Matthew 1:1_by Akihiko Tsuchiya (Seminarian)

bible missionary

 ↓Audio link to the sermon:(ZOOM worship recording)
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There are two things that I would like to ask. One, do you have anything that you want to share with other people? Second, how do you want to do that? Recent days, due to the continuous development of the internet, it is much easier to share your thoughts with others compared to before.   For example, Youtube. I used to play baseball in high school, and I often watch baseball related YouTube channel. Former Nippon Ham fighters, Mr. Kataoka owns his own youtube channel to communicate the reality of the baseball player. This is very fun to watch. Another is Mr. Uehara who is former pitcher of Yomiuri Giants. He also has his own channel to talk about some baseball news. Because of YouTube, people have more access to bigger platform to share their thoughts and information. Today’s world, people use online tools to communicate.    

How about people from Bible days? They do not have internet nor YouTube. How did they communicate important matters and thoughts? One of the ways that they communicated was genealogy. When ancient people use genealogy, they describe the family history, identity, and history in how God moved.  When we take a look at overall Bible, Chronicles in Old Testament is the first to come to mind.  Chronicles genealogy started from Abraham to David and David to people who returned from Exile in Babylon.  From Abraham to David, it focuses on people of tribe of Judah.  Why would that be?  Because through genealogy, author of Chronicles wanted to communicate and remind the future messianic king would come from the tribe of Judah.  However, the reality is the messianic king never showed up in the days of Old Testament (OT).  People returned from exile but they thought that messiah has not yet been arrived…
Now, how about the genealogy that Matthew wrote?  Matthew likewise the author of Chronicles wanted to communicate the move of God in the history.   Without a doubt, the reason Matthew started writing the genealogy is because it is safe to say that Matthew has Genealogy of Chronicle in his mind.  I would think that Matthew was trying to continue the genealogy of Chronicles and complete it.  This is the moment long waited and Matthew wanted to break the long silence by saying the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of Abraham and Son of David.  When we zoom into this one verse, there are two names, Abraham and David, that were important figures in OT.  Connecting these two names to Jesus is very important part to understand the message that Matthew wants to communicate with the readers in the back and today.  

First person, Abraham.  He receives the promise from God in Genesis 12:1-3.  God’s promise goes “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great.  Also, all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.  

You may have already noticed that one word has been repeated.  The word is “Blessing”.  The word blessing is multi-faceted word and has several meanings.  One is to kneel, another is to receive the power to fulfill the purpose or the power to properly rule.  Of course when you kneel down in this context, it means that you accept God of Israel as one true God, and in that relationship,  you will receive the power to fulfill God’s purpose here on earth.  Also, blessing could mean to be free from danger and/or threat, safety, peace, prosperity, and well-being.  It could be very close to meaning of “Shalom” when we think about it, blessings is the word related with ability, emotions, mental, and spiritual.

Originally, God created this world as good.  God put humanity as his representative to rule this world.  However, humanity rebelled against God, sin and death has covered and ruled and ended up corrupting God’s good world.  God has loved the humanity so much that he initiated the rescue plan.  To carry out the mission from God, Abraham and his family were chosen.  God has blessed this family, and bring rescue and blessing to the world.  It could restore the effect of the curses on people and deliver people from the influence.  That was God’s promise to Abraham.  This is the foundational promise that should be carried out generation after generations.  

Second main character is David.  David was actually hidden character among his brothers to begin with.  When Prophet Samuel came to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem to anoint the next king, David was not first choice among his brother.  David’s father Jesse said reluctantly “there is still the youngest”, and Jesse had no choice but to bring David in front of Samuel.  This unknown hidden son of Jesse became a hero who defeated the giant solider Goliath!  However, things turned around.  Saul started having a jealousy toward David, and tried to kill him.  That forced David to be on the run for a long time, but As promised by God, David finally became the king of Israel.  He united 12 tribes into one nation, and the nation of Israel starts experiencing the golden age.

Everything David did was very successful because God was with him.  He is the legendary King in the history of Israel, and God spoke about the promise to David.  That promise of God was that there will be the king who reigns all over the world and David’s throne will be established forever.  Right after receiving this great promise, David fell into sin with Bathsheba, and David’s descendants walked in sin not God’s way.  Israel ended up being slaves in Foreign land of Babylon.  
Although some of the Israelites returned from exile of Babylon, they wondered where the promise of God to Abraham and David went.  Future Messianic King has not yet arrived at Israel and to people of Israel.

God’s story, which felt like it was silenced for a long time, has started moving forward once again.  There was a continuous story from the old testament.  That is introduced in the person of Jesus who was the son of Abraham and son of David which Matthew declared in 1:1.  There is one word that we would like to focus.  That is how Matthew called Jesus Christ.  The word “Christ” is very important.  Christ is the title, and this is not last name of Jesus.  As you know Christ in Greek is Christos.  It means Anointed one.  It is the equivalent to the word Messiah in Hebrew, and has the meaning of King.  When we describe Jesus as Christ, we can say Messianic King Jesus.  Matthew declared in the beginning of his Gospel that Jesus is the Christ who fulfills the promises of Abraham and David as their descendant.  He is the long waited King of Israel.  Jesus the Messiah came to set his people Israel and humanity free from the failure of the past and slavery caused by the bleach of the covenant with God.  Jesus came to bring the restoration of the ancient promise to Abraham that his descendants would be the blessing of God to the whole world.  
I believe that is the content that Matthew wanted to convey in his message and the Gospel.  This time because of the time restriction, we were not able to look into the genealogy, but Matthew echoed his message that is the hope of coming Messianic King.  As the result, Japanese follower of Christ in 21st century were birthed into this nation.

Very beginning of this message, I asked two questions.  What do you have in your heart that you want to share?  And how do you want to convey the message?  Of course as Matthew share the message, us follower of Christ has the role to share the message of Christ.  But we would like to take a quick moment to pray and reflect.  About three minutes, either you want to pray outlaid or pray in your heart whichever you would like, I would like all of us to ask God these two questions.  1.  God what do you want us to share, 2. how would you like us to share what is in our heart.  Let us come to God asking what is the message in our heart to convey and also how we can move forward with the message that God has already given to us.  After 3 minutes, I would close this message in prayer.

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