Christ’s Journey through history, Christ’s Journey to the Cross, Christ’s Journey into our lives.
(1) Christ’s Journey through history
Before we even reach the opening chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, the Old Testament proclaims this message of hope: Christ is coming. The journey through the Old Testament paves the way for the coming of Christ. The first 17 verses of Matthew’s Gospel gives us a brief outline of Old Testament history as a preparation for the coming of Christ. These verses present us with a family tree. It’s not particularly interesting reading. For this reason, these verses are often overlooked. There are, however, important lessons which we must not miss! Here are two interesting names in Christ’s family tree - Rahab (Matthew 1:5) and Solomon (Matthew 1:6). Who was Rahab? - a prostitute! Who was Solomon? - a child born out of an adulterous relationship! How did they get into Christ’s family tree? Was there some kind of mistake? - No! It must be stresses that the names of Rahab - a - prostitute - and Solomon - the child of an adulterous relationship - are found in Christ’s family tree so that we might learn that the love of God is greater than the sin of man. God forgives sinners! God restores the fallen. This is the message proclaimed to us by the inclusion of Rahab - the prostitute - in Christ’s family tree. God gives a new beginning. This is the message proclaimed to us by the inclusion of Solomon - the son of an adulterous relationship - in Christ’s family tree.with the “meek soul”. Let us not think that Christ is brash and insensitive. He does not disregard our temperament and personality. He does not ignore our natural feelings. He does not take delight in embarrassing us.
The circumstances can be so ordinary, yet the new birth is a miracle!
(2) Christ’s Journey to the Cross
God restores the fallen. God gives a new beginning. These lessons are emphasized even more strongly when we turn our attention to Christ’s Journey to the Cross.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, there is the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day. These religious leaders were so proud of themselves, so proud of their religion, so proud of their morality.
One instance of this conflict concerned “a woman caught in the very act of adultery” (John 8:3).”The scribes and the Pharisees” despised the poor woman. They were arrogant in their condemnation of her - “this woman has been caught in the very act of adultery” (John 8:4). They brought the woman to Jesus for one reason only. They brought her to Jesus for condemned. Jesus, however, did not condemn her. No condemnation! Forgiveness! This is the Good News of God’s grace.
The scribes and the Pharisees saw the woman as a no-hoper. She was beyond hope - so they thought! They wanted to stone her.
With one simple yet devastating sentence, Jesus exposed their hypocrisy: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). With the strikingly simple and devastatingly direct sentence, Jesus brought the proud accusers down to earth - “when they heard it, they went away, one by one” (John 8:9) .
Jesus was left alone with the woman. He did not condemn her, but He did say to her, “Do not sin again” (John 8:9-11).
This conflict continued throughout Jesus’ life as He made His way to the Cross. The scribes and the Pharisees sent Christ - the sinless Son of God - to the Cross. There Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them …".
(3) Christ’s Journey into our lives
This is beautifully described in the words of the Christmas carol, “O little town of Bethlehem”:
“How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”
Jesus’ way is so unlike the way of the world. He is not demonstrative. He is not showy. He does not make a fuss. There is nothing spectacular about His way with us. There is nothing sensational about His entrance into our lives.
The world, obsessed with the dramatic, might say of Jesus’ way, “How cold! How unexciting! How uneventful! How unimpressive!” Let us not be preoccupied with outward appearances. Let us recognize the presence of Christ in the quiet way - “No ear may hear His coming.” This is Christ’s way.