Is the Promise Ruined?
Sometimes it seems like it’s the end of the world and Christmas is the worst time to feel this dread. Instead of celebrating with joy this Christmas, families can be plunged into grief, and in God’s true Christmas Story he doesn’t blank out the dark horror of death that can invade at any moment.
In 586 BC Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, not far from Bethlehem, was about to be destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, ruled the Ancient Near East. When Jerusalem resisted his power, he built siege works, starved them out, and then demolished their walls. His army stormed into the city killing thousands and deported the inhabitants.
Matthew refers to this "end of the world" event twice as he gives us the genealogy that proves that Jesus is the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Messiah. The first time that Matthew mentions the exile it looked like there was no hope. It looked like David's line had ended.
"Josiah generated Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon." Matthew 1:11
Jeconiah had been deported to Babylon. He was a slave, with only the haunting vision of Nebuchadnezzar's total victory. It looked like the Serpent had won, and that God's promise in Genesis 3:15 to send a great deliver had been broken. But then the King of Babylon released Jeconiah and gave him a place at his table. (2 Kings 25:27-30) The line of David was not done and so Matthew was able to write, "After the exile to Babylon, Jeconiah generated Shealtiel, and Shealtiel generated Zurubbabel." Matthew 1:12
Zurubbabel is the Davidic prince, Jeconiah's grandson, who seventy years after the deportation brought his people home to Jerusalem. This is the line that Matthew traces for the next four hundred years from 539 BC to 4/5 BC—the line that brings us to Joseph, a legal Davidic heir, and Mary's husband.
The Tax Collector's Christmas Story reminds us that in the most hopeless times God still keeps his promise.
Lord, comfort those who have lost loved ones during this holiday season. Thank you that your redemptive story includes times of hopeless despair and devastating loss, but also leads us to the restoration of your Son’s resurrection. Thanks for keeping your promise forever.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!