From this sermon on Matthew 1:1-17 preached yesterday.
Jesus was the One Person who could choose both His friends and His family.
And He chose a family full of liars, prostitutes, murderers, adulterers and idolaters. All of us would want to cover up the skeleton’s in this genealogical closet. But on the contrary the bible goes out of its way to emphasize the scandalous origins of Jesus of Nazareth.
He is not ashamed to call them brothers (Heb 2:11).
Not only is Jesus the ‘friend of sinners’ (Matthew 11:19). That would be wonderful enough. But He goes further. He’s not simply our friend. He chooses to be family. He is not just a divine visitor condescending to sit at table with us. Not just the Angel of the LORD granting us favours. No, God the Son becomes God our Brother. Born into our race, grafted into our family tree, forever sharing in our humanity. He draws very near. Bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh – now and forever more. Truly He is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23).
And He does all this to end our exile. Matthew 1:17 is clear that Jesus ends the exile. Not Zerubabbel or Nehemiah or Ezra – Jesus. Estrangement from God is over in the presence of Jesus. He says plainly “The time has come, the kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) Fellowship with the Most High is simply given to us in Jesus.
And this is why the 3 fourteens are stressed by Matthew (1:17). 42 generations from the foundation of Israel until her Messiah comes. In months, the number 42 represents a time of suffering. It is three and a half years – perfection (7) split in two. (Rev 11:2ff; 13:5). But considered as multiples of 7, we have six sevens. And any time you have a six in the bible – you’re just waiting for the seventh. Jesus is the seventh seven. The Sabbath of sabbaths. The complete rest. And His reign will usher in the true Jubilee. (Deut 25:8ff) At the end of His seven, the trumpet will sound and Jubilee begins. (Jubilee means ram’s horn!) And it’s Jesus who ends the exile.
The Son has become our Brother to bring us to the Father. And in this reconciliation the whole creation is freed.