The Person of the King

Matthew 1:1 – 4:25

by Paul George

Matthew answers the questions, was Jesus the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament. If He was the Messiah why did He fail to establish the promised kingdom? Will it ever be established? What is God’s purpose in the meantime?

If Matthew’s claim Jesus is the Messiah he must prove it. He must prove the promise to Abraham, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” and “in your seed all the nations shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3; 22:18) is fulfilled in Jesus. He must prove the promise to King David “your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16) is fulfilled in Jesus. He must prove Jesus, in the flesh, is a descendant of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, and Judah. He must prove Jesus is a descendant of David. Matthew offers as evidence Jesus is the Messiah, in Him the promise to Abraham and David Jesus’ genealogy.

There is something in Jesus’ genealogy that is not found in Luke’s genealogy, four women’s names, Rahab, a Canaanite, and Ruth, a Moabite, Tamar and Bathsheba who were adulteresses. Why is Matthew including these names in Jesus’ genealogy? There is a reason.

In verse 16 Matthew makes an interesting statement. He said, “Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.”  The usage of the word “whom” implies Jesus was born of Mary only and not of Mary and Joseph. This is the strongest evidence for the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus.

Matthew’s genealogy establishes Jesus’ legal right to the throne of David. He is a descendant of David. Jesus is called the Messiah that is the Anointed. Aaron the priest was anointed (Leviticus 8:12), Elisha the prophet was anointed (1 Kings 19:16) and David the king was anointed (1 Samuel 16:13). Jesus will fill all three of these offices.

Matthew offers the birth of Jesus as evidence He is the Messiah.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child by the Holy Spirit.”

Mary and Joseph were not married. We would say today they were engaged. They were under a contract to be married, arranged by the parents of Mary. Before the time came, which was a year after the arrangements were made for the marriage of Mary, Joseph learned Mary was pregnant. Before Joseph learned of her pregnancy Mary was told by the angel Gabriel, “you will conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and His kingdom will have no end.” She knew the divine original of her conception, but can she prove, how can she explain to Joseph what has happened. Who will believe her?

What about Joseph? What a great disappointment this was to him. He was a just man, a good man, a merciful man and a strict observer of the law. He was going to give Mary a bill of divorce but he was going to do it privately. But God has other plans for Joseph. He is going to give Joseph an honor that will far exceed any honor bestowed upon man. He will be called the father of Jesus, the Messiah.

Joseph was a man whose heart and will were in tune with God’s will. The heavenly Father sends a message to the earthly father. The messenger calls Joseph the son of David that he might realize the relationship he will have with the Messiah and great honor that is being bestowed upon him. He is delivered from his worst fears. He is told “son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife: for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” It is a great blessing to be delivered from our fears and doubts. Joseph has nothing to fear. He can take Mary to be his wife. Everything happening is according to God’s plan.

His name is Jesus. His name is Joshua. He is called Jesus for the sake of conforming it to the Greek. In the Old Testament there were two men name Joshua. Joshua was the name of the name who led Israel into the Promised Land after the death of Moses. Joshua was the name of the high priest in Jerusalem during the rebuilding of the city (Zechariah 6:11-12). Jesus is our Joshua, the Captain of our salvation and the High Priest of our confession. He is our Savior who comes as Moses did when he led Israel out of oppression and enslavement in Egypt. He does for us what the Law of Moses could not do in that it was weak. He is able to save to the uttermost and there is salvation in no other. He came not only to save His people, Jews, but all who will accept Him as their Savior and Lord. We are saved from our sins not in our sins, from the guilt of sin by the merit of His death, from the dominion of sin by His grace.

Jesus is the Messiah, His genealogy proves He is the Messiah, the announcement of His birth provides He is the Messiah. Matthew now moves to another source of evidence to prove Jesus is the Messiah

“Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel; which translated means, God with us.”

The word “behold” is a command to pay attention. It was predicted the Messiah shall be of a virgin. The word “almah” means a virgin in the strictest sense, just as Mary told the angel, “I know not a man” (Luke 1:34). It was intended before the foundation of the earth was cast the Messiah will be born of a virgin; He will be the Seed of the woman and not the seed of any man. He was born of virgin not because His birth was to be supernatural and extraordinary, but because He is to be spotless, pure, without any stain of sin. He will appear without pomp or splendor. He will be born of virgin so that He can teach us spiritual purity.

Who is this Child who will be born of a virgin? He is the Son of God and the Mediator between God and man. He shall be called “Immanuel, God with us.” The people of Israel had God with them in types and shadows, dwelling between the cherubim, but never more than when the “Word was made flesh.”

What a beautiful lesson can be learned form verse 24. Joseph did as he was told to do. It was contrary to his former intentions, what he believed was the right thing to do. He took Mary as his wife. He did it without delay and cheerfully. There were no doubts he was doing the right thing, no second guessing. No debating or seeking advice from family or friends. Joseph didn’t know what the future would be all he was determined to do was the directions of God for his life. If only we could learn to do that. We often forfeit blessings because we are determined to things our way and don’t heed the stop signs the Lord places in our path. While we are to strive to be like Jesus, being like Joseph and Mary wouldn’t do us any harm.

Joseph solemnized the marriage with Mary, his espoused wife but he kept his distance, he “kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”

The Child born of a virgin had His eyes focus on one thing. It was not a throne or a castle. It was a rough cut Roman cross. It was on this cross the Lamp of God will shed His blood that we might be redeemed and our fellowship with God renewed.

He is the Messiah and He returning. We need to be ready to meet Him.

Why Did Jesus Come Into This World?

Luke 19:10

 by Paul George

If you were asked, Why did Christ Jesus come into this world, what would be your answer?

He came to set an example of behavior and all mankind should follow it. He came to proclaim the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. He came to complete God’s original purpose in the creation of man. He came to establish a form of government which would be righteous in its rule, a government which would bring the kingdom of God to this earth. The right answer to the question, “Why did Christ Jesus come into this world” must uphold the glory of God. Therefore any answer that dishonor the Father, disgrace the Son, and undermine the work of the Holy Spirit is an incorrect answer

Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10),

In his first letter to Timothy Paul wrote, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1st Timothy 1:15).

The Son of God stepped down from His Father’s throne, laid aside His infinite glory, and entered this world through the womb of a virgin so that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17). He came into this world to save sinners not to condemn them to an eternity in hell. From the day He was born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger His eye was on the dreadful cross of Golgotha. Jesus came to do the will of the Father.

One theory taught and accepted today is the theory the Son of God came into this world to remove barriers which stood in the way of God’s grace flowing forth to fallen mankind. According to this theory Christ’s death took away those barriers. If this is the correct answer to why Jesus came to this earth, the death of Christ on the cross was merely the procuring for God the right to forgive sinners. If the death of Christ was to procure for God the right to forgive sinners then He died so that a way might be made for God to extend His mercy to us, rather than that a way was opened for us to come to Him.

Nowhere in the Bible is stated God sent His Son into this world out of love for Himself but out of love for us. Nowhere in the Bible is it stated Christ died to procure something for God. It is written the reason Christ came to earth was to give Himself as a sacrifice for sinful mankind. The Father, out of His infinite love for mankind sent His Son into this world to pay a ransom of infinite value for the purchasing of man’s redemption and  deliverance from death to life, from hell and wrath to heaven and glory.

A second reason for Christ’s coming into this world was that His Father might be magnified. The great end which God has in all His works is the promotion of His

declarative glory, “For from Him and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be glory for ever” (Romans 11:36). There is nothing outside God which can possibly supply any motive for Him to act. Any claim there is something outside God which can motivate Him to act is a denial of His self-sufficiency. The goal of God in creation, in providence, and in redemption, is the magnifying of Himself, everything else is subordinate to His sovereign will.

Paul in his letter to the Ephesians said God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, and to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:4-6). The inheritance which we have obtained in Christ is in order that “we should be to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12). The Holy Spirit is given us as the earnest of our inheritance “to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:14). Our rejoicing is “in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). We are “filled with the fruits of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”  (Philippians 1:11).

God’s primary reason for sending His Son into this world was to reveal His love and glory. Through Christ’s obedience and death God magnified His law (Isaiah 42:21). The law of God was honored by the Son’s subjection to it. It is dishonored by the disobedience of all of Adam’s descendants. The sending of His Son to earth to redeem fallen mankind magnified the love of God. God’s justice was magnified when, by imputation, sin was found upon His Son and God called for the sword to smite Him (Zechariah 13:7). He magnified God’s holiness, His hatred of sin more clearly at the Cross than it will be in the lake of fire.

God magnified His power when He “brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus Our Lord” (Hebrews 13:20).

The third reason for God sending His Son into this world is that He might be glorified. The Son of God is the center of all the counsels of the Godhead. He is both the Alpha and Omega of their goals. All God’s thoughts concerning everything in heaven and in earth begin and end in Christ. “God created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9), and all things were created “for him” (Col. 1:16). As Mediator He is the only medium of union and communion between God and mankind, “with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth” (Ephesians 1:10).

The Son of God is the one universal head in which God has summed up all things. Therefore, the work of redemption was given to Him that He might reconcile all things in heaven and earth unto Himself and glory might come to him. When Judas went out to betray Him, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified” (John 13:31). Within a few hours the Son was supremely honored by the Father through the committing to his care the mightiest work of all, a work which none other was capable of performing. To him was entrusted the task of glorifying God here on earth; of vanquishing His arch-enemy, Satan, and the redemption of His people. To this Jesus makes reference in John 17:4, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” He completed God’s goal in send Him into this world, executed His decrees, and fulfilled all His will.

Jesus didn’t come into this world to see if there were any who would seek Him. The apostle Paul told the Romans, “there is none who seeks for God” (Romans 3:11).

Our Lord Jesus Christ is a seeker. This is revealed in the parable of the lost sheep. A stray dog or a lost horse will usually find its way back home. The opposite is true of sheep. The longer a sheep is separated from the flock it will stray farther and farther away from the flock. If the lost sheep is to be brought back into the flock some one must go after it. This is what Christ did, and which by His Spirit He is still doing. He goes “after the one which is lost until he finds it” (Luke 15:4). But Christ does more. He seeks, finds, and saves. He does not merely offer to, nor help to, but He actually saves. Such was the declaration of the angel to Joseph, “you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from there sins” (Matthew 1:21). He will not try to save them, but actually save them.
Christ came to earth with a definitely defined object in view, and being who He is there is no possible room for any failure in His mission. Before Jesus came into this world God said He shall “see the anguish of His soul, He shall see it and be satisfied” Isaiah 53:11).

As the Mediator Jesus solemnly vowed He would save God’s people from their sins. He actually purchased them with his blood (Acts 20:28). He attained for them a perfect salvation. This is illustrated in Luke 19. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus in the tree he had climbed in order to see Jesus, Jesus told him, “hurry and come down for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5). When the people complained because Jesus was going “to be a guest of a man who is a sinner,” Jesus told them, “Today salvation has come to this house because he too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19 9-10).

In His discourse on the good shepherd Jesus said, “he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep…The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (Luke 10:1-2, 10). Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (Luke 10:11). In these verses we have the reason why Jesus came into this world. His sheep once possessed “life”, in their natural head, Adam. But when he fell, they fell; when he died, they died (1st Corinthians 15:22). But by Christ, through His work, and in Him they obtain not only “life”, but “more abundant” life; that is, a “life” which far excels what they lost in their first father, Adam. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, “it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.

The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). The first Adam was “made a living soul” that he might communicate natural life to his posterity; the last Adam was “made a quickening spirit” that He might impart spiritual life to all His seed. The soul dwelling in Adam’s body gave it life and made him to be a “living soul.” The man Christ Jesus being united to the second Person of the Trinity made Him a “quickening spirit”, quickening His mystical body, both now and hereafter.

When Christ died His people died, when Christ was quickened His people were quickened “together with” Him (Ephesians 2:5). It is to this union with the life of Christ that Romans 5:17 refers: “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” The abundance of grace is greater than the deficiencies of sin, and the gift of righteousness exceeds that which was lost in Adam. The righteousness of God far surpasses that which they possessed in innocence by the first Adam, for it is the righteousness of Christ, who is God. To this, neither the righteousness of Adam nor of angels can be compared. Those redeemed by Christ are made to “reign in life” to which they had no title in their first parent. Since Christ is King, His people are made “kings” too (Revelation 1:6).In 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15 it is written, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” The same truth is written in 1st Peter 2:24, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us”  (Rom. 8:3, 4).

Here again the purpose of Christ’s mission is clearly stated. God sent his Son here in order that (1) the punishment of His people’s guilt should be inflicted upon Him. (2) That the righteous requirements of the law-perfect obedience-might be met by Him for us. He obeyed the law for our good.

The purpose of Christ’s vicarious life and death was that a perfect righteousness should be wrought out for His people and imputed to them by God. Our righteousness is wholly objective, something outside our self. This is clearly stated in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Christ was “made sin” not inherently, but imputatively, by the guilt of His people being legally transferred to him. In like manner, they are “made the righteousness of God in Him, not “in themselves” but by Christ’s righteousness being legally reckoned to their account. Therefore, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes”  (Romans 10:4).

Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild

by Robert Brooks

“Think not that I am come to bring peace. . .but a sword.” Mt. 10: 34

“I am come to send fire on the earth: and what will I if it be already kindled?”
Luke 12: 49

I. The Great Divider
Even of families – Mt. 10: 35 – 37
Even more piercingly – Luke 14: 26

Hatred meaning a hyperbole to express only strong preference of one another, not hatred in the modern sense of the word.

These verses mean family members would be violently divided over loyalty to Christ.  One can point out the usual violent opposition of a Jewish-Gentile marriage!  People are either for or against Christ.  There is no neutral ground.  Jesus said, “I am the way. . .no man cometh to the Father but by me.”

II. Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild – and the Pharisees!
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!  Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?  And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.  Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?  Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.  And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.  And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous.  And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.  Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.  Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.  Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23: 13 – 33)

Jesus, “Gentle Jesus,” called them sons of snakes, and He point blank asked them how they would escape the damnation of hell.  “Meek and mild?”  He said their “converts” were made “twofold more the child of hell.” (Mt. 23: 15)

III.  Woe unto Chorazine and Bethsaida, Tyre and Sidon and Capernaum.
Capernaum being brought down to Hell and being compared to Sodum.
(Mt. 11: 21 – 23)

IV. Warning Against Offending Little Children Who Believe in Him!
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Mt. 18: 5 – 6)

V. Woe Unto the World!
“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Mt. 18: 7)

VI. “Gentle” Jesus Cleanses the Temple.

I believe there were two temple cleansings, but we will stress John’s account.

John said Jesus made a cord or whip and He took it and drove out the exploiters, overturning their money tables, and He drove the animals out!

Raymond E. Brown, the world famous scholar on John, speculates the cord was probably fashioned from rushes used for the bedding for the animals.

Conclusion:

Jesus could be tough!  He said you must repent and take up a cross to follow Him.  Deny ego!

Jesus is gentle and kind to the needy, to those who come to Him.