SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 2 – 8, 2020
AIM: After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to (1) Recall key names in the lineage of Jesus; (2) explain why Jesus’ heritage was central to his mission on earth; (3) state a way to improve acknowledgement of his or her spiritual heritage in Jesus.
The fact that we have a genealogy of Jesus Christ establishes an important truth: our faith is rooted in history, not in myth or legend. There are two different genealogies in the New Testament, one in Matthew and the other in Luke. Matthew, written to the Jews, starts at Abraham goes forward to the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17). Luke, written primarily to the Gentiles (Luke 3:23-38), goes backwards from Jesus, not just to Abraham but all the way back to Adam.
Most people believe Matthew is recording the line of Joseph. Matthew shows that Jesus was legally in the kingly line of David. There are thirty-nine “begats” in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus but the most important one is the one that is NOT there! Matthew is careful not to make the claim that Jesus was the biological son of Joseph. He chooses his words very carefully when he says, “Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” By saying “of whom Jesus was born” – showing that Joseph was not the physical father of Jesus. Still it was important that Jesus be shown to have legal claim to the throne of David through the father’s side, and this was true because he was “legally” Joseph’s oldest son. So, Matthew established the legal claim to the throne Jesus had.
Secondly, and this is the greatest point – there were outcasts in His genealogy. Since Matthew is a Jew writing the genealogy of Jesus to a Jewish audience to prove that Jesus was their king, you would think he would go out of his way to show that Jesus’ family tree was without any shame or embarrassing relatives. But the Bible doesn’t keep the door shut on the skeletons in the family closets of its heroes. Even when it comes to tracing the ancestry of the Messiah, God shows us the unsavory characters in the family line.
Matthew 1:1-6 (NKJV)
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.
3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.
4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.
5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,
6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.
Matthew 1:16-17 (NKJV)
16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
The cast of characters in the lineage of Jesus consists of some of the greatest people of the Bible. On Joseph’s side: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Boaz, David, Solomon, and Zerubbabel. On Mary side: Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah are listed to just name a few. You would expect that. It’s no surprise that great people were used by God to achieve the greatest moment in history, the birth of the Messiah, the Lamb of God who would save the world from its sins.
- What important lessons can we learn from this passage. . .
- These are ordinary men and women like us
- We also understand that God uses people like you and me for His divine purposes.
- The Jewish genealogies generally named only the fathers but Mathew broke the tradition. Why? To teach us that God is not limited by our traditions and petty prejudices
- He is not into tribal or racial issues, no white or black; no rich or poor; We are all equal before God.
- God is ready to use any willing person – Man or woman.
(2) Matthew’s genealogy establishes Jesus as the fulfillment of both the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants. Jesus’ lineage proves his earthly identity supports his rightful place as heir to the throne of David.
(3) Let’s take a closer look into the lives of the four women in the family tree of Jesus and see what lessons we can learn from them:
- Tamar – a rejected and forsaken woman – (Tamar was forsaken by the people she trusted to love her, Genesis 38:1-30).
Lesson: Some of us have been by-passed and forgotten by those who should love us most. We often feel forsaken because the people who should have cared for us have abused and abandoned us. . .
Good News! The forsaken is remembered!
- Rahab – A Canaanite woman – (A woman with a sordid past and uncertain future. She was a prostitute, Joshua 2:1-16).
Lesson: Your past is immaterial, all God wants is your availability!
Good News! Christ came into our world of hopelessness to give us hope and joy in place of sorrow, healing and life in place of sickness and death.
- Ruth – (The Moabite – a foreigner to the commonwealth of Israel and a young widow, Ruth 1:1-18).
Lesson: She took up a new citizenship through marriage, accepted the God and the people of Naomi. This is similar to our spiritual heritage. Good News: We can accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, accept the country of Jesus which is heaven; accept His people who are born again and you are on your way to victory!
- Bathsheba -the wife of Uriah – (The woman exploited by a king and lost her husband, 2 Samuel 11:1-9).
Lesson: God sees all, knows all and yet He still loves us and will bless us!
Good News: God is not like man and hold our past against us. The past stays in the past!!
When one takes a closer look at all of the characters that are listed in the ancestry of Jesus, there are some unlikely people included in the list. But, even the great heroes had strikes against them:
- Abraham lied.
- Jacob stole.
- Moses disobeyed.
- Miriam criticized.
- Samson lusted.
- Peter cursed.
- John wanted to call down fire on unbelievers.
We ALL fall short of the glory of God!
- No one is smart enough.
- No one is impressive enough.
- No one is without some shame, failure, brokenness, inability, or lack of credentials.
Romans 3:23 (KJV) – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Ephesians 2:9 (KJV) – Not of works, lest any man should boast.
- The genealogy is divided into three divisions of fourteen generations each.
- The threefold division is explained by Matthew in 1:17.
- The first division is the generations from Abraham to David, including Abraham as the first in the line of promise and culminating in David as the king.
- The second group of fourteen are kings who trace the line from David to Jeconiah
- And the third division, the continuity of the line through the captivity to Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 1:1-5 (NKJV)
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?
- God is Great and God is Good
- Spoke – God spoke. . .
- To Adam and told him that the Savior would come from the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15)
- To Abraham and told him that the Savior would come from his seed (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18)
- To Jacob and told him that the Savior would come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10)
- To David and told him that the Savior would be born of his house (2 Samuel 7:13)
- To Micah and told him that the Savior would be born at Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
- To Isaiah and told him that the Savior would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
God spoke in different way – He spoke to. . .
- Moses in a great thundering voice in the midst of a storm (Exodus 19:19; Deuteronomy 5:22)
- Elijah by a still small voice (I Kings 19:12)
- Isaiah in a vision (Isaiah 1:1)
- Samuel in a dream (I Samuel 3:5)
- Supreme spokesman of God
- Sustainer of the universe
- Jesus Christ is the appointed heir of all things. . .
- Jesus Christ inherited all power in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18)
- Jesus Christ inherited the authority to execute all judgment upon men. (John 5:22)
- Jesus Christ inherited the Lordship over both the dead and the living (Romans 14:9)
- Jesus Christ inherited the whole universe: a new heaven and earth and a new world capital. (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1-2, 23-26)
- Jesus Christ inherited all government – an eternal government. (Isaiah 9:6-7; Hebrews 1:8)
- Jesus Christ inherited all power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing. (Revelation 5:22)
- Jesus Christ inherited a name above every name and every knee shall be bowed before Him vindicating His claim to be both Lord and Savior. (Php. 2:9-10)
PRAYER PRINCIPLE: Thank God for the gift of salvation that permits us to be heirs with Christ.
SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE: Share with others that their genealogy has nothing to do with their future in Christ.
EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE: Let others know that regardless of their past, their present can be made perfect by acceptance of Christ as Lord and their future is guaranteed to be everlastingly eternal.
STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE: By giving, you are providing a means for someone else to become an heir with Christ.
DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE: Just as Christ had a spotty genealogy; our past does not determine our future; remain connected come what may.
NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Call Him Who You Know Him to Be
NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT: Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 5:7; Exodus 3:7-8a; John 3:16; 1 John 3:1; Romans 5:8; John 1:29-34; 1 John 5:20; John 20:28; Matthew 27:54; John 14:9-10; Exodus 3:13-14; John 8:58; Matthew 28:5-7, 20; John 11:41-44; Mark 4:35-41; 1 Corinthians 15:19; Psalm 46:1; Hebrews 13:5; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 46:4; Matthew 6:25-33; Philippians 4:19; Deuteronomy 31:6; Isaiah 43:1-3; Psalm 103:8-14; John 13:1; Ephesians 1:4-5; Romans 15:7; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:6-7; Matthew 11:28-29; John 16:33; John 14:27