First words are often waited on with expectation. These first words, laid down at the threshold of the inspired first-century writings, carry an important lesson that we do well to consider.
It is clear that, for his reader, Matthew was keen to establish the legal credentials of the Lord Jesus that linked Him to the two stand-out characters of Jewish national history. It is equally clear to my mind that it is the intention of the divine author to bring to the forefront of the reader’s attention – as He always will do – the Lord Jesus. In an age of ever-increasing celebrity culture, we do well to remember that Heaven is not in the business of promoting human writers – after all they are merely His servants doing His bidding. God has only One upon whom we should be focused. It is the One who sits at the centre of all divine purpose, Col. 1. 15-18, and the same One who we can be sure will complete it too, 1 Cor. 15. 24, 25.
In all endeavours to explore the scriptures, our primary objective must be to seek Him out and learn from Him, Luke 24. 27; Matt. 11. 29.
Aside from the legal claims this genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ sets out, the mention of these two characters in particular should prompt us to look and see in what way they can remind us of the Saviour.
We might think of the gentleness of the shepherd lad, who became the sweet psalmist of Israel, and yet David was a warrior. Perhaps the greatest point in David’s life was his victory over the seemingly invincible Goliath, who held the people of God in fear. With total confidence in his God, David slew him in the valley of Elah. No wonder the women came out of all the cities of Israel with his praise on their lips. I am sure that a deeper appreciation of the victory secured by the Saviour at Calvary will stimulate a similar response from us.
If David was a warrior and his high-point was reached in a valley, Abraham as a pilgrim was a worshipper who built altars, and perhaps his high-point is in Genesis chapter 22, where, on a mountain, his dependence on God was examined, and found to be unstinting and unshakeable. In Abraham, we see a man who walked to the place of sacrifice with a full knowledge of what lay ahead and with full confidence in his God that He had the power to raise Isaac from the dead. Psalm 16 is the psalm of the dependent man. Prophetically, it shows the confidence of the One who, as a man down here, even as He entered into the deepest examination of His obedience, confidently declares, ‘Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption’, v. 10. If the Saviour rested in His God, then surely we can too.
It is the prayer of all the committee that as this issue of the magazine is read, the work and person of ‘the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’ will be our foremost consideration.