Frank Retief was pastor at St James Church Cape Town for 31 years, having planted the church in 1968 with his wife Beulah. He became the Presiding Bishop of the Church of England in South Africa until he retired in 2010. Frank remains active in ministry through preaching, teaching, pastoral work & writing, and has authored a number of books.
An uncommon King – Part 1
Matthew Chapter 1 v 7 – 11
We now begin a series of reflections on the Christmas story, and we start with the few verses referred to above as a start. These bible verses are part of the introduction Matthew gives us to Jesus’ birth. He and Luke both give us a genealogy of Jesus.Genealogies were important in ancient times to prove where people came from to validate their claims to certain privileges. It was important for Jesus to be born of the line of David, so that all ancient prophecies about the Messiah could be fulfilled, and indeed both Matthew and Luke proved exactly that.Christians claim that Jesus Christ is God’s king of all creation and that the glory of His kingship will finally be seen by all when He returns. It was imperative in those days for kings to have water-tight pedigrees to go with their status and privilege. But our king, the Christian’s king was an uncommon king. He was different in so many ways and some of those ways may be observed in the genealogy referred to above.Four of the ancient kings of Israel are mentioned above, cause us to pause and reflect. They are:
Rehoboam: 1 Kings 12 – 14
Joram: 2 Kings 8 and 2 Chronicles 21
Amon: 2 Chronicles 33 v 21 – 25
Jechoniah (also called Jehoiachim): 2 Chronicles 36 v 9 – 10
What was unusual about them? They were all extremely wicked people. They were evil kings yet here they appear in our Lord’s genealogy. This teaches us amongst other things how sinful and corrupt the human heart is. Grace does not always run in families. In spite of godly forebears and the presence of prophets to guide them, those kings behaved sinfully and brought great trouble upon the nation.
It also teaches us how great the mercy and grace of Jesus is, to condescend to be born of a woman, who like all of us was a sinner. Reckoned to be the son of Joseph he came from the kingly line of David, but some of his forebears were total failures.
Godly and privileged though Mary was, she would herself, need her Son to be her Saviour. She was merely the instrument God used, so that the Word could become flesh.
This is amazing. Think about these things.
Meditation: The God who made the heavens, in Mary’s womb? The coming king of Israel, with such wicked forbears? Unthinkable, but it happened. Do not marginalize Jesus! He condescended greatly to save you.