Christmas: A Public Demonstration of God's Marvelous Grace Shining in the Darkness of Sinful Humanity!
Now some of you may be saying, "Did you just say that we are going to study about Christmas? We did not hear anything about Christmas in whatever it is you were reading."
A. Matthew 1 is the “forgotten chapter of Christmas”
Clearly, as some have rightly concluded, Matthew chapter 1 has been called the "forgotten chapter" of Christmas. That quite often, when we think about the Christmas story, we want to get into the “juice” of the Christmas story and that is: we want to get into the details, we want to read about Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, the magi, the wonderful singing, angels, manger, Herod - the bad guy; and really that's when we say, "Now we are in the juice of Christmas."
But then to our surprise, Matthew introduces his gospel, and he introduces it with Christmas by the way, because his chapter 1 is really about the birth of Jesus. But before he introduces the birth of Jesus, he gives us the genealogy of Jesus the Christ, he gives us a genealogy of the Messiah.
Now some of you might be saying, "but why would he want to give us all this funny and historical background full of names we don't know, probably don't even care to know: What is Matthew basically saying? This is certainly a very boring way of opening up a gospel that you hope people will read and their lives will be changed."
It is very easy to conclude and say, "We have seen un seriousness right here at the beginning...." But wait a moment before you rush to that conclusion and ask yourself again this question: “Is it really true that this is a boring way to start the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially to introduce his birth?" The answer seems to be yes until you start digging deeper into this genealogy and then you realize that there is more to this genealogy than meets the eye.
B. There is more to the Genealogy of Christ in the Christmas Story than what we see at Face Value
In this genealogy of Jesus Christ, you begin to realize that while there are several names you may not understand or even read, there are actually popular names that you do know and have some background about. Names like king David -- one of the greatest kings of Israel; names like Abraham -- whom we know to be the father of the faith -- whom you cannot ignore even when you come to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul will talk about our father Abraham. You look at names like king Solomon -- and if there is anything we know about Solomon, it is how rich he was! Not just rich in property and in gold and silver but even in women. That is a personality that even non-believers would like to identify with. Who doesn't want to be like Solomon?
So, you begin wondering, "What is really going on in these names? Some of them very popular, some of them obscure and probably irrelevant --- what is actually going on?
If we take a critical look at Matthew 1:1-17, several things soon come out.