October 7, 2019

"God with Us," Just as We Are

Matthew 1

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The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,1 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,2 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos,3 and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,4 and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ5 took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed6 to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23   “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.


[1] 1:3 Greek Aram; also verse 4
[2] 1:7 Asaph is probably an alternate spelling of Asa; some manuscripts Asa; also verse 8
[3] 1:10 Amos is probably an alternate spelling of Amon; some manuscripts Amon; twice in this verse
[4] 1:12 Greek Salathiel; twice in this verse
[5] 1:18 Some manuscripts of the Christ
[6] 1:18 That is, legally pledged to be married

"God with Us," Just as We Are

Key Verse | Matthew 1:22-23

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).

Bio | David Hope

Howdy and good morning! My name is David, and I've been a member of Watermark for seven blessed years. At the time of writing, I serve in Crossroads45, Watermark's ministry for fourth and fifth graders. Just between us, I was pretty reluctant to get involved in both community and children's ministry; however, they quickly became two of the greatest blessings in my life!

When I'm not with my CG or fifth graders, I work as an accountant, enjoy time with my family, and attend trivia nights with my friends. Memorizing numbers and lists suits me—perfect for a genealogy passage!

Central Truth

Even in His birth and bloodline, Jesus does not shy away from sinners. The profound truth and great comfort of the gospel is that He has come to be "God with us" and to heal the wounds that we want to hide from Him.

Devotional | Matthew 1

Do you ever feel the need to hide your imperfections when you're around other people or thinking about God? I know I do. I've known God for years, but I still sometimes believe the lie that to be loved by...

Do you ever feel the need to hide your imperfections when you're around other people or thinking about God? I know I do. I've known God for years, but I still sometimes believe the lie that to be loved by Him I have to keep my ongoing struggle with sin out of sight.

However, the story of Jesus, starting in Matthew 1, immediately destroys that notion. Another name given to Jesus in this passage is Immanuel, "God with us." He is both God (shown through His prophesied lineage and conception), and He is "with us," born as a man to live among mankind.

Let's focus on the second half today—on Jesus being "with us." When we hear of Jesus' moral perfection, we can forget that He came in human form to draw near to us when we wouldn't and couldn't draw near to Him.  

Instead, Matthew tells a different story through the not-so-fresh fruit on Jesus' own family tree. At first, we just see familiar heroes of the Old Testament, more examples of unattainable greatness. But a closer glance shows a lot of the sin that we try to hide and that Jesus came to heal.

Here are a few examples:

• Jacob deceived multiple members of his family and spent years of his life on the run as a result.

• Judah stained this genealogy by sleeping with his daughter-in-law, believing her to be a prostitute. 

• David fathered a child by sleeping with his friend Uriah's wife and then ordering that Uriah be abandoned in battle so that he would be killed. 

• A host of kings in Jesus' line worshiped idols rather than God.

God even elects for Jesus to be born in humble circumstances and visited by shepherds whose work made them ceremonially unclean.

From His own birth, Jesus came to be close to sinners like us in spite of our sin. Instead of sitting on a moral mountaintop and beckoning us to climb up to Him, He came to meet us in our failure and bear our burden. In short, He is "God with us." What a wonderful truth! Whatever we've done, it doesn't scare the God who became man for our sake.

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you ever think God has distanced Himself from you because you're not perfect? Does Jesus' origin (along with the rest of His life) make you think differently? How about Romans 5:8?

2. Do you feel free to be honest with yourself, with God, and with peers/elders in your church about the sin in your life? If not, why? See James 5:16.

3. Is there an ongoing pattern of sin in your life that you haven't confronted and confessed, for which you haven't accepted forgiveness, or from which you haven't repented? See 1 John 1:9-10. If your answer is yes, consider Watermark's re:generation ministry; going through that healing process with you is the volunteers' specialty!

4. If you claim Jesus as Lord, are you prepared to draw near to and serve others in spite of their sin as Jesus did for you? See Ephesians 4:32.

9 Comments available

Jay Caruso 8 months ago

Thanks david for your devotional and taking the time to explain and express the love of Jesus. When I read question #2 if feel as the Holy Spirit is with in me I do not have a problem being honest with our lord and myself. Regen has made that possible thank you for that and the leaders involved

Chris Moseley 8 months ago

To answer your question 1, does having your prayers hindered = God distancing himself from you when you are less than perfect?

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

greg jones 8 months ago

Jesus of Nazareth the Galilean, from Ephraim in the time of the prophet Isaiah(ch7), was born in royal line of Judah. Matthew then tells us he is the Immanuel born of a virgin the sign from God to Ahaz in Isaiah’s prophecy.

Knowing their history and the prophets that the Immanuel of Isaiah comes from Ephraim would have been a twist for original readers and hearers of Matthew’s gospel. This twist in Matthew’s gospel would help explain the scenes of why Jesus associated with “sinners” and why it caused tension in Jerusalem among the Jews there.

Great central truth today. But, I think sometimes the profound truth of the gospel for others can cause a great tension within us. Or it does for me sometimes.

Michael Scaman 8 months ago

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the first convert in the promised land was a prostitute names Rahab and the first minor prophet was about Hosea and Gomer

Michael Scaman 8 months ago

Joseph is told not to worry because the baby was from the Holy Spirit and he was obviously in turmoil over an unknown sin by Mary … and was told the child would ‘save his people from their sins’

In Luke John the Baptist as a preborn would be full of the Holy Spirit from in the womb while Jesus as a reborn was called ‘the Holy Child’ (a stronger statement and consistent with Jesus being fully God and fully man).

Michael Scaman 8 months ago

There is also a curse on a man in Joseph’s genealogy in Jer 22:30 and an interesting discussion about that by Jews4Jesus at https://jewsforjesus.org/answers/the-problem-of-the-curse-on-jeconiah-in-relation-to-the-genealogy-of-jesus-issues-prophecy/

Sue Bohlin 8 months ago

Thank you, David! I love that we are in Matthew, having made The Journey from the Promised Land to the Promised King. All the references to the Kingdom of Heaven are in this book.

As a former Catholic taught to venerate Mary, I remember my wide-eyed response to today’s chapter which twice says that Joseph kept Mary a virgin until after Jesus’ birth. It’s a perfect example of how studying the scriptures blows apart non-biblical teachings like Mary’s perpetual virginity. I also remembering encountering Mary’s song in Luke 1 where she calls God her savior–another wide-eyed moment of learning that Mary was not a “sinless vessel” if she needed a Savior!

Lindsey Driscoll 8 months ago

David thank you for serving with watermark kids and teaching boys that God is truly Immanuel, he is with them! I’m stunned by the faithfulness of God to deliver Jesus as the rescue plan, just as he promised. I see Gods faithfulness In Matthew 1 through 42 generations, all sinners. Just like each of those in Jesus genealogy were sinners, so we too downline in Jesus family are sinners. Yet, he alone will “save his people from their sins.” (1:21).

Hugh Stephenson 8 months ago

GM David! I learned from JP to love genealogies. I’ll add to your list and note Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho and Ruth was a Moabite. It’s amazing that God’s net is cast over the whole earth. I love hearing stories of Muslims converting after dreaming of Jesus, of murderers coming to faith in prison and especially of broken-down alcoholics finally giving up and surrendering…

I love your point about Jesus as Immanuel. He comes to us as prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 and stays with us forever as promised in Matthew 28:20, (Boice).

Other than Immanuel my favorite name for Jesus is the Great Shepherd. I have been reading Phillip Keller’s book on Psalm 23. As a former shepherd he conveys the stunning parallel between the nature and character of rebellious, fearful sheep and their desperate need for a shepherd to guide and protect them.

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