Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Sermon / Homily on St. Matthew 1:1-17

Sermon of the Week

by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil

Next Sunday is the Sunday before Christmas. Gospel reading for next Sunday is from Mathew 1:1-17. It gives us an account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah.

Topic: The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Gospel Reading: Mathew 1:1-17

1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
 

3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose
mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
 

4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
 

5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
 

6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother
had been Uriahs wife,
 

7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
 

8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
 

9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
 

10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
 

11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his
brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
 

12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
 

13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
 

14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
 

15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
 

16 and Jacob the father of
Joseph, the
husband of Mary, and Mary
was the mother of Jesus who
is called the Messiah.
 

17 Thus there were
Fourteen generations in all.
From Abraham to David, Fourteen; From David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the Exile to the Messiah.

Message:

In todays gospel, we see the genealogy of names of people, some of them may not have any historical context. They are not just names, but are stories that bring meaning and context as to whom they were and where their family came from. That is why the Bible is passing this genealogy on to us.

The genealogy in todays reading is very important because it shows us that Jesus lineage was no accident. Jesus did not just show up in a manger one day in Bethlehem. He was born to fulfill a specific plan of God, in a specific time, in a specific place, and from a specific line of people. It had to be this way because God promised that Jesus would be born a ruler, as king of kings, and the lord of lords.

God made several promises. Out of all these promises, two stand out ahead of the rest. They are Abrahamic covenant and the Davidic covenant. The Davidic covenant was about establishing the throne and a ruler. Apostle Mathew tells us through the genealogy that Jesus is the son of both Abraham and David. It is to show that Jesus is the King and the Messiah. By saying that Jesus is the son of David, Mathew says that Jesus is the fulfillment of Gods prophecy to David.

Jesus fulfilled the Abrahamic covenant as well. God told Abraham that through his lineage, all the earth would be blessed. Though it didnt happen through Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, or Solomon, the blessing happened through Jesus. Jesus is the seed of Abraham by which the whole world is blessed. God planned a ruler through this promise to David. Jesus fulfills that covenant God made with David. In Jesus, Davids throne is established for ever.

Jesus thus fulfills this covenant God made with Abraham. Jesus is Abrahams seed and the whole world is blessed through Jesus.

Todays gospel reveals the total generations between Abraham and Jesus. The amazing hand of God worked through history to plan his ruler. The Bible cites 14 generations from Abraham to David and there were significant events that went on during that time. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were patriarchs. God brought Abraham out of Ur. God gave him a son, Isaac, in his old age. God preserved and prospered Joseph. God brought him out of the pit and placed him at the highest level of government in Egypt. And 400 years later, God used Moses to lead the Israelites back out of Egypt where they were slaves. God provided Israelites the right king when he gave them David. That is how God worked through the first 14 generations to plan his ruler. God let grow the kingdom under David and Solomon and later allowed civil war and strife to divide the kingdom after King Solomons rule. There were another 14 generations from David to the Persian conquest of Babylon or the so-called Babylonian captivity.

Then came 14 generations from Babylonian captivity to Jesus, over which time Jerusalem was captured and destroyed twice. The Jews were dispersed, persecuted, and punished. But God preserved them because he had a plan for them. God preserved Jews to bring out their ruler, Jesus Christ the Messiah.

The word Messiah means Anointed One. The name is given to the promised deliverer who would some day come to the people of Israel as their great Savior and Redeemer.

Many early Christians were convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was their promised Messiah. And indeed they had good reasons for such faith. As their followers, let us continue that faith and have Jesus come and rule over our lives. Jesus is the one who will cast his eternal judgment upon us. As Jesus is our Lord and savior, lets bow before him on the eve of his birth. Jesus as our Lord and savior, we are responsible for setting up the course of our own life. God often used heritage, ancestry, and the details of the past to prepare us for the ministry he has in store for us.

This gospel portion might look like a long genealogy story. Theologians believe there is more to Jesus genealogy but is enough to serve as a powerful reminder that this baby Jesus born into this world has come to bring salvation and redemption for all of us. There is no person in this world for whom sin is too great and no person who is far away from God. God doesnt care about our past. All of us can be brought to God through Jesus and our story can then become part of Jesus story. Jesus can turn our life around and use us for his glory.

See Also:

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for the Sunday Before Christmas (Genealogy of Jesus Christ)

Malankara World Christmas Supplement (additional Sermons, articles, devotionals, etc. on Christmas)

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