was involved in all kinds of detestable practices.
Manasseh the father of Amon, another idol worshipper. He was assassinated.
Amon the father of Josiah, Josiah was 8 years old when he became king. He loved the Lord. At his time the Old Testament Bible which had been unused for years was rediscovered and Josiah worked hard to lead his people back to God.
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. The ruling of the kings ends as Jerusalem is conquered and many of the people taken off to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, All we know is he was the father of next guy
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, He was a leader for God’s people when they returned from exile.
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Eliud,
15 Eliud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
All these are just names recorded in a genaology
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, Joseph we just heard about. Remarkable faith to stick with Mary. A good earthly father.
Now all Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of god may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. What can we learn.
One, you can’t hide your sin from God. I wonder what they would say if Abraham and Jacob and David were asked what part of their histories they wanted written in the Bible. Lord, don’t tell them that. Now they don’t care. We can hide our sin from other people. We can make our lives look so much better than they are on our Fakebook page or with our Christmas letters, but God knows the truth of us. And He loves us anyway.
Two, acts of faith are pleasing to God and inspiring for other believers. Some of those names I read helped you remember their acts of faith, when they trusted God and His ways not themselves and their own ways. You found that refreshing and inspiring. We can learn from that.
Three, you are never a nobody to God. Some of those names I read barely registered. Some of you never heard them before. But God did. There are times in life when we can feel lonely and forgotten, left out of other’s reindeer games. Sometimes people will try to make you feel like a nobody, a failure, worthless. You’re not. God says so. Your names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life.
Four, it begins and ends with Jesus. Did you notice that? 1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, …of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. It’s all about Jesus. He came to be Savior. The punishment of our sins has ended with Jesus. The ability to live as a believer and do those acts of faith begins with Jesus. Peace with God because of Jesus. Confidence that the best is yet to come. Jesus. Knowing that the separation from loved ones caused by death is only temporary, a little while, in the big picture. Jesus.
The Scriptures really do point us to Jesus and how glad we are for that. An honest look at ourselves tells us we are leftovers. We are what’s leftover when you take human beings who were created by God to serve Him perfectly and combine it with sin. But because of Jesus we know God loves to have us. Stay close to Him. Amen.