SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #1
"Son of David"
April 2, 2016
Matthew begins his book with the genealogy of the Son of David – Christ Jesus. According to Paul, Jesus as “the Seed of David according to the flesh” is “the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1-3). The word for seed in the Greek is “sperma” with emphasis upon the ancestor’s role as a leading figure in the ancestral human nature that Jesus inherited from David. Take the humanity of Christ out of your message and you will have no gospel for the sinner.
Christ always existed as God so His Deity is simply “declared” as a fact by Paul in verse 4 of Romans 1. The Gospel requires both Deity and humanity in order for Christ to be our Savior. His divine nature suffered in terms of infinity. The Infinite became finite. He took upon Himself humanity in order to die. He could not have died as God. So He was made of the seed of David thus taking mortality upon Himself in order to die for us and as us both as our Substitute and our Representative.
The kind of humanity Christ took is a great theological truth. But more than this, it also brings comfort to us who are frail and weak and tempted from within our fallen nature because of inherited tendencies to sin.
So, David’s DNA – the nucleic acid in which genetic information is encoded was transmitted from David through Mary to Jesus. This is known as the law of heredity. This is the thrust of Matthew chapter 1. This is the hereditary linkage between Jesus and the rest of the race. “In assuming humanity Christ took the part of every human being” (1SM 252).
This brings us again to Matthew 1 where he names many from the royal line from which Jesus came. Royal, yes, but royal rogues. Not one of them had a saving characteristic in them. It was from this stock Jesus came. This reveals to us that He went to the weakest of the weak in His humanity so no one could charge Him with having in an advantage over us. And further, more than male gender is presented by Matthew. Besides Mary, four women in Jesus’ genealogy are also presented (Matt. 1:1–17). This is unusual in Jewish genealogies where the practice is to cite men only.
It is noteworthy that Tamar (v. 3), Rahab (v. 5), Ruth (v. 5), and Bathsheba (v. 6, named only as “Uriah’s wife”) were Gentiles. And, in the case of Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba, each was linked with acts of immorality. This record serves to remind us both that God has shown mercy to “unworthy” Gentiles in the past and also that the plan of God’s salvation is not frustrated by human failure. This record also reveals that Jesus was the Savior of all mankind. He took upon Himself Gentile characteristics as well as Jewish. (Paul spoke of his own heritage – that he was “a Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5). He was more Jewish than was Jesus).
The lineage of Jesus is checkered with some very dubious characters. If a selective genealogist wrote Christ’s human family lineage, he might be inclined to leave unmentioned many or most of these men and woman. None are models of behavior, but they are reminders to us that the grace of God is often extended to the unlikeliest people who in turn may very well serve to advance His purposes in the world.
Ruth (as well as Mary, the mother of Jesus) is an exceptional case. She did not commit any acts of immorality as the other three. But she was a Moabite. From where did her hereditary line come? Her lineage is traced back to Moab, the son of Lot and his oldest daughter (Genesis 19:37). Ruth, as a Moabite, was the offspring of a child of incest. So Jesus is acquainted with those who have unmentionable skeletons in their hereditary closets. Jesus is a complete Savior. All of our committed sins were placed on Him (Isaiah 53:6) and also the hereditary inherited weaknesses were experience by Him also. He conquered all sin, both sin from without and hereditary tendencies from within.
A.T. Jones has this to say about His completeness: “O, he is a complete Saviour. He is a Saviour from sins committed, and the conqueror of the tendencies to commit sins.” (“The Third Angel’s Message”, No. 14, General Conference Bulletin, 1895, pp. 266, 267).
Speaking about the importance of the fallen human nature Christ assumed, Jones teaches that “the salvation of God for human beings lies in just that one thing.” (A. T. Jones, “The Third Angel’s Message”, No. 13, Ibid., 1895, p. 233).
Then too, E. J. Waggoner earlier made the connection between our justification and the fallen human nature Christ took upon Himself: “God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, to condemn sin in the flesh, that He might justify us.” (“Bible Study in the book of Romans” #12, Ibid., 1891).
"The genuineness, and unlikeliness, of this genealogy,” writes Michael Wilkins, “must have stunned Matthew’s readers. Jesus’ ancestors were humans with all of the foibles, yet potentials, of everyday people. God worked through them to bring about his salvation. There is no pattern of righteousness in the lineage of Jesus. We find adulterers, harlots, heroes, and Gentiles. Wicked Rehoboam was the father of wicked Abijah, who was the father of good King Asa. Asa was the father of the good King Jehoshaphat . . . , who was the father of wicked King Joram. God was working throughout the generations, both good and evil, to bring about his purposes. Matthew shows that God can use anyone—however marginalized or despised—to bring about his purposes. These are the very types of people Jesus came to save.”—Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), p. 9.
Truly “the Son of David” is Jesus which means Savior and “he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
To sum up what Matthew penned about Christ’s heredity as the Son and the Seed of David along with the rest of His ancestors, there is some powerful good news. It is this – that no matter how fallen and broken a person may very well be, Jesus understands and feels what we go through. Not only does He feel with us, as us, He will heal us. There is nothing too hard for Him to accomplish. And He loves to fix broken people of whatever problems they are experiencing.
And He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters! (Hebrews 2:11) What a Savior!!
View Jerry Finneman's video presentation