Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the birth of Christ. Because the birth of Christ is altogether a mystery, it is difficult to talk about it. First, we need to consider some matters related to the preparation for Christ’s birth.
The birth of Christ was prepared and carried out by God’s sovereignty (1:18; Luke 1:26-27). By His sovereignty, God brought Joseph and Mary together in marriage to bring forth Christ to be the legal heir to the throne of David. Marriage is a mystery. It is not easy to bring two persons together, especially when it concerns the birth of Christ. It was not a simple matter to bring Joseph and Mary together. Look into the history here. According to the genealogy of Christ in Matthew, Joseph was a descendant of Zerubbabel, a returned captive. Zerubbabel, a leader of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of the royal family, led the captives from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:2). Eventually, he also took the lead in rebuilding the temple (Ezra 3:8; 5:2). Joseph was his descendant. If there had been no return of the captives, where would Joseph have been born? He would have been born in Babylon. The same would have been true for Mary, also a descendant of the returned captives. If the forefathers of Joseph and Mary had remained in Babylon and if both Mary and Joseph themselves had been born there, how could Jesus have been born of Mary in Bethlehem? Now we can see God’s sovereignty in bringing back the forefathers of Joseph and Mary.
By His sovereignty, God placed both Joseph and Mary in the same city, Nazareth (Luke 1:26; 2:4). If they had lived far away from each other, it would have been difficult for them to come together in marriage. Joseph and Mary not only were descendants of the returned captives, but also lived in the same little town. This allowed them to come together in marriage.
Furthermore, when we examine the genealogies in Matthew and Luke, we discover that Joseph was a descendant of the royal line, the line of Solomon (v. 6-7), and Mary was a descendant of the common line, the line of Nathan (Luke 3:31). Although Joseph and Mary came together in marriage, Jesus was born of Mary, not of Joseph. Apparently, He was born of Joseph; actually, He was born of Mary (1:16). This was absolutely a matter of God’s sovereignty.
As we have seen in a previous message, the curse recorded in Jeremiah disqualified any descendant of Jeconiah from inheriting the throne of David (Jer. 22:28-30). If, in actuality, Jesus had been born of Joseph, He would have been disqualified from the throne of David. Because Joseph was still in the royal line, he was a royal descendant according to man’s eyes. By the marriage of Mary, Jesus’ mother, with Joseph, Jesus was apparently associated with this royal line. Again, we see God’s sovereignty. God found a young woman, also the descendant of David, to bring forth Christ. Jesus was born of her and was actually the seed of David qualified to inherit the throne of David.
By this sovereign arrangement, Jesus was both an ordinary person and the heir of the royal throne. This is the reason He has two genealogies, one in Luke, telling us of His common status, and another in Matthew, telling us of His royal status. His common status came from Mary, and His royal status came from Joseph. Thus Jesus was born by God’s sovereignty. None of us was born under this kind of God’s sovereignty. None of us was born under this kind of sovereignty. Only Jesus was qualified to enjoy such a sovereign arrangement.
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