Jesus: Son of David Son of Abraham
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
I was reading through the first chapter of the gospel of Matthew. As I thought about this first verse, I saw Matthew as introducing how he is going to tell the Jesus story. He tells us that Jesus is the son of David. He is going to show us through the gospel how Jesus fits in that title. He is also going to show us how Jesus is the son of Abraham.
The title of son of David is a title packed full of meaning. After the exile, the Jewish must have looked back to the golden age of Israel and thought of David. They had been dominated by other governments for hundreds of years. What would the prospect of self-government had mean to them? Here Matthew taps into all that longing and says Jesus is the son of David. He is the true heir to the throne of David. Jesus had been crucified years before Matthew sits down to tell this story. The Jewish hearers of this gospel must have squirmed when Matthew calls Jesus the son of David. Jesus had not accomplished anything that they thought a son of David would have done. They are still dominated by the Romans.
In Genesis 49:10 we are told that the scepter will not pass from Judah, and in 1 Kings we are told that a descendant will reign on the throne of David forever. So as Matthew starts his gospel, he is telling his Jewish readers that Jesus is the true king. The statement had to be a shocking to first century Jews. Matthew starts with a shocking headline. It is a hook that will draw us into the story of the Gospel.
He goes on to call Jesus, the son of Abraham. Abraham is the father of the Jewish people. He had left polytheism in Ur, and followed a God he didn't know, to a place he didn't know where he was going. Matthew is saying to his Jewish readers that Jesus is one of them. They share a common ancestor in Abraham. As I read this verse I think of God's promise to Abraham. God chose to reveal himself to mankind through the man Abram. He calls him out to follow him. He promised Abraham that he would bless all the families of the earth through Abraham. Jesus comes as the son Abraham to fulfill all that God had promised to Abraham. The Jewish people were called to show God to the world. The whole story of the Jewish people through the old testament was leading to Jesus as the climax of God's calling the families of the Earth to his kingdom. Jesus is the blessing that God had promised to Abraham and all his descendants. God told Abraham that his descendants would out number the stars in the sky and the sand of the seashore. Jesus comes as the promised son of Abraham to bring blessing to all of the families of the Earth. The Apostle Paul will eventually teach us how God has grafted gentiles into the family of God. Through this grafting in by God, we become spiritual descendants of Abraham. When we get to the Revelation of St. John we see a multitude that no one can number.
Jesus is the son of David, because he will rule on the throne of David forever. His kingdom will never end. Jesus is the son of Abraham. He is the blessing to all the families of the earth. He grafts us into the family of God, and we become part of that multitude that no one can number. God always keeps his promises.