By RANDY WHITE, D.Min.
Founder and CEO
(Part 2 of a Series—Two Essential Men: John and Joseph; Read Part 1)
We began looking at Luke 1 last time in order to learn more about two men who were selected by God to play critical roles in the unfolding of the first Advent of our Lord. These men are John—the only one who could be the legitimate forerunner of the Messiah—and Joseph—the only one who could be the legitimate earthly father of our Lord.
Through this act intended “to fulfil all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15), Jesus appears to have been endorsing John as the last legitimate high priest, who had the ability to ordain Jesus by means of baptism (a ceremonial washing to fulfill the law of the priesthood), which initiated Christ into a priesthood “after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 5:6).
God had made provision for John to serve as the forerunner of Christ, to “prepare the way” (Mal. 3:1) for him, in “the fulness of the time” (Gal. 4:4). No one else could have taken up this role, which was reserved for John. This is the marvelous work of God within history, in which He even perfectly preserves the genealogical lines, as seen in our next passage as we shift our focus to the second of these two men—Jesus’ earthly legal father, Joseph.
The last legitimate Jewish king in the Old Testament history of Judah was Jeconiah, who was taken to Babylon in the captivity in 597 B.C. (cf. 2 Kings 24:8-17; 2 Chron. 36:9-10; Matt. 1:11-12). His son Shealtiel (cf. 1 Chron. 3:17) never ruled, but rather lived his entire life in exile. In the following generation, Zerubbabel served as the political leader to guide the first wave of return from the captivity (cf. Ezra 2:2). Again, he would have been king under normal circumstances, but was forced to settle for this lesser and much more arduous office. The kingdom of Israel was—for the moment—completely set aside.
None of the other men listed in verses 13-15 had the opportunity to be king either, even though they were rightful heirs to the throne.
All of this brings us to Joseph.
This is not only a testimony to the virgin birth of Christ, but also reveals something that eludes most of us as Gentiles. It is detailed in Jeremiah 22:24-30. Here the prophet pronounces God’s curse upon Coniah (Jeconiah), including the exile into Babylonian Captivity which was prophesied for him “and his seed” (Jer. 22:28). He would be, in effect, “childless” (Jer. 22:30).
In Matthew 1, however, we see that Jeconiah did indeed have descendants—down to and including Joseph, the next in line to be the rightful heir to the throne of Judah.
By virtue of his engagement to Mary, Joseph transferred the kingship to his adopted son. Physically, Jesus was a descendant of David through the line of Mary.
A son of David would sit upon the throne of Judah, although he would not be the son of Joseph.
In God’s mind and God’s timing, the last legitimate priest and king of Judah came along at the perfect time to transfer the priesthood and the kingdom to Jesus Christ—the “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:16).
God’s plan of salvation was coming to fruition through the birth of His eternal Son.
As we move through this Christmas season, will you take time to consider the depth of meaning which this plan has for your life? Have you received God’s greatest gift of salvation through His Son?
He who came once as a baby to grow up and die on the cross for our sins, as our Savior, will return to sit on the throne of David and reign forever.
This is the message of a famous hymn by Isaac Watts that we often sing at Christmas—even though the words of this song really apply to the second coming of Christ. That hymn is called, “Joy to the World.”
This is fitting because as we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we also look ahead, by faith, to His return
May the joy that is described in those lyrics truly become yours this Christmas through faith in Christ, our great high priest and our coming king.
“Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
Editor’s Note: This blog article is taken from the following sermon, which you can watch in its entirety here: