Good morning friends! Welcome! Praise the Lord!
I’m just thinking how everything is uncertain, dark around us, and you know, just reading the paper today, they’re probably going to move to another lockdown.
All sorts of dreadful things are happening around us but let us remind ourselves also of the eternal truths, the scriptures, the Word of God, Jesus who has come, who is with us now, and who’s coming again.
Nothing can change those things. The government can do what they like but they cannot change the eternal truths which are fixed in the heavens and fixed on the earth through our Lord Jesus Christ, through the Word of God. Praise the Lord!
Let’s have a word of prayer as we come to the Word of God.
Lord, we thank You for your Word, we thank You that it’s the truth. We thank You for Jesus, that You have come in fulfilment of prophecy. Thank You that You fulfilled all that the Father gave You to do when You were here on the earth, that You were born supernaturally by the Holy Spirit. That You lived a life of power with signs and wonders that followed your preaching. That You died, that You rose again from the dead, and that You ever live to make intercession for us.
We thank You all that you’re coming again and that, even as we see the darkness in the world around us, and the terrible things which are happening on the earth, we thank You that nothing can stop You from coming and nothing can stop You from being with us today so Lord we give You thanks for all that You’ve done for us and all that You are. We pray you bless now the reading and the preaching of your Word in Jesus name. Amen, amen.
I want to give a talk today on Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
Let’s start off with Joseph. Let’s see this passage from Matthew chapter 1 again.
Matthew’s Gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ and goes through the royal line from Judah, David to the kings of Israel, and down to Joseph who says in verse 16 Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Messiah.
The genealogy is probably the bits you don’t read or that you skip over, but these images are important. They tell you that this is not just a kind of mythological event, it was something which happened in time and space, in a certain event which fulfilled what God had been doing for many years before.
Jesus didn’t just come out of nowhere. Jesus is the Messiah who came according to the prophecies, who came through the royal line, through the line of Abraham, Judah, David.
According to the scriptures, the Messiah must come through this line. Judah is the fourth son of Jacob and Jacob was praying over his sons in Genesis chapter 49 verse 10 and he had a prophetic word for Judah.
It said, the sceptre shall not depart from Judah nor a law giver from between his feet until Shiloh comes; unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Shiloh – there is question about what it means. It probably means ‘He who is right. It is, or he is that which belongs to Him’ and is generally believed to be a prophecy of the Messiah.
So, something is going to happen in relation to Judah and the coming of the Messiah within a certain time frame which fits in. I won’t go into the details of that, but that’s quite interesting as well: that the Messiah had to come in that genealogical line according to this scripture and that He’s going to gather the people to Himself.
So, it’s going to be about gathering His people into the Kingdom of God and, if you are now in the Kingdom of God, that’s because you have responded to the call of the Lord to be gathered into that Kingdom.
He had to be of the line of Judah and the genealogies locate Jesus in time and space as the son of David, the Messiah.
He is also Jewish. The first verse of Matthew’s Gospel, in English is:
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
סֵפֶר תּוֹלְדׂת יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ בֶּן־דָּוִד בֶּן־אַבְרָהָם׃
sefer toledt yeshua’ hammashiach ben-david ben-avraham.
Matthew’s Gospel translates very easily into Hebrew. In fact, some people believe that Matthew’s Gospel was written in Hebrew originally and that there is an original copy somewhere, but no one has ever found it. If you could find Matthew’s Gospel in Hebrew, that would be the real treasure trove.
The early church writings speak about a Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew and certainly Matthew’s Gospel gives you ‘the Jewishness’ of Jesus. It’s interesting to see that you have genealogies in Matthew and in Luke. Matthew goes back to Abraham the first father of the Jewish people. In Luke, the genealogy goes back to Adam, the first man.
You don’t have a genealogy in John, but you have a word which says in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. In John, the genealogy goes back to God and the different qualities give you something of the characteristics of each Gospel.
Matthew’s Gospel gives you much of ‘the Jewishness’ of Jesus. Luke’s Gospel, going back to Adam, gives you very much the humanity of Jesus, His universality, that is, for Jew and gentile, He is the Messiah for everybody. And John’s Gospel, going back to God, gives you very much the divinity of Jesus, that He is the Messiah who is also the Son of God, the One who has always been and always will be.
So, the genealogist will tell you something else about Jesus, where He’s coming from and Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew’s genealogy, focuses on the line of Jesus through Joseph’s line and that He is the son of David, through Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah and so on.
If you know your Bible, you know that all of those were the kings of Judah and that they were the kings who followed after king David. Therefore, this is the royal line, the line of kings who followed David.
One of the very clear teachings in Judaism and in Christianity is that the Messiah is going to be of the line of David. He is given the title ‘son of David, king of Israel’.
One of the things that was said to Him is that to be the Messiah, He has to be of the line of David, and he has to be of the kingly line, and that gives Him the right to royalty.
You see that some of the prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures, particularly Isaiah chapter 9, tells us concerning the son that He’s going to be born:
This amazing prophecy speaks about the child who is going to be born. He’ll also be the Son of God, be a Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, all of those are titles given to God.
‘Everlasting Father’ means the ‘Father of everlastingness’, the ‘author of eternity’, and Jesus is all of those things, ‘Emmanuel, God with us’.
He is also going to be born as a child, be given as a son, and it says that ‘He’s going to rule over David’s throne’.
Some people say, ‘Well, Jesus never ruled over David’s throne, He’s not ruling over David’s throne now’.
The answer to that is ‘He ruled in the spirit realm, and He’s now seated in heaven on a throne’. I believe He’s going to come back in person at the Second Coming and of Christ, He’s going to rule from Jerusalem on the throne of David over the whole of the earth in the thousand-year period which we call the Millennial Kingdom.
This prophecy has both those aspects: the first and the second coming of Jesus. But the connection to David is there right through the scriptures, that he must be somehow related to the kingly line of David and that Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, is of that line.
It interests me that Joseph did not supply the seed for the birth of the Messiah. Therefore, technically, Joseph has, in a sense, adopted Jesus. Jesus is not Joseph’s natural son, so He’s not directly related. Though being adopted, in a sense, as the firstborn, He is the oldest son, the firstborn son, and that does give Him the right to succeed as first born, as the king. So, his position as the son of David is important for prophetic reasons, for him to be the son of David.
Now, having set Jesus in his historical setting which shows us His credentials to be the Son of God, Matthew then gives Him the right to the throne of David which is an important thing concerning the prophecy of the Messiah.
As I said, Joseph didn’t provide the seed. We know that because the Holy Spirit provided the seed which gave birth to Jesus. Miriam/Mary did provide the womb and that seed was implanted in her by the Holy Spirit.
So, let’s have a little thought about Mary. We read again passage about Christ’s birth being announced to Mary from verse 26 of Luke:
This passage very clearly defines who Jesus is, that He is the Son of God. You can’t get away from it, you can’t relegate Jesus to being something less than an eternal divine person.
The reason why He must come into the world in this way, through the virgin birth, relates to this question: How can God, who is eternal, come into the world in a human form and not be tainted by the sin of humanity?
It has to be done in this special way so that He will come upon Miriam the virgin by the Holy Spirit, and she will conceive in her womb and bring forth the son and call His name Yeshua/Jesus which means ‘salvation’.
In verse 32, it says that He will be great, He will be called the Son of the Highest, ‘the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David’. This is another reference to David, and ‘He will reign over the House of Jacob forever’, ‘of His Kingdom there will be no end’.
If you go back to 1 Chronicles chapter 17, David was given a prophecy by the prophet Nathan which said that he was going to have a son who would have an eternal throne, an eternal house, and an eternal kingdom. In 1 Chronicles 17 verse 11 you can read that, logically, such a prophecy represents a problem because no human king can have anything which is eternal since he’s going to die sooner or later.
Therefore, the only person who can have something which is eternal is someone who is an eternal person. You then have another prophecy which is saying that this son of David is going to be of an eternal nature, have an eternal kingdom, an eternal throne, an eternal house.
Jesus now has an eternal house, an eternal kingdom, and an eternal throne and if you’ve been born again and you’re a member of the Kingdom of God, a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, you are a member of that eternal house, that eternal kingdom.
However, that is what comes from Jesus. Jesus, uniquely, can give that and the only way in which He can come into the world is by the Holy Spirit coming upon this young Jewish woman, Miriam.
The scripture says ‘the Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest will overshadow you, therefore also that holy One who is to be born in you, will be called the Son of God‘.
He will be called the Son of God because He is the Son of God. He’s an eternal person, he is divine, and the Holy Spirit is going to come upon Miriam, and she will conceive in her womb supernaturally, by the Spirit, the child will be born into her womb and with God nothing will be impossible.
Sceptics of course say it is impossible and one of the doctrines of Christianity which is attacked more than any other is the virgin birth. Sceptics, Muslims, and Jews all have their objections to the doctrine of the virgin birth, and you might even be thinking yourself: ‘How can this possibly be?’
Well, it says ‘with God nothing shall be impossible’; after all, God made us.
God made us male and female, He made the remarkable way in which children come into the world in the natural which is itself totally beyond anybody’s ability to make up.
It must be God who conceived it and it must be a supernatural thing. Every time a child is born into the world, it is a supernatural miracle in a sense, because God has designed the body in the way that it should be.
If God can design the body, He can also overrule the things which He’s designed because He made it.
So, God can overrule and with God nothing should be impossible, He can do what He likes with the world which He has made. He has made it and He will do as He wills with it.
And so, this proposition is given to Mary and indeed she says, ‘how can this be since I do not know a man?’ ‘Do not to know a man’ is a polite way in which the Bible speaks about having sexual relations.
Obviously, the only way in which a child can come into the world is through a man and a woman having sexual relations and the child is conceived and then born nine months later. That’s the way it’s been from the beginning. That’s the way it will be to the end.
But there’s going to be one time in which God’s going to overrule that and a child will be born supernaturally without this process taking place and it must be for this Child to be born, to be fully man, fully human, and, to be a divine person.
He doesn’t lay aside His divinity, He doesn’t stop being a divine person, He is God from the beginning, from the conception, even when He is a tiny seed within Mary’s womb, He is still God until He is born and He’s God.
He lives a childhood and He’s God, and He comes out as the Messiah and then begins His ministry but, through that time, Jesus is God with us, Emmanuel, as the prophet said.