As Christmas is coming, I think back to the first Christmas and the events that surrounded it. We often times think about just the final climax in the manger when Jesus Christ was born, shepherds came and herald angels were singing. I think though, because we are in the Advent season, I want to spend the next month thinking about what the events that transpired before Jesus’ birth foreshadow about the earth shattering changes that were about to take place. I actually believe that Advent teaches incredibly important messages to speak to our culture in 21st-century America.
I want to start with the importance of lineage. As you know, the book of Matthew begins with a genealogy of Jesus Christ that most of us skip over when we read Matthew if we are being honest. Although some people dispute whether or not this is a complete genealogy or more of a highlight reel if you will of Jesus’ ancestors, I’m not going to debate that topic today. The significance of this genealogy is that it traces a direct line from Abraham to Jesus.
As you will recall, Abraham’s promise in Genesis 17:16 speaks to the fact that Sarah will be the, “mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Isaac was Sarah’s only son, and his descendants became the nation of Israel, so the idea of multiple nations coming from Sarah does not really make sense. This passage is clearly referring to multiple people and nations coming from Sarah’s initial motherhood of one son. That is what caused David Platt to conclude in his commentary on Matthew, “Speaking of Abraham's line again in these verses, God says that God's kingdom will one day expand to all people groups.”
Coming back to the person of Jesus Christ then, this was not a random time and place for His arrival. Jesus was not born into the line of Abraham because God wasn’t really sure where to put Him. He was the one who fulfilled the prophecy from way back in Genesis.
We live in a culture that, perhaps more than any other in history, desires progress. Every generation has had this impulse, but our culture seems different in the sense that it is not nearly enough to move ahead to something different. It is not enough to start listening to rock and roll music and grow our hair long to form our own generational identity. Today, we want to not only create our own identity but simultaneously stigmatize anything that came before us as wrong. It is not a matter of making something obsolete but rather destroying the tradition from the foundation. We’re not only rebelling against something, but we are actively trying to destroy that which we are rebelling against.
Clearly, Matthew did not have that type of attitude towards tradition, and that different attitude makes all the difference in the world. Tradition matters because it was a tradition that God had established. Jesus was going to descend from the line of Abraham because that is what He promised. Just like a lot of other facts about the world that we see laid out in the Scripture, God tells us certain things are right while others are wrong. Some things are going to lead to good outcomes while others are not. Those traditions are important as well despite the fact that our culture wants to demolish them.
 David Platt, Exalting Jesus in Matthew (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary) (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), Kindle Locations 236-237, Kindle Edition.