Today, we’re going to be looking in the New Testament as we begin our look for the Trinity in there. A good place to start our look in the New Testament is a good place to start a lot of books, namely, the beginning. What of the first chapter?
Matthew begins by telling us the genealogy of Jesus. He is descended from David, in that he is of the royal line, and he is descended from Abraham, in that he is the child of the promise. The rule of David which would be the law and then the promise of Abraham which would be grace. Law comes before grace.
Matthew’s record contains a lot of interesting features. Let’s look at some of them.
In verse 3 we read about Tamar. Do we remember her? She’s the one who had a child by Judah, who was her father-in-law, while she posed as a shrine prostitute. Out of this incestual relationship came two sons, Perez and Zerah and the line would continue through Perez.
In verse 5, we have mentioned Rahab and Ruth. Let’s consider these two. Who was Rahab? Rahab was the prostitute from Jericho who hid the Israelites. Some of us might be thinking “The messiah has an impressive line-up so far.” Let’s keep in mind it wasn’t essential for Matthew to add the name of these women. He’s doing so for a reason. He’s probably including them not in spite of the disgrace they would seem to bring but because of it. Even the ones looked down on as sinners are used to bring about the greatest good.
Ruth? Ruth was the Moabitess. Now she was hardly portrayed as a sinner in Scripture, but she would be seen as an outsider and yet, this one who is from Moab would find herself an important figure in the lineage of the Messiah.
Verse 6 mentions a low point in the life of David, the affair of Bathsheba and the mention of Uriah the Hittite. This is included in the lineage of the Messiah. Matthew brings out the bad. It’s like he wants to bring in all that he can. For the Messiah, there are no outcasts.
How about Jeconiah in verse 12? Jeconiah in Jeremiah was said to be one who would be childless and none of his descendants would sit on the throne. For those who think that’s eternal, think again. God refers to him as a signet ring. One of the descendents though, Zerubbabel, is made a signet ring at the end of Haggai 2. God was restoring the right to rule again and undoing any curse on Jeconiah.
Then we have the last female, Mary. This is the one that is so good in Scripture that Catholic doctrine considers her sinless. While I disagree as a Protestant, we Protestants who do not agree with the Catholics on the place of Mary, nevertheless should realize that she truly was the most blessed among women and we need to recognize that.
But what we need to focus on in this chapter is what the child will be called. Immanuel.
Right from the start, we have a message built into the child’s identity. But he was never called Immanuel was he?
No more than Solomon was called Jedidiah, but if you read 2 Samuel 12:24-25, that was his name.
The name Jedidiah referred to an identity embodied in Solomon. The same for Immanuel. God had been with his people in one way, but as we go through the gospel, we shall see in this case, he is with his people in a whole new way.