The Ultimate Son of God

Posted: June 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

Luke 3:21-38, “The Ultimate Son of God”

Political commentators sometimes talk about “flyover” country.  They spend their time in DC, New York, and Los Angeles, etc., and all of the country in the middle is of little importance to them.  They just fly over it to get to where they really want to go.  Debates about media bias aside, some Christians treat Biblical genealogies the same way.  Sure, all the names are there in the text, but we just let our eyes “fly over” them as quickly as possible just to get to the next section that is more important to us.  It’s easy to understand why.  Apart from a handful of names, the vast majority are unfamiliar to us, and in fact, are names we literally know nothing about other than their inclusion in the list.  Just reading over the list makes it feel like you’re speaking in tongues, and you don’t have the benefit of an interpreter to help it make sense.

So what do we do with genealogies?  Fly over them – ignore them?  No.  Remember that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, which means every single name that’s listed in a genealogical record is one that God intended to be there.  God has a purpose in the genealogies, and it’s up to us to dig a bit to find out what it is.

The good news is that we often don’t have to dig too far.  More often than not, if we just take a brief step back to look at the overall context of a genealogy, we can see precisely why God included it within the Scripture.  Such is the case here.  At first glance, many people might see a short account of Jesus’ baptism, followed up by some incidental information of little use to Luke’s overall purpose in sharing the gospel.  But look closer…there is indeed a short (but massively important) account of Jesus’ baptism, and the genealogy goes with it like a hand-in-glove.  Jesus’ ancestry isn’t incidental to the gospel; it’s foundational to it.  With this account of Jesus’ family history, Luke shows his readers how all history had led to the moment of Jesus’ baptism.  The Man created by God was good, but fallen.  The Man sent by God as His beloved Son would redeem all men.  Although any created human could be considered a son of God, Jesus is the ultimate Son of God.  THAT Son would do what Adam never could: reverse the curse brought on by sin.

Unlike Matthew who opens his gospel with Jesus’ genealogy (showing Jesus as the true King of the Jews), Luke waits until the end of the 3rd chapter.  Why so long?  Because it fits better within his overall narrative.  To this point, Luke has alternated between the stories of John the Baptist & that of Jesus.  Now they converge, as John’s ministry is shown fulfilled in the Divine announcement of Jesus at His baptism, which itself is the culmination of the Divine plan that God had for Jesus from before the foundation of the world.

The beloved Son of God has come, representing all men to God, and offering God’s salvation to all men.  Will we see Him & believe?

Luke 3:21–38

  • Jesus’ baptism (21-22)

21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”

  • For all of the time that Luke has spent discussing the life and ministry of John the Baptist, the actual account of Jesus’ own baptism is quite tiny.  Even Mark seems to say more in his account, at least providing the general location of Jesus’ baptism, that He had come out of Nazareth of Galilee to be baptized by John in the Jordan (Mk 1:9).  Matthew writes of John’s hesitancy to actually be the one to baptize Jesus, as John believed he was unworthy (Mt 3:14), and true to form for the apostle John, his account is totally different that he doesn’t actually show the baptism, but narrates how John the Baptist recalled it happening (Jn 1:32-33).  Why does Luke say so little, when he’s said so much about John the Baptist already?  Perhaps that itself is the reason.  Luke has already described what John did in his ministry of baptism: precisely when he arose – the prophetic basis for his ministry – even a partial transcript of his preaching as he prepared people to humble their hearts in order to receive Jesus.  In Luke’s account, John has already laid the groundwork for Jesus to arrive, as John spoke of the One who would come with a mightier baptism: one of the Holy Spirit and fire.  All that was needed now was for Jesus to arrive.
  • And that He did.  For all of the buildup, there didn’t seem to be much fanfare when the event actually arrived.  Jesus came, just like “all the people” came.  Presumably, He might have even stood in line with the rest of the people who were present.  There were angels who broke out in song at His birth, but Jesus would have blended in with the crowd at His baptism.  He came in the same way along with the rest of the Jews, to be baptized by John – but He came for a vastly different reason.  Remember that the Jews were baptized to symbolize a new start.  They were convicted of their sin, and they desired to humble themselves before God in repentance, and John’s baptism was a symbolic way for them to start over.  For the Jews, baptism was a ritual for purity and/or conversion, and this was a symbolic way to get a new slate.  Not for Jesus.  Jesus never needed a new slate – He never needed a new beginning because He never sinned.  Not once in all eternity past had the Son of God engaged in sin, nor at any moment since He became incarnate in the flesh.  All through His childhood & teenage years, Jesus was free from any taint of sin, being absolutely perfect from start to finish.  So why did Jesus come to be baptized?
    • It was the right thing to do.  According to Matthew’s account, one reason was for Jesus and John to “fulfill all righteousness,” (Mt 3:15).  This is what God the Father desired for the Son, and the Son would see it all the way through.  Jesus always did what the Father wanted, whether it was big or small.
    • Jesus’ ministry needed a beginning.  In Luke’s account, what becomes clear later in Ch. 3 is how Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s plan all the way back to Creation & beyond.  Long before God ever created Adam & Eve, God knew how Adam would fall into sin & God already had a plan in place through which He would deal with it.  Thus literally all of history led to a single Person: the Lord Jesus Christ, and He was formally announced to the world through John’s baptism.  Jesus certainly needed no remission from sin or new start to His relationship with God, but He did need a formal start to His ministry, one in which He was publicly presented and blessed by God.  Thus He was baptized – not for His new start, but in order that we might have the opportunity for a new start.
      • Why do we get baptized?  Not for ritual’s sake, or in an attempt to wipe our own slate clean.  Our baptism is for a different reason.  Our baptism is to publicly identify ourselves with Jesus.  Biblical Christian baptism is done for the reason of faith.  When we come to faith in Jesus, we show that we have come to faith in Jesus by obeying His command to be baptized.  In the process, we demonstrate how our old life is dead, and that we have risen to new life in Christ – all through the work that He has accomplished through His cross and resurrection.  For us, baptism is not a work; it’s a response to the work of Jesus & an identification with Him that He is now our Lord & God.
  • If Jesus’ approach to the Jordan river was nothing special, that all changed once He entered it.  As Luke writes, “while He prayed, the heaven was opened.”  What exactly it was Jesus prayed, we aren’t told – what we do know is that whatever it was, there was an immediate response.  Jesus prayed, and stuff happened.  That’s always the case, and it makes perfect sense.  Jesus is God, and when God speaks, things move.  When God wills to act, action takes place.  That much is clearly evident during the events of creation (Gen 1) – whatever it is God wills, that thing will be done.  In this case, Jesus prayed and whatever it was that He said either out loud or in His heart, that was the signal to start things moving, and move they did!  Luke writes that the heaven opened up, although we don’t know precisely how.  This may have been a break between the clouds in the sky, or a visible break between heavenly & earthly dimensions.  Whatever it was, it caused John & the other witnesses to take notice!
  • It’s what took place after the heavens opened that is most exciting.  Without exaggeration, it was one of the most unique events in world history since prior to the 1st day of Creation week: the revelation of the eternal Godhead.  All three members of the Trinity evidenced Themselves in perfect unity as one God.  Father, Son, and Spirit were all known at the same time, each expressing Himself uniquely to the witnesses who were present.  What took place at the baptism of Jesus directly refutes the heresy of modalism (known by the ancient name of Sabellianism), which still carries on in some areas today.  Modalists believe that God manifests Himself in one way or the other – sometimes He shows Himself as God the Father, other times as the Son, etc.  Essentially, it denies the Trinity.  One God showing up in three ways is not Three Persons of a single Godhead.  Many misunderstandings of the Trinity fall within modalist categories.  For instance, some claim that water can be liquid, solid, or gas, showing an example of the Trinity.  Not so.  Water cannot simultaneously be fluid, ice, or steam – each molecule has its own distinct state at any given time.  The Trinity is truly a concept that defies analogies and explanations.  Every word picture fails at some point…and that itself makes it wonderful!  Our God is bigger than our intellect!  We certainly do not surrender our mind to worship God, but we have to accept that God is bigger than our minds.  And why not?  Surely an infinite God goes beyond the boundaries of our finite understanding.  A god that can be fully contained is a god imagined in the minds of men.  Religious overflow with gods of human imagination – what is unique is the God who surpasses human understanding.  That is the God of the Bible.  That is our Jesus!
    • And praise God that He reveals Himself to us!  That’s one of the major points of the incarnation.  We cannot know God for ourselves beyond mere glimpses, so God made Himself known to us.  He humbled Himself to become one of us, so that when we knew Him, we would know the true God.  Jesus is the only way to know God, because Jesus alone IS God.  (So believe!)
    • The revelation of the Trinity is one of the major points of Jesus’ baptism.  GOD manifested Himself in His fullness in order that God’s anointing of Jesus might be made known.  When Jesus was baptized, all would know the choice God had made, because there could be no doubt that it was GOD Himself who announced it.
  • The first revelation we see is that of the Holy Spirit, who “descended on bodily form like a dove.”  Please note that Luke did not say that the Holy Spirit became a dove, but the form was like that of a dove.  The Spirit did not come incarnate as did the Son – He simply took on a temporary physical form that was like that of a common dove. Out of all of the gospel writers, Luke places the most emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus.  If there was nothing else, this alone would be a wonderful contribution from Luke to the Biblical record!  We need to remember the deity of the holy Spirit.  The Spirit of God is not less than God the Son, nor than God the Father.  The Spirit proceeds from the Father, being sent by the Son, so He definitely accepts a role within the Trinity, but He is still God of true God.  The Spirit is just as all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-existent, etc., as God the Father for the Holy Spirit IS God.  Thus it is fully appropriate to see the Spirit descending upon the Lord Jesus at His baptism, in that it shows that the Lord Jesus is fully endued with the power of God.
    • Note what this is NOT.  This is not (per the ancient heresy of Cerinthus) the human Jesus being made divine by the temporary indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was not human, then divine for His ministry & miracles, then human again for His death and burial.  The miracle of the incarnation is that Jesus is always fully human & fully divine at all times.  Thus what this IS, is the demonstration of God the Spirit coming upon God the Son, showing that He is and has always been God.  Jesus certainly is a man, but He is no ordinary Man, and that is what the Spirit announced to all of the world at Jesus’ baptism.
  • Jesus not only has the power of God, but He has the love and blessing of God.  This is what was proclaimed by God the Father the moment the Spirit came down.  Visually, the heavens opened and the Spirit descended.  Audibly, the silence broke and a voice spoke from the same place.  The Hebrews had heard the voice of God in the past at Mt. Sinai, but it was many centuries ago & the people had trembled in terror.  This time, they heard the voice again, but things were far different as the Father pointed out His “beloved Son.”  Just as any father might proclaim blessing upon his children, so did God the Father do with Jesus – publicly in order that all might know.  This was no ordinary baptism or ordinary Man; this was the beloved & well-pleasing Son of God!
  • So what is the baptismal account?  It is God placing a massive red circle around Jesus – Him being colored by a supernatural highlighter setting Him apart from the rest of the world.  This is the Lord God’s announcement to the world regarding His Son.  When Jesus was born, the shepherds alone received the announcement sung by multitudes of angels.  When Jesus was baptized, all people everywhere in sight of Jesus received the announcement of Almighty God Himself.  They saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears what God thought of Jesus.  (What they did with it was up to them!)
    • God wants us to know His Son!  
  • Jesus’ genealogy (23-38)

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,

  • Before looking at the genealogy itself, we need to tackle a bit of the controversy surrounding it.  The only other genealogy of Jesus that is given in the New Testament is found in Matthew 1, and even a cursory look at it shows major differences with the one in Luke.  There are organizational differences (Matthew goes forward from Abraham; Luke goes backwards from Jesus) & there are generational differences (again, Matthew goes only as far as Abraham; Luke goes all the way to Adam).  But those things are minor compared to the content differences, which are profound.  It’s most readily seen with Joseph’s father Heli in Luke 3:23, while Matthew lists someone completely different: Matthew 1:16, "And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ."  Going from Joseph backwards, we see massive differences between Matthew and Luke.  In fact, they seemingly converge only once in reference to Zerubbabel & Shealtiel, and not again until they come to David.  That leaves us with quite an issue.  Is this a contradiction in our Bibles?  This is no minor problem.  After all, if Luke and Matthew cannot agree on such seemingly insignificant issues as a family tree, what does that do to their credibility on far more important things regarding Jesus?
  • Is it an issue?  Yes.  Is it without answers?  No.  Contrary to atheist websites which tend to proclaim the Christian worldview crumbles over the controversy, it doesn’t.  The Church has obviously been aware of the issue for over 2000 years, and there are several plausible theories to explain the difference.  As we’ve seen on many occasions, the Bible as a whole (and particularly Luke) has been proven true time and time again, and if there’s any book we ought to give the benefit of the doubt, it’s the Bible.  Even if we don’t have all the precise answers, even if there is one plausible scenario, it is enough to continue to give the Biblical authors credibility.  As it turns out, there isn’t only one possible explanation, but several. 
    • One of the oldest is from the ancient church historian Eusebius (3rd-4th century) who theorized that Joseph was the product of levirate marriage, in which a surviving brother would take on his brother’s widow, and raise up children in his brother’s name.  Such a thing was provided for in the Mosaic law, and indeed is documented in regards to David’s own family tree.
    • Another theory hones in on the differences in purpose between the genealogies.  Matthew wrote to Jews in regards to the Jewish Messiah King, and he took pains to show Jesus’ royal ancestry.  Luke (on the other hand) wrote to show Jesus as the ultimate Son of Man, representing all men before God, and thus wrote a simpler physical lineage.  Considering how common it was to skip generations, it’s plausible that Matthew highlighted what he felt was most important.  Again, levirate marriages could easily play a part.
  • A third possibility (most likely, IMO) is that the two lists differ because they follow two separate bloodlines entirely.  Matthew’s list chronicles Joseph’s family tree, whereas Luke’s list looks at Mary.  This has the advantages of:
    • Taking the text for what it is, without needing to supply possible levirate relationships from silence.
    • Falls in line with Matthew’s historical perspective of Joseph (Mt 1:18-25), and Luke’s general perspective on Mary (Lk 1:26-56).
    • Provides a natural explanation for Luke’s unusual qualification of Jesus “being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.”  There’s no need for that qualification, apart from the recognition that Jesus was NOT the physical son of Joseph, so Luke would be then free to pick up with Joseph’s father-in-law for Jesus’ actual bloodline.
    • It solves a problem presented in Joseph’s physical bloodline with him being the direct descendant of King Jeconiah, in that God specifically cursed Jeconiah saying that none of his descendants would prosper and sit on the throne of David (Jer 22:30).  The legal right to the throne certainly flowed through Joseph’s bloodline, but he was forbidden by Divine decree from ever claiming it.  Mary, however, also came through a line of David, though not the same one as Joseph.  Thus Jesus could still inherit the Davidic promise without God breaking His decree against Jeconiah.
  • The bottom line?  We may not know everything, but we have enough possibilities to give the Bible the benefit of the doubt.  When we think about it, it is inconceivable that Luke would have purposefully written a contradictory account to that of Matthew.  There are many indications that Luke was familiar with Matthew’s gospel – a careful historian such as Luke would never have intentionally undermined his or Matthew’s writing.  Even if we don’t understand every reason for the difference in genealogies, we can be certain Luke did, and he knew his original audience would have understood him perfectly.
  • With that said, be sure to take a broad look at things as we get into the details of the list.  Jesus was around 30 years old when He received His baptism by John, and this itself was the culmination of history stretching all the way back to the Garden of Eden.  Jesus didn’t arise out of nowhere; He came at a specific time through a specific bloodline for a specific purpose.  Going backwards from Jesus’ grandfather, what do we find?  The years of silence…
  • Years of silence (24-27)

24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah, 27 the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,

  • If some of the names sound repetitious, remember it was customary for the Jews to name their children after family members of the past.  In this particular family tree, names rooted in “Mattathaiah” were particularly common.  It seems to be rooted in the Hebrew noun for “gift” (מַתַּת).  Mattat + Yah = “gift of God.”  Names such as these were common in Hebrew culture, so it isn’t unique – but it certainly is befitting of Jesus’ family history!
  • Zerubbabel and Shealtiel stand out in the list, in that a Zerubbabel was one of the first Jewish leaders of the people as they left Babylonian captivity to return to their ancient homeland.  Whether or not this is the same Zerubbabel as mentioned by Matthew in his listing is up for debate.  Certainly it’s possible that the bloodlines could have converged temporarily only to split again with different sons.
  • The main issue here is one of consistency.  The time period between the last prophet of the Old Testament (Malachi) and John the Baptist was 400 years.  During that time God was silent…but God’s plan never ceased.  God may not have been speaking, but He was still working.  He steadfastly continued to pave the way for His Son from generation to generation.
  • Kingdom and captivity (28-31)

28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Jose, 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 Jonan, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,

  • It’s this list of names that we would expect to find a listing of the Jewish kings – and yet none but David exists.  Again, this gives credence to the theory of Luke tracing Mary’s history to David, rather than Joseph.  Even in the years of captivity, God knew the bloodline that would lead to His Son, which may have been different than what people commonly expected, but it still perfectly fulfilled the word He gave to David.  Regarding the house (dynasty) that God promised to David, God said: 1 Chronicles 17:13–14, "(13) I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. (14) And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever."  How long would the Son of David be king?  Forever.  Whose Son would David’s Son be?  God’s.  Some of this promise was previewed in Solomon, but it certainly wasn’t fulfilled in him.  After all, Solomon eventually died, even sinning against God in idolatry.  Solomon was glorious, but he wasn’t the promise; Jesus was.  God knew this promise before He ever granted it, and He paved the way to make it come to pass.
  • There’s an interesting side-note here regarding David’s own family.  Notice the son that is mentioned: Nathan.  Christians are generally familiar with only a handful of David’s children (“only” 19 are actually named!), primarily due to the focus on the royal line through Solomon, as well as the earlier rebellion of Absalom.  We know that Solomon was the eldest surviving son of Bathsheba – but he wasn’t her only son.  Several others are mentioned, including Nathan, whose name seems to be unique among the family of David.  What was the name of the prophet that confronted David regarding his adultery with Bathsheba, and his murder of her husband Uriah?  Nathan.  Surely Nathan’s confrontation with David was one of the most difficult things he ever faced – yet its fruit was wonderful and lasting.  Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” – Nathan was truly a friend when David needed one most.  David knew it, seemingly named a son in his honor, and that particular son led directly to the greatest descendent of David in history!
  • Patriarchs and judges (32-34)

32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, 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,

  • At this point, Luke probably picks up from the genealogy pertaining to King David which is found at the end of the book of Ruth, and he (like Matthew) follows it perfectly, though in reverse order.  David’s whole family history is one of redemption and grace.  His great-great grandmother Ruth was an Edomite who by all expectations ought to have remained in Edom, or ought to have starved to death as a beggar when coming to Israel as widows with her mother-in-law.  Yet she was taken in by Boaz, as he redeemed her former family’s inheritance, and Boaz gave her a legacy of which she could have never imagined!
  • Among the patriarchs, Judah’s own legacy is mixed.  On one hand, he had to be forced to impregnate his own daughter-in-law in order for him to fulfill the levirate duties owed her (Gen 38) – and it was that lineage that led to Jesus.  On the other hand, Judah also provided a wonderful picture of the sacrificial substitution of Christ when Judah offered himself to be taken prisoner in Egypt in place of his brother (Gen 44).  Perhaps it was for this reason when Jacob/Israel gave an end-of-life blessing to him that Judah’s descendants would rule the rest of the nation, being praised by them, and from him the “scepter” would never depart (Gen 49:10).
  • Of course all the bloodlines of the Hebrews eventually trace back to Abraham, to whom God made the everlasting promise of a nation, the land, and a Messiah that would bless all the world (Gen 12:2-3).  It was here that Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus began, but Luke quickly passes through.  Why?  Remember there are different purposes.  Matthew showed Jesus as the ultimate Hebrew: the fulfillment of the Abrahamic & Davidic covenants & the ultimate King of Israel.  For Luke (himself a Gentile), he shows Jesus representing more than a single nation of the world, but all nations of the world.  Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross wasn’t only for the Jews; it was for all humanity in history.  That means Luke has to take the reader back to the dawn of humanity…
  • Creation & post-flood (35-38)

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 Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

  • Truly all of humanity can be traced back to two primary generations: Noah, and Adam.  It was the family of Noah that alone survived the global flood.  Noah and his three sons and their daughters were kept alive on the ark while the rest of the world population perished.  Rightly deserving the judgment of God, God literally poured it out upon the earth as waters gushed from the ground & rained from the sky for 40 days.  This was no children’s storybook version of a cute floating zoo; it was God’s righteous judgment – one sworn by Him never to be repeated as long as the earth remains (Gen 8:22).  There is coming a day in which His wrath will once again be poured out, but it will be the sign of the end.  Then, like today, hope is found only in one source: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – truly the ultimate Ark in which we are safely hid!
    • Of course Noah’s descendants went on through Shem (father of the “Semites”) all the way to Jesus, showing that even in the midst of God’s judgment, God’s plan of redemption was still underway.  Not even a global flood changed the plan of God for our salvation!
  • That plan was first made known in the first family, as Luke wraps up his list with Seth, Adam, and God.  Seth was not the first son of Adam, nor the second – his birth came in the wake of the first murder in history, when Cain (the eldest) killed Abel his younger brother.  Cain’s sin was his own, but even that came as a direct result of another sin: the first sin committed by Adam in the garden God made for him.  Deliberately disobeying a direct command from God, Adam took forbidden fruit from his wife who had been deceived by Satan, and he ate – instantly introducing death to his future & the future of all those who would come through him: everyone.  
    • This is what theologians call “federal headship.”  An entire group of people is represented under one person, the federal head at the top.  Adam, being the first of all humans, is humanity’s federal head.  When he sinned, he fell, and all of us fell with him.  He passed on to us (i.e. every generation that followed) the only thing he could: spiritual and physical death.
  • As bad as the results of Adam’s federal headship were for us, this is the whole point of Luke’s demonstration of Jesus going all the way back to Adam.  In Jesus, we have a new federal head.  In Jesus, we have a second Adam – a better-than-Adam, Who offers to humanity everything it was that the original Adam lost: peace and eternal life with God.  Speaking of the comparison between Adam and Jesus, Paul wrote: Romans 5:18–19, "(18) Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous."  The shorthand: in Adam, all sinned; in Christ, all can be made alive.  Life is found in the Head of humanity – life is found in Jesus!
  • As with Noah, when was this plan of God put into action?  It was always there.  When Adam sinned, God had an immediate answer.  Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”"  Before Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, God already voiced His plan to send a Human redeemer who would crush the head of the serpent that had deceived Eve.  Had God made up this plan on the spot?  No.  This was God’s plan from before the foundation of the world! (1 Pet 1:20)  When it came to our salvation, there was no “Plan B” – the plan was always Jesus.  Remember that God is omniscient – there is nothing He does not know.  God was not surprised by sin, nor was He somehow unaware that Adam would sin prior to forming him out of the dust.  God knew exactly what Adam would do, and He also knew precisely what Jesus would do to make it right.  This was His plan, from the very beginning.

That’s the point of the genealogy.  From the beginning, God had a plan to save the world.  God’s desire for the Jewish Messiah was far bigger than the nation of Israel – God’s plan of salvation would be made available to every human in every nation.  God put it in motion from the dawn of history, traced it through every successive generation, until finally it culminated in the announcement of Jesus at His baptism.  There, the human race could see its new federal head – they could see the Beloved Son of God making it possible for all men and women to once more be made the children of God.  Jesus is the ultimate Son of God, and He is the hope for all humanity!

Christian: when you read the family history of Jesus, don’t just skip the list – look deeper at the consistent plan of God through the ages.  God had a perfect design for Jesus, and carefully traced it through every generation, taking care of every detail along the way.  If God did that with Jesus – what does that say about what He does for us?  Is there any detail too difficult for God?  Is there any wrinkle that He cannot iron out?  Our God doesn’t get surprised – His plans for our lives aren’t thrown out of control.  What might look like chaos from our perspective are things God has always known, and for which His strength is readily available.  Trust God.  Trust the plan He has for your life, knowing that He has everything covered.

More importantly, trust God’s plan for Jesus.  Hardly anyone at the Jordan river that day had any clue Who was standing among them until the moment He stepped in the river and began to pray.  At that point, everyone knew.  God made it abundantly clear whom He had anointed, and who He favored.  At that point all eyes were upon Jesus, exactly as they were meant to be.  History had led to that point, and that’s where God wanted people to focus.

He still does.  Put your eyes back upon Jesus, God the Son fully empowered by God the Spirit and fully chosen by God the Father.  It can be easy for us as Christians to put our faith in Jesus for salvation, asking for the forgiveness of sin, and then go on with our lives business-as-usual.  It can be easy for us to put our trust in Him for the “big” things of life, leaving the everyday things to ourselves.  No more!  He is our all – He is our everything.  Jesus is the One upon whom our salvation rests, and to whom history points.  Look to Him for salvation, and keep looking to Him for everything else.


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