So I don’t usually respond to any of the comments that I receive on the back of sermons, well not in any public sense. But this time I feel the need. Not in any way to simply correct others but rather to help us to stand together amazed in the wonder of the gospel of Christ.
I preached on Sunday morning that the Christ would come from the lineage of David. This was a promise that God had made to David, God binding Himself in covenant (Ps 89: 29). And since God cannot lie, then the Christ had to come from that lineage. So Ray McLaughlin in the ‘Reformed Perspectives Magazine’ said this, ‘The Son of God had no inherent right to be the Messiah.’ God had bound Himself to David in covenant and He must be faithful. Thus far every bible believer is happy and content.
The thrust of my sermon was a desire to display the significance of Joseph in the light of God’s over-arching story of redemption, which centres upon His Son Jesus, who was and is the Christ. Joseph’s part was to take Mary as his wife, and, ‘to adopt’ her son as his own. This is what is happening through his naming of the child in Matthew 1: 21 and 25 (cp Is. 43: 1). Now in the same chapter it is Joseph who is clearly identified as belonging to the house of David (Mthw 1: 20). As he is in Luke’s gospel too (Lk 1: 27). So my point was that through ‘adoption’ Jesus is engrafted into the lineage of David.
But the strange thing has been the response from several folks. It almost seems as if adoption isn’t enough. The suggestion being that adoption wouldn’t have given Jesus the full rights of a child born naturally as others in the house of David. Instead of believing in the wonder and security of what adoption means we almost feel compelled to find another way in which Jesus came to be in the lineage of king David.
So the comment I have heard several times since Sunday expressed in a rich variety of different ways has been this one, ‘You must remember that it wasn’t just Joseph who was from the line of David so was Mary.’ Now quite aside from the fact that lineage is traced through the male line, this idea of Mary being from the lineage of David does beg a simple question to be asked; ‘How do we know Mary is from the house of David?‘ In actual fact do we even now what tribe she is from?
Many folk I’ve asked this question to have simply ‘assumed’ she is from the house of David. When asked why, the response has been along the lines of, ‘Well doesn’t it say that in the bible somewhere?’
Actually, no it doesn’t. Yes, we can make suggestions based on the differing genealogies in Luke and Matthew, but, we cannot even be certain about the tribe to which Mary belonged. But, some may counter, how else could Jesus be the Christ who is promised to come from the line of David? And that is the point that is concerning me. After all don’t we believe that adoption is enough to secure all the rights of full sonship? You see this is getting right to the heart of the gospel itself.
If we don’t believe adoption is enough in regard to Jesus becoming the Christ, then how on earth can we ever believe that adoption is enough in regard to us becoming the children of God. By faith we have received the spirit of adoption by which we cry out Abba Father.
If I can believe He, Jesus, is the Christ through adoption into the lineage of David, and that is enough. Then surely, I can believe that through the adoption of the Spirit I am placed into the very family of God, really and truly. With all the privileges of a real son that the gospel of justification brings. He was adopted into the family of King David that we by faith might be adopted into the family of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Isn’t the Christmas story just awesome!!??