Once Upon a Time

December 6, 2015

By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor

Matthew 1:1-17

God sent Jesus, the king of all creation, to protect, provide for and guide humanity here on earth, just as Aslan, the regal lion in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, guided children in the fictional realm of Narnia to protect the kingdom from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line.

We learn of Jesus’ kingship throughout the Bible, and even sing about it in many of our Christmas carols, because this role of His kingship is key to our understanding God.

In Matthew 1:1-17, the author presents the genealogy of Jesus through the line of His adopted father (Joseph). Here we see the concept of the kingship of Jesus through the emphasis of Jesus’ lineage through King David, at the beginning, middle and end of the passage.

In three movements of Matthew 1:1-17, the kingly title of Jesus, son of David, relates to us personally:

  1. Israel longed for a king before they even had a king.

From the time Israel settled into the Promised Land, the Israelites longed for a king.  God gave them judges for leadership, but the result was moral decay. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25).

God had long ago promised a king to mankind (Genesis 49:10), and they longed for one now.  Israel wanted a king in the Promised Land to protect them, to provide for them and to give them a moral compass.

Today, as the media showers us with gruesome stories of bombings, mass shooters and dictators terrorizing their people, we all wish for true leadership (a true king) to balance justice and mercy in this world. We long for someone greater than ourselves, a leader in whom we can put our trust, who is strong enough to fight against wrong and make war on evil.

  1. Israel longed for a king even when they had a king.

King Saul’s physical height looked good at first, but he soon became egotistical and insanely jealous.  King David, a man after God’s own heart in his early years (1 Samuel 13:14), received the gift from God that his descendants would rule for eternity.  Yet cracks of murder, rebellion and family issues began to appear in his life. King Solomon was wise, but his heart eventually turned away from God. In the remaining 43 kings of Israel, only six showed any good in them at all.

Our own longing for true leadership, no matter what the type of government, cannot be fulfilled, because we have learned through history that the “kings” we have cannot be fully trusted. In truth, our candidates for our next president do not have all the answers.  The cracks in the foundations of mankind always show. We still long for a “king” to protect us, provide for us and guide us.

  1. The reason for this longing is that Israel was really longing for this King, the Messiah.

Jesus, the Messiah, ruling eternally from King David’s line (Matthew 1:1-17), would truly be the king who could protect, provide for and guide His people.  Like a shepherd (prophesied in Micah 5:4), Jesus would tend His people (His sheep) and help the hurting and downtrodden. Jesus alone could claim to fulfill Micah’s Old Testament prophecy to “proclaim good news to the poor…to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” (Luke 4:18,19).

Jesus is the good human king that Israel had longed for, but He is so much more.  Jesus, from the human line, “the root of David,” is also the “lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5).  This lion, Jesus, is the everlasting divine Son of God, fulfilling all the prophesies of the Old Testament for the Messiah, and fulfilling the New Testament prophecies of the future, as well, when He defeats all evil (Revelation 5:19-20) and reigns eternally with His “bride,” the Church (Revelation 22).

Jesus is God Himself in human form. He is God’s law, a perfect mixture of justice and mercy. Jesus Christ is the only one, the only perfect one, who can satisfy our deep longings for a truly powerful and just king who is able to protect us, provide for us and guide us.

Have each of us turned to Jesus Christ to fulfill our longing for a king? Are we willing subjects of His Kingdom, where He gave His life in love for us so that we can find forgiveness and personal transformation, now and for eternity?  May we all continually turn our hearts toward Him because He is the only true King.