Jesus Is The Christ

Photo by Tim Umphreys on Unsplash

What we call “The Christmas Story”, the conception and birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, is only found in two books of the New Testament. It is found in the Gospel of Matthew, a Jewish Tax Collector who became an Apostle of Jesus Christ. More of the Christmas Story is found in the Gospel of Luke, a “beloved Gentile Physician” (Colossians 4:14) who was a companion of the Apostle Paul. We’ll talk about Luke’s account this coming Sunday night at Riverview. So turn with me in your Bible to Matthew chapter 1.

Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Matthew – a Levite – makes three claims about Jesus

  • First, Matthew says “Jesus is the Christ”, the Messiah that God promised to send to mankind in the Old Testament. Christ”, the Greek Christos, is not Jesus’ last name, but His function. Later on in the Book of Matthew as Jesus enters the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, He asks His disciples,

Matthew 16:13 Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Cæsarea Philippi was a well known seat of idolatry. The other disciples gave a variety of answers as to the popular concept of who Jesus was. It was Peter who declared:

Matthew 16:16 … Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus affirmed that Peter had spoken truly – that He is, indeed, THE Christ. Jesus is the Messiah promised. When Jesus stood before the High Priest just before His crucifixion, the Priest demanded:

Matthew 26:63 … I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus told the High Priest You said it yourself” (Matthew 26:63). The High Priest tore his clothing, saying, “This Man has spoken blasphemy”. The Jews knew that when the Messiah came, that He would be “God with us”, the Christ. Jesus is the One and Only Messiah, promised of God throughout the Old Testament.

  • Matthew also declared Jesus to be “the Son of David”. If Jesus is the Christ, then He MUST be the Son of David. God made a promise to King David in:

2 Samuel 7:12-14 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son.

Messiah would come from the House of David. God promised this would happen in what we call the “Davidic Covenant”. David was to have a Son sit on his throne that would rule forever. When Jacob lay dying, he told Judah:

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Shiloh” literally means “Him Who Is Sent”. Judah was to rule Israel (David was of the Tribe of Judah) until “Him Who Was Sent” – the Messiah – came. Throughout His ministry Jesus declared that He was the One sent as Messiah. He said in:

Luke 10:16 … he that despiseth Me despiseth Him {God} that sent me.

Mark 9:37 … whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

John 13:20 … he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

John 5:23 … He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

John 5:30 … I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Jesus is the Christ, the Shiloh that Jacob foresaw. He is the Messiah sent for us all, if we would but receive Him.

  • Jesus is also the Son of Abraham. Why is this important? It is because God promised Abraham:

Genesis 12:1-3 … Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

God told Abraham that “in thee shall ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH be blessed. The Messiah was not just coming to save the Jews. Jesus was coming to save whosoever will believe in Him. God prophesied of the Coming Messiah:

Isaiah 42:1,4 -7 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. … 4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. 5 Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee,and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

To prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of David and Son of Abraham, Mark gives a genealogy of our Lord Jesus. When we read the genealogies in Scripture, I must confess, I often get sleepy. Yet Matthew quotes this genealogy to prove to Jesus meets the criteria of the Messiah. He starts Christ’s lineage in …

Matthew 1:2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judah and his brethren …

The genealogy continues unbroken to verse 6, where we read:

Matthew 1:6 and Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Uriah;

Matthew’s lineage of our Lord Jesus begins at Abraham, continues through David, and ends with:

Matthew 1:16 and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Jesus is “called Christ”, designated the Messiah. His lineage traced through Joseph His stepfather qualifies Him to be the Messiah.

Joseph Was The Stepfather Of Jesus,
But Not His Father

Matthew 1:18 … Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise…

Word Study The word translated “birth” is the Greek γέννησις génnēsis, (pronounced ghen’-nay-sis). Yes, it means “birth”, but I find it interesting that the word sounds so much like Genesis. It is in the Book of Genesis that we see the creation of the world and the universe. We see the creation of mankind. We see Adam’s sin against God, and the loss of Eden. Throughout the Book of Genesis we see a list of people, some who did good, others who did badly. When you look at the Genealogy of Jesus presented by Matthew, every person mentioned is flawed. The Messiah did not come from a sinless line of people.

  • In verse 3 we see Tamar. Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law, who became pregnant by Judah (see Genesis 38).
  • In verse 5 we see Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute who hid the spies from the Canaanites when Israel entered Canaan (see Joshua 2:13; 6:17-25).
  • In verse 5 we see Ruth, a Moabitess (see Ruth 1). The Moabites were forbidden to enter the congregation of Israel (see Deuteronomy 23:2). Ruth, however, became a believer in the Lord – and became part of the lineage of Jesus.
  • In verse 6 we see David, not as King but as adulterer and murderer. He killed Uriah so that he could have Bathsheba, his wife.
  • In verse 10 we see Hezekiah, one of the five godly Kings of Israel. His son Manasseh would be the most evil king in all of Israel’s history (see 2 Kings 21:2-7)
  • In verse 13 we see Zerubbabel, the godly leader of the Jews in the second return from the Babylonian exile (see Ezra 1-6). When we come to Zerubbabel’s son Abiud, as well as his descendants to Joseph’s father Jacob are not mentioned anywhere else in the Scripture. They are obscure.

The genealogy is marked by sinful, fallible, broken, and unknown people. This is why the Messiah had to come into the world. From Adam’s sin until the coming of Christ mankind is marked by brokenness. Raymond E. Brown in his book An Introduction to the New Testament notes that the genealogy of Jesus is in three sets of fourteen:

Matthew 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

Brown notes that:

The first fourteen names are Patriarchs
The second fourteen names are Kings
The third fourteen names are Unknown or Obscure ancestors

Jesus’ Genesis Was Not Like Yours And Mine

The Messiah – though His lineage would be traced back to Abraham through Joseph – would not be Joseph’s child. He would be God’s Child. Read with me:

Matthew 1:18 -19 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

The GENESIS of Jesus the Messiah would be different than any other birth. Throughout the lineage of Jesus children were conceived as they were always conceived, born as they were always born. All of these people – regardless as to whether they were Patriarchs, Princes, or Prostitutes – were all fallen people. They were all sinners. Even the best of them fell short of the glory of God. The Bible tells us that:

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Adam’s sin caused not just himself, but all of his progeny (that’s us) to fall into sin. We are born physically alive into this world, but spiritually dead. The Apostle tells us that:

Romans 5:12, 15 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: … 15 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

The Christ came into this world differently than any other man had ever been born. Through man sin entered the world. Man passed sin to his progeny. God foretold the coming of the Messiah Who would break this cycle of death. The Messiah had to be a man – just as Scripture prophesied – but He had to be a man different from any other Man.

Joseph was “BETROTHED” to Mary. This was a legally binding Jewish custom. The period of betrothal lasted around a year prior to the full sexual consummation of the marriage. Joseph had paid the dowry expected of Mary’s parents, and both he and Mary entered into what we today would call an “engagement” period. Joseph had yet to consummate the marriage. Why the delay? Perhaps because he was preparing a place for his bride. I do not know, but know that both were to stay chaste during the betrothal. In Verse 18 we are told:

before they came together, {Mary} was found
with child of the Holy Ghost

God promised the serpent, that old Devil (see Revelation 12:9), in the Garden of Eden that his destruction would come of the seed of the woman:

Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

I am not a biology whiz, but even I know that women do not carry seed. Women bear eggs – men bear seed. The man joins with the woman, and impregnates her by sowing his seed on her egg. This is the way God made us to reproduce. But God told that old devil, the serpent “your head will be crushed by the seed of the woman”. This was the first prophecy of the Coming Messiah, the promise that He would come into the world differently from any other man before Him. The Messiah would be virgin born. Jesus Christ is the “Seed of the Woman” spoken of.

When Joseph found Mary to be pregnant, knowing that he himself was NOT the father (for he obeyed the covenant of marriage), he was put in a predicament. Had he accused Mary of infidelity before the High Priest, Mary would have stoned to death. The Law declared:

Deuteronomy 22:20-21 … if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21 then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

Joseph was “a just man”. He wasn’t sinless – none of us but Jesus are. But he decided to “put Mary away privately”. Joseph went home to sleep on the matter. I can imagine him tossing and turning that night. Yet the Bible tells us:

Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

The phrase “Angel of the Lord” appears 64 times in the Bible. Who is this “Angel”? In the Gospel of Luke, Zacharias is praying and fulfilling his priestly duties when

Luke 1:11 … there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

This angel goes on to tell Zacharias:

Luke 1:19 … I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

I suspect that this Angel of the Lord Who appeared to Joseph is the same Arch-Angel that appeared to Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father. Gabriel tells Joseph

Matthew 1:20 … fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost

The Messiah, our Jesus, is different than any other human born. When the Angel Gabriel goes to tell Mary about her pregnancy, Gabriel describes it this way:

Luke 1:35 The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Word Study The fetal Jesus is described as a “Holy Thing” in the King James. This is the Greek ἅγιος hágios, {pronounced hag’-ee-os}, which means holy, consecrated, morally blameless. The Holy Spirit Who causes Mary’s pregnancy is called hágios pneuma. The word hágios is used of God. Our God is holy, holy, holy:

Isaiah 6:3 {the angels cry} Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Revelation 4:8 {the angels rest not by day nor night, but cry out} Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

That Child that Mary is carrying is holy, pure, without the stain of sin that afflicts us all. Jesus Christ is the second Adam. The first Adam, made of the dust of the ground, was made and named by God.

Genesis 5:2 male and female created {God} them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

The father usually named the children. In the case of Jesus, Joseph will not name the Child. Joseph is not the father, but the stepfather, the surrogate parent. He is a good man, and a wonderful caretaker for his family. But he is not the father of Christ. God is the Father of the humanity of Christ. Gabriel relays to Joseph what he has been commanded:

Matthew 1:21 And {Mary} shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Why “Jesus”? What Is The Significance Of His Name?

Why was “Jesus” named “Jesus”? What is the significance of His name? We have a clue in our focal text. Gabriel said:

Matthew 1:21 … thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins

Word Study The name “Jesus” in the Greek text is Ἰησοῦς Iēsoûs, (pronounced ee-ay-sooce’), which means “Yahweh is salvation”. The same name in the Hebrew – the native tongue of the Jew – isיְהוֹשׁוּעַ Yᵉhôwshûwaʻ, {pronounced yeh-ho-shoo’-ah}, which also means “Yahweh is salvation”. When Israel entered into the Promised Land of Canaan, it was Joshua the Son of Nun who led them:

Joshua 1:1-3 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

Moses died prior to entering the Promised Land because of sin in his life. Joshua (the Hebrew Yᵉhôwshûwaʻ, {pronounced yeh-ho-shoo’-ah}) led the Old Testament Israel into the Promised Land. The New Testament Joshua – Jesus – will lead His people into the Promised Land. This Jesus would be born to lead the New Covenant believer in power into the land of promise. Heaven is our home, and earth our pilgrimage. We belong to God because of Christ.

Thou shalt call His Name Yᵉhôwshûwaʻ” is what Joseph heard. And Yᵉhôwshûwaʻ – God our Savior – shall save His people from their sins. The Christmas Story begins with a promise from God. The Messiah – Jesus Christ our Lord – will save all who believe on Him from their sins. When God prophesied of the coming Messiah He told Israel:

Psalms 130:7-8 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

This Child, this Messiah did not come just to cover our sins, but to save us from our sins. This Jesus …

Titus 2:14 … Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Jesus came to take broken humanity, to take us from that broken state and bring us into union with God. The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Jesus is the satisfactory covering for our sins (1 John 2:1-2). He was manifested – brought into humanity through Mary – to take away our sins (1 John 3:5). To those who come unto Jesus the Christ they are to be new creatures in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This Christmas, as you see the decorative lights often displayed in and around the homes, let us remember that God became Man so that He might bring Man to God. This baby that Mary is carrying will grow up to “wash us from our sins in His own Blood. He has made us who believe in Him kings and priests unto God and His Father: to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 1:5-6).

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, Beloved, call upon Him this very day. Whosoever calls upon the Name of the Lord Jesus shall be saved. Amen and Amen!

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A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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