Resolve to focus your life on Jesus. The Bible is all about Jesus. The New Testament opens with his family tree.
As we read the list of Jesus’ ancestors, it is encouraging to see that they include Tamar (the adulteress), Rahab (the prostitute), Ruth (the non-Jewish Moabite), Solomon (who was conceived after King David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba), as well as many others. Thankfully, God uses sinful human beings and, therefore, can use us. Whatever your past, however broken your life may seem right now, God can use you to do something great with your life.
The very name ‘Jesus’ means, ‘he will save his people from their sins’ (v.21). Every time we use the name Jesus it reminds us that our greatest need is not for happiness or contentment (although these may both be by-products). Our greatest need, as with Jesus’ ancestors, is for forgiveness. Therefore, we need a Saviour.
The beginning of Matthew shows us that Jesus is the completion of all that is recorded in the Old Testament:
- Jesus is the climax of historyMatthew opens his Gospel by summarising the Old Testament story in terms of Jesus’ ancestry (vv.1–17). The Old Testament tells the story that Jesus completes. Matthew sets out the history of the people of God in terms of three equal periods: fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile and fourteen from the exile to Christ (v.17).In the genealogy, biological generations are skipped over (as was quite common in Old Testament family trees). Matthew was pointing out that Old Testament history falls into three approximately equal spans of time between crucial events. Jesus is the end of the line as far as the Old Testament story goes – the climax has been reached.
- In Jesus, all the promises of God are fulfilledJesus is not only the completion of the Old Testament story at a historical level, he is also the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies and all of God’s promises.Matthew concludes each of five scenes from the conception, birth and early childhood of Jesus by quoting the Hebrew Scriptures that have been ‘fulfilled’ by the events described (Matthew 1:22–23; 2:5–6,17,23; 4:14–16).The first one is the fulfilment in the conception of Jesus: ‘All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)’ (1:22–23).
All of history, prophesy and promise, is completed in Jesus. Your whole life is completed in Jesus. Every part of your life: your work, family, relationships, friends, memories and dreams are completed in Jesus.
Lord, thank you for this promise for the new year – that, in Jesus, you are with me. Help me to focus my life on you in the year ahead.