October 30, 2022 - Matthew 1
I plan to preach several Advent sermons in December from Matthew’s birth narratives in chapters one and two. Having reached the end of the book of Revelation, I think I’ll take Matthew, over the next few weeks, a chapter at a time. Matthew begins, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac . . .” (1:1-2). I met with my modular world religions class, Friday and Saturday, and noted that Christianity is historical in a way that no other religion is. I mean, just read off those names: Abraham – Isaac – Jacob – Judah – Perez – Hezron – and so on . . . These are real people in real history, history that tracks with the purposes of God who promised in Genesis 3:15 to send a Redeemer into the world. This Redeemer is no mere figment of someone’s imagination. He is not the subject of mere myth. He is not merely a flimsy hope.
Matthew, here, tells the story of the real, historical Jesus who came into the world: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way . . .” (1:18). And the story Matthew tells, well, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet [Isaiah]” (1:22) just as God intended. And the gospel that is then told is historical. Paul reminds us “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve [and to many others]” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). Real things. Real hope.
We have a real savior who has really come into the world and who really saves! We have a real story to tell!
We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
that shall turn their hearts to the right,
a story of truth and mercy,
a story of peace and light,
a story of peace and light.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
and the dawning to noonday bright,
and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
the kingdom of love and light. --H. Ernest Nichol (1896)