The First Christmas

(ESV) “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.’
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book’” (Hebrews 10:5–7).

Why did Jesus come? Simply put, to do the perfect will of God.

Christmas isn’t about decorating a tree, elves, St. Nick (Santa Clause), or about going into debt.

Christmas is about a “body you have prepared for me.” It’s about the fulfilling of the promise of a coming Messiah.

When Adam fell, he died spiritually and his vey nature became sin, his thinking became twisted, and his body also inherited the sin nature (Romans 8:10).

Jesus’ body had no sin in it whatsoever. This is one reason why He was born from a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22–23).

The Royal Line

Not only did the Messiah need to be holy to God, but other qualifications must be met.

Jesus must be from the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:3; 22:16–18). He had to be a Jew.

Jesus must come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10).

Jesus must come from the house of David the King. He must be in line to the throne of Israel. He must be eligible to be the King of the Jews (Isaiah 9:7; 11:1).

Joseph

(ESV) “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ” (Matthew 1:1 & 16; read 1–16).

Joseph was a direct descendant of Abraham and David and was in line to be the king of Israel. If this lineage wasn’t true, it would have been debunked at the time of Matthew’s writing, which was before the destruction of the temple in 70 Ad. Genealogy records were kept in the temple and were destroyed with the temple by the Romans. Jewish leaders would have known that Jesus was descended from David and would have been in line to inherit the throne.

(ESV) “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” Matthew 1:19–23).

Joseph was a righteous man (vs.19). He was following God, living a normal life, and doing the best he could. He had no idea what God was about to do.

“Son of David” (vs. 20) refers to Joseph being the rightful heir to the throne of Israel (see 2 Kings 22:2). Joseph is the king incognito. He’s living like a commoner in the backwater town of Nazareth in Judah. We know Joseph knew he was descended from David because he had to travel to Bethlehem for the census. Bethlehem was the “city of David.” Though temple ancestral records proved that Joseph was the rightful heir to the throne, no one cared. He was lost in obscurity.

Joseph being the heir to the throne makes Jesus, his son, heir to the throne. God is now ready to place His son, Jesus/Yeshua, on the Davidic throne. The angel appearing to Joseph validates and reveals who the present heir was, and established that Joseph’s son would inherit the throne.

The Cursed Line of David

(ESV) “‘As I live, declares the LORD, though Coniah [Jeconiah or Jehoiachin] the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, yet I would tear you off and give you into the hand of those who seek your life, into the hand of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you shall die’…Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days, for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah’” (Jeremiah 22:24–26, 30).

Now this creates a problem. Coniah has been cursed by God and his descendants cannot inherit the throne. Joseph is a descendant of Coniah and is ineligible to inherit the throne! We cannot bless what God has cursed, and we cannot curse what God has blessed. If Joseph cannot sit on the throne, neither can his son Jesus! What is God to do!

When the remnant returned from Babylon, Israel never had another Jewish king again. (Herod was from Esau not Jacob and was therefore not Jewish or Israeli.)

Jesus is not cursed, and He came to bless. Therefore, he cannot be from a cursed lineage. If the Jeconiah line is cursed, how can Jesus become the king of the Jews? How can He come from the line of Jeconiah? And yet, Jesus must come from the line of Jeconiah to be eligible to be king.

The Lineage

In Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 1:1–14) the creature he saw had four faces:

  • A lion: representing the king (Matthew’s gospel).
  • The ox: representing the servant (Mark’s gospel).
  • A man: representing humanity (Lukes gospel).
  • The eagle: representing divinity (John’s gospel).

Only Matthew and Luke have genealogies (the king and the man).

Matthew focuses on Jesus lineage through Solomon, the son of David, and ending with Joseph, the husband of Mary. “Begat” or “begotten” is used to signify a direct lineage connection to the throne. He is the legal royal heir. Joseph was directly connected to the throne of David as the heir; therefore his sons are also.

Luke focuses on Jesus lineage through Nathan, son of David, through Mary. Nathan was not the legal royal heir, but still from King David. Luke follows the lineage trail through Joseph as Jesus’ step-father, because it’s through the father that lineages were recognized. Joseph was now the head of the lineage.

The real importance is found in Matthew 1:12 and Luke 3:27 with Zerubbabel. Matthew’s gospel follows the line through Solomon; whereas, Luke follows the line through Nathan. Both Solomon and Nathan’s line join into one lineage with Zerubbabel, the grandson of Jeconiah.

Jesus is, therefore, from both the lineage of Solomon and Nathan. Though Solomon’s line was cursed, Nathan’s line was still in tact. Both Joseph and Mary were from the royal line.

Jesus is the King of the Jews.

Jesus had to be born of a virgin because He had to be born without a sin nature. All of mankind was cursed because of Adam’s transgression. Also, the legal heir to the throne of David was disqualified through Jeconiah, but not through Nathan. Through the union of the houses of Solomon and Nathan in Zerubbabel, Jesus qualifies to be on the throne. And through the virgin birth, the curse of Jeconiah had no affect. This is why Jesus was “a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots” (Isaiah 11:1; EVS). The tree had been cut down and was dead, but God brought it back to life!

Jesus Is Coming

Joseph and Mary were part of a divine plan. They had no idea what God was doing until it was revealed to them, They were going about their every days lives with no understanding that God was at work. God had been working to bring those two together for a thousand years, and no one was aware of His divine plan.

No one may be noticing us as heirs of God, and we don’t see the big picture of what God is doing in our lives, but as we live righteously before God, He is bringing a divine plan to come to pass.

When Mary and Joseph were heading to Bethlehem, they were on their way to seeing the manifested Messiah. Mary’s journey must have been unpleasant. She was pregnant, riding a donkey on rough roads for almost a hundred miles. Joseph had to watch his wife suffer the journey and listen to her pain. Yet, when it was all said and done, they wouldn’t change it for the world. They were going to see the Messiah face to face!

1 Peter 2:9 says, (ESV) “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Our lives are represented in that first Christmas with the birth of the Messiah. As we live our normal lives in a righteous manner, as royal priests and holy before God, God is leading us to seeing the thing we most desire: The Messiah Jesus! And when it’s all said and done, we wouldn’t change a thing. The glory and beauty of knowing the King will overwhelm the pain and discomfort of the journey.

The world is cursed, but we are not. It’s because of the curse that there is war and famine, sickness, disease and death. Satan was the first being that was cursed. When Adam sinned, he and his seed inherited the curse. Jesus broke that curse. We have to live in this cursed world, but through Jesus we can learn to live above it. That’s the kingly part of this royal priesthood. We can also learn to live holy, bless others and bring others to Jesus; that’s the priestly part.

We’re on a Christmas journey as we live our lives waiting to see the Messiah. Sometimes the journey is a bumpy road that we must endure, but at the end of the pilgrimage, we will see the Messiah face to face and all the joy that goes with it!

May you have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Stay strong and prepared!

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