As we anticipate the Christmas season, we must keep our focus on why we celebrate the holiday. We rejoice at the reality that Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, came to earth. This is known as the Incarnation. Jesus’ coming to earth should not have come as a surprise. From Genesis 3 throughout the Old Testament, there is a hope for the promised seed to come (see Genesis 3:15). The promises of God to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and King David (2 Samuel 7) are still waiting to see their complete fulfillment. For this reason, Matthew begins his gospel account by listing the genealogy of Jesus Christ (1:1). Genealogies in the Bible tend to get overlooked and are often passed over. However, it is important to remember God has placed them there for a reason. We see in Matthew 1 God is showing how the promise He has made is coming to fruition in Jesus Christ. There is not time to go through the entire genealogy right here, but Matthew 1:17 sums it up for us, “So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.” The point is there had been a long-awaited promise. Jesus Christ was the expected One. Since Genesis 3, humanity had been looking for an ultimate deliverer to save them. Although Abraham and David were faithful men, they fell short like everybody else (Romans 3:23). Within their family line, though, the Ultimate Deliverer would come. Nobody could save themselves from the judgment and wrath of God but One was to come who would become a substitute for sinful humanity (Isaiah 52-53). The One was Jesus. He lived the perfect life humanity had not, He died on the cross in their place, and He rose again to ensure our reconciliation with God. The promise of His coming saturates the pages of the Old Testament and extends to the New Testament, like here in Matthew 1. The reason we celebrate Christmas can be summed up in three statements: Christ with us, Christ as us, and Christ for us. The Incarnation reminds us Christ came to earth. In order to die in our place, Christ came as one of us. Yes, He was fully divine but He was also fully human. That is why He could be our substitute, and that is what we learn in “Christ for us”. Christ came for us, to save us and reconcile us back to God. So, this Christmas season, meditate on Christ’s incarnation and thank the Lord He is a promise-making and a promise-keeping God!
- How does the promise of God cause you to spend this season with joy in your heart and life?
- Read Genesis 12 and 2 Samuel 7. Meditate on how these two passages, as well as other Old Testament sections, promise the gospel.