The Beginning Of Something Glorious
Have you ever felt misunderstood? … that nobody really and truly got you … or even really tried to? Discovered a new word this week - “assumicide” - its what happens when we make false assumptions about others so that we portray them in worst possible light We all been guilty of drawing wrong conclusions on basis of tiny scraps of evidence I think she’s trying to ignore me He plays favorites. This church is so unfriendly I don’t like him. I don’t know why I just don’t How could she be a Christian and act like that? She is so full of herself He’s such a hypocrite You cant trust someone who dressed like that.
Hurts when you’re the victim of assumicide - especially when its your close friends who misunderstand you … And nothing feels as good as when you find someone who gets you - who takes the time to really get to know you - who gives you the benefit of the doubt - who loves you unconditionally
Continuing our walk through Gospel of Luke - come to the account of Jesus’ baptism by John and one of those passages that honestly gets skipped over - the record of Jesus’ family tree … long list of names hard to pronounce or get excited about … but if you’ll hang with me, I think you’ll see it in a whole new light …
Let’s stand together as I read this part of God’s inspired and inerrant Word - : Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” 23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. PRAYER
JESUS’ BAPTISM (v21a) Luke’s description of Jesus’ baptism short & simple (1 verse) … Matthew gives us 5 verses; ; and … Luke doesn’t even tell us who baptized Jesus (assumes reader will make connection w/ John) … Why was Jesus baptized? Luke draws attention to one thing - see it? When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. Jesus was baptized with all the people - Jesus came into the world to identify with people; and to identify with people is to identify with sin. He could not purchase righteousness for mankind if He did not identify with mankind’s sin. In Matthew, Jesus told John that it was “fitting to fulfill all righteousness” - part of God’s plan for Him … Hundreds of years before Christ’s coming, Isaiah had declared that the Messiah “was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors” (). He who had no sin took His place among those who had no righteousness. He who was without sin submitted to a baptism for sinners. In this act the Savior of the world took His place among the sinners of the world.
What does it mean for you and me? It means Jesus gets us - He took His place among us - felt pull of temptation; saw the consequences of sin in those around Him; heard the desperate cries of those who believed there was no hope for them as well as the proud boasts of those who believed they needed no help … felt the pain of rejection, hatred, arrogance … saw the sinful hearts of the religious and irreligious … experienced for Himself the reason we so desperately needed a Savior!
JESUS ANNOINTING (v21b-22) For Luke, this is the main point - what he uses the most words to describe … only one who mentions that Jesus was praying at this point - prayer life of Jesus one of practices Luke highlights throughout his Gospel … other elements same: heavens open; Spirit descends “on Jesus” like a dove; God’s voice from heaven affirming who Jesus is and declaring His pleasure in Him … one of places where see all members of Trinity together … Must be careful here - not teaching that Jesus became the Messiah here & before was just ordinary man or even that Jesus received the Spirit here for the first time … but rather it was to … INTRODUCED him as THE SAVIOR See this clearer in John’s account: in , John sees Jesus approaching: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” Later Peter would testify in : How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. (ESV) Centuries earlier Isaiah had prophesied about the coming Messiah: Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. (ESV) And again in ; the text which Jesus himself read in the synagogue in the early days of His ministry and declared himself to be its fulfillment: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound … (ESV) Means He is the only one who can do anything about our sins … John called Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” … mankind has failed miserably in our attempts to fix our broken lives/world - deal with our sin problem - tried to deny it exists; tried to educate our way out of it; buy our way out of it; work our way out of it; even worship our way out of it … but all our efforts fall short … we cannot get rid of our sin … Jesus came and lived the life we were intended to live (perfectly in sync with God - love, trust, obey) and then died the death we should have died (wages of sin is death…) and rose from the death 3 days later to enable us to live the life we never could have lived on our own - abundant, everlasting, and free.
JESUS’ FAMILY TREE So what can we possibly learn from this list of names, most of whom we know nothing about … Few words of explanation - Matthew also includes one … overlap in places but significant differences … maybe had some college professor or skeptical friend say, “These genealogies don’t match up; therefore the Bible is wrong / has errors.” … efforts made to explain differences - most common is that Luke gives us Mary’s family tree while Matthew uses Joseph’s … another is that there were one or more Levirate marriage in Jesus’ family tree (OT practice of brother dying & leaving no son, his brother would marry widow to have children - explains different grandfathers of Jesus) … a third is that Matthew giving us the royal legal descendants of David while Luke gives us biological descendants …
Several facts are clear however: first obvious Luke & Matthew arranged and used them to tell us something about Jesus ( sets of 14 generations - back to Abraham … Luke’s arrangement not so obvious but goes all way back to Adam / God) … fact #2 is right now, we do not have enough information to know for sure - the problem is not with biblical text but with our lack of information / understanding … fact #3 is church happy to leave these two genealogies as they are for years despite all the questions they raise and did not fear they undermined the authority of Scripture
Well we Southerns, of all people, ought to understand the importance of a family tree/ genealogy - one of the first things we ask is, “Who are your people? Who are you kin to? Spend time each May in family cemeteries visiting & talking about ancestors … in other cultures, family trees are powerful things - roots a person in history Luke gives us this genealogy of Jesus to root Jesus in concrete historical realities of what God had been doing in history … so much more I could say but I want to draw our attention to the two key lessons this genealogy teaches us about Jesus …
It Identified Jesus as a REAL HUMAN BEING - Jesus was a real man - flesh and blood … He is not some mystical being who descended to earth and took on some kind of spiritual form and only appeared to be flesh & blood … wasn’t just the product of a biblical writer’s over-active imagination to help us grasp the nature of God … he’s a real person, just like us - with family and kin-folk (some good & some bad; some worth remembering; and some you try to forget) - He was sinless but his kin are not … Just a quick aside here: some well-known names are mentioned: Adam; Noah, Abraham and David … other names are mentioned that we know nothing about … some walked in faith and they all stumbled - Adam disobeyed God’s one command; Noah got drunk; Abraham was a liar; David was an adulterer & murderer … Jesus’ family tree, just like mine and yours, is a long list of sinners - we are not the answer to our sin problem - we cannot look to ourselves for salvation
It also identified Jesus as the SON OF GOD. Jesus’ family tree shows his connection with David (“son of David” - rightful heir to David’s throne) and Abraham (“son of Abraham” - heir / fulfillment of all the promises God made to Abraham) and with Adam (as the second Adam, Jesus succeeds where the first Adam failed - He resists Satan’s temptation, not once but 3 times and as Paul wrote in : For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.) But the genealogy ends with Jesus identified as “the son of God” … not just a great man or moral philosopher; not just a spiritual teacher or great leader but the one and only Son of God … the very One every generation since Adam had looked for - the One promised in the garden who would crush the serpent’s head… the One who would come to do for us what we could never do for ourselves - everything we need we can find in Jesus Luke tells us that Jesus is fully human, so He can be a great high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses; He is the Messiah, the rightful heir of David’s throne; who can be the King of our hearts; He is the son of Abraham, so that all of God’s promises to Abraham are ours in Him. He is the son of Adam - the second Adam who reversed the course of Adam’s curse so that we can find the blessings of God in Him … and most importantly, He is the Son of God, and by trusting Him we can become the very children of God In other words, Luke is telling us the sum total of everything we need is concentrated in Jesus, and its not found anywhere else outside of Him. There is nothing we need that’s outside of Jesus and everything that we do need is found in Him.
Let me close by highlighting two lessons out of this text worth pondering some more … Jesus Understands Our Human Nature … no one understands us better than Jesus - He created us - He became one of us … he understands our sinful nature - he makes no false assumptions about us - he knows the number of hairs on our head and the knows the true motives of our hearts … and the good news is this: He still loves us - so much that He was willing to die for us … leads to second lesson Jesus is the Savior of the World … this is why Luke carries Jesus genealogy all the way back to Adam and doesn’t stop at Abraham … Luke wants his readers - both Jew and Gentile - to know that Jesus came to save us all - “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son …”
CONCLUSION Luke is telling us in the passage that we can either trust in ourselves / people and sin and die or we can trust in Christ alone and live … there is hope today for everyone because Jesus was baptized, anointed for His mission and was included in this family tree of sinners. Jesus came to earth to live the life God intended for us to live; to die on the cross where we should have died; and then he rose from the dead as proof that He was who He claimed to be and to fix our broken lives … we must be wiling to turn from our brokenness and trust in Jesus (who He was and What He did) to save us and change us … and then begin to follow Him daily as He shows us how to grow as His disciple and go back into a broken world to show them the way to Jesus …