The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (verse 1)
Right here, at the start of his Gospel, Matthew invites us to intentionally turn our eyes on Jesus. Ready? He gives us four names to help.
(1) “Jesus.” Of course. This is the name we know best. Beloved name. Every knee will bow. Stirring hearts.
Though this name was commonplace at the time, Matthew doesn’t see it that way at all. As his story unfolds, he wants us to embrace its literal meaning. “Yahweh saves.” “God to the rescue!” The name reminds us of the Lord’s intervention at Jericho as another who also bore it, Joshua, followed the Lord’s command and led the people to march, then shout, accompanied by trumpet blasts, resulting in city walls levelled beyond any expectation and all possibility. Yes! Yahweh saves!
But this “Jesus”, whom Matthew is introducing, will bring a greater deliverance yet, his name promising to level higher and stronger walls – he will save us from our sins. Yes! God to the rescue!
(2) “Christ.” “Messiah.” This name, in both Greek and Hebrew, pointedly confirms the promise of rescue. This is the One long promised to deliver his people from oppression and bondage. He will declare deliverance, then concretely bring it about, releasing captives, freeing prisoners, healing broken and wounded hearts (Luke 4:18). Promised Deliverer. Yes!
(3) “Son of David.” Royalty is in view, but also God’s long-planned purpose, reminding us of a shepherd-boy made King by God’s design. David made grievous missteps, but never strayed from devotion to the Sovereign Lord, never bowed to other gods, being a man after God’s own heart. He ruled as King, becoming the gold-standard of all future royalty. So, the Lord promised a child to be born, a son to be given, who would reign on David’s throne forever, establishing the Kingdom and upholding justice, righteousness and peace (Isaiah 9:6-7). Matthew says to us: “He’s now here!”
(4) “Son of Abraham.” Here the scope is expanded, because through Abraham all peoples on earth were to be blessed. Isaac, first of that line, was named “Laughter” because his birth was such hilariously good news, physically embodying the miraculous fulfilment of God’s promise, making it clear that God’s blessing is always only possible by promise fulfilled, not by human achievement. Jesus steps into this calling, fully embodying the promise – blessing for all!
These four brief titles, contained in the very first verse of Matthew’s account, are all too easy to skip past. Yet they tell us the One who bears them is at the centre of history, at the centre of human experience – at the centre of everything!
Jesus. Christ. Son of David. Son of Abraham.
Focus eyes on him. Embrace him. He’s the centre of it all.
Lord Jesus. Christ. Son of David. Son of Abraham. Fill up my vision today with the immensity of your Person and purpose and power. Let me not miss all that you have in store for me. Rescue me. Deliver me. Be my King. Be my source of all blessing.
Praise your Name … in all its fullness.
Reflect: Through which of these four titles is the Lord particularly meeting you today? Watch for him to reveal himself in this way as you walk with him.
Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash