In July our nation welcomed the arrival of Prince George. This royal baby, who is third in line to the throne, will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. As well as being an established regal name, George is also a saint’s name. St George was an early Christian martyr and is the patron saint of England. There have been six King Georges up to now, most recently the Queen’s father.
Over 2000 years ago the angels heralded the birth of Jesus Christ. In contrast to the media hype associated with the birth of Prince George, this ‘royal’ baby did not come amidst the pomp and glory that one associates with a royal birth. He was born in a stable with a cattle feeding trough for his bed. Yet he was the King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah, God’s anointed One had come. This King is the heir to the Davidic throne. For this reason, Matthew’s gospel in particular emphasizes how Jesus is the son of David. Why is the existence of a royal line so important to God’s plans? First, when God responds to the wilful disobedience of Adam and Eve, God in an act of profound grace, promises that the Serpent will eventually be overcome by the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15). After this, the identity of the woman’s offspring is intimately linked to the special family line at the heart of Genesis. Having led astray the divinely appointed royal couple, Genesis fittingly anticipates that the Serpent (elsewhere identified as Satan or the Devil) will be overthrown by a future King who is fully obedient to God.Second, building on this expectation, the patriarchal stories in Genesis introduce the idea that the nations of the earth will be blessed through Abraham and his offspring. We see this most clearly in Genesis 22:17-18. God makes this tremendous promise to Abraham, ‘And your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.’ While the actual designation Messiah is never used in Genesis, the entire book anticipates that through the offspring of the woman, the Evil One will be defeated and God’s blessing will come to the nations of the earth.
Matthew’s genealogy is a family tree of Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God incarnated as the Son of Man. Matthew wrote his gospel primarily to the Jews.The purpose of this genealogy is to prove to Jewish readers that Jesus of Nazareth as the seed of Abraham and the son of David was the long-awaited Messiah. The genealogy further teaches us that Christ entered the stream of humanity for all people — Jews and Gentiles alike. The Creator became incarnate. ‘He made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men’ (Phil. 2:7). The mystery is that he took on human flesh and human nature and yet did not sin. Matthew’s genealogy reveals both the faithfulness of God in keeping his promises, and his mercy ‘unto all, and upon all them that believe’ (Rom. 3:22). The promised Messiah has come in the fullness of time, he is given the name Jesus because he has come to ‘save his people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:21) His name is the embodiment of his mission. His name is the only name in which there is salvation for sinful men and women (Acts 4:12).
In regard to the significance of Christ coming in the royal line, Joel Beeke writes: All of us, without exception, are depraved, corrupt, and full of wickedness. We are all sons of fallen Adam — and heirs of corruption. Christ’s genealogical register is a record of our guilt, our shame, our lost state, our origin, our humiliation. It raises the question, who can break the terrible cycle of sin? “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Thanks be to God, Jesus broke the repeating cycle of human sin by identifying with and saving wretched sinners like us. Out of love He rescues us, makes us holy and acceptable in God’s sight, renews and transforms us, and will never let us fall away again and be lost to Him. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Tim. 1:15).
Christ became like us in all things but sin. His name is Immanuel, “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). He was and is Godthe Son from eternity past, at every point in His earthly ministry, and unto eternity future. He was God even as He hung on the accursed cross and was broken as our substitute and atoning sacrifice. Having taken our sins upon Himself, He became a curse for us, and endured our punishment, so He is God for us. Having taken our nature upon Himself and having lived in the world as we must live, tempted at all points as we are, He is God with us. He understands and knows us; He humbled Himself so completely that He became both our Saviour and our elder brother. Graciously He offers Himself to us and asks of us no more than that we believe in Him and seek Him with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ (Table talk Magazine, January 2008) How will you respond to the coming, reigning King? hem at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (Matthew 19:4,5; Genesis 2:24)
Contrary to the beliefs of many in our society, mar¬riage is not some arbitrary idea concocted by man¬kind and thus able to be structured in any way that we see fit. Rather, marriage is instituted by God Himself for our benefit and for His glory. Societies, like build¬ings, need firm foundations. It is dangerous indeed to tamper with the foundations of any building. In our present troubled and broken country it is an act of criminal folly to undermine an institution which has not only has proved its worth through the centuries in our society but is directly mandated by God.
The first marriage is found in Genesis. This is the tem¬plate for all subsequent marriages and the standard by which they are to be judged. God created a man and a woman who were to have and raise children. In Genesis 2:24 we read that man and woman are to come together in marriage as one flesh. This reflects God’s intention in creating men and women and shows the basic non-negotiable ingredients of mar¬riage, a sacred covenant between one man and one woman in intimate physical union. Like all other cove¬nants, it is governed by God’s commands for the sake of His glory, and this glory is displayed as husband and wife are faithful to God’s design for marriage
Following and obeying God’s commands is the path of blessing both individually and nationally. Our na¬tion is intent on flying in the face of God’s law. In the redefining of marriage, our national government is seeking to do that which is right in its own eyes and in effect saying, ‘there is no God that we should obey him’. The Scriptures declare that: ‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good’ (Psalm 14:1).
This legal enactment of this abomination will bring the judgment of God upon our nation. In these dark days of moral and spiritual decline in our nation, God’s people need to lay hold upon God and claim the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14, ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble them¬selves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land’.
Editorial by the Director of Ministry