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"A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham." (Matthew 1:1)
Matthew begins his version of the good news by identifying Jesus as the long awaited Christ (Christ or Christos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Messiah which means "Anointed One"), the Messiah, the deliverer promised by God to Adam and Eve at the very beginning of time, right after they had sinned and eaten of the forbidden tree. They thought God condemned them and He was coming to kill them, but the exact opposite was true. In these ominous words to Satan, the one who tempted and caused them to fall, God not only foretold the coming of the Messiah, but of Satan's demise and our deliverance. "And I will put enmity between you (Satan, the serpent) and the woman (God's Bride, His people), and between your offspring and hers; He (The Messiah) will crush your head, and you (Satan) will [bruise - KJV] his heel." (Gen 3:15 NIV)
Have you been bruised? Hurt in some way? Were you born with some handicap or deformity? Have you been struck down with pancreatic cancer or a brain tumor? Has someone hurt your feelings or ruined your reputation by the stories they've spread? Are you struggling with some habit, weakness, or addiction that hurts you and everyone around you? The good news is that whatever the serpent, Satan, may do to you, however he may hurt you or suck you into relationships that hurt you, it's only a bruise, it's only temporary. Jesus, the seed of the Woman, "crushed" the head of the serpent when He died on Calvary, and with that act, He permanently delivered the deathblow to Satan. What is so amazing to me is that even though I know all this is true, we all still hold a degree of affection for the serpent and his seed (behaviors and relationships that bruise me), and we seem unable to shake off this affection and quit believing his lies, but the promise of God is, He will miraculously put hatred between us and Satan. Satan WAS crushed at Calvary! He IS defeated! I know a lot of us don't see it yet, and because so many of us don't see much victory or healing in our lives, we have trouble believing it. But it is true nevertheless. It will happen! Maybe here, maybe in heaven, but it will happen!
The Shower, the Elevator and the Potter's Wheel
Let me unpack that a bit. When you accepted Christ, you gave God permission to put you (metaphorically) into a shower, an elevator, or on a potter's wheel. If you will stay in the shower (In a committed relationship to God) He WILL get you clean - in His time, on His schedule. It doesn't matter how many times you drop the soap or even throw it down. If you will not leave the shower, "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." (Phil. 1:6) If you will stay in the elevator, God WILL take you to the top floor. Now this is a very fast elevator, so no matter how many times you fall, or how hard you fall, you are still going up, because you are IN the elevator - an irrevocable, committed relationship with Jesus. This is huge! If ...you... will... not... leave the elevator, "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." (Phil. 1:6) If you will stay on the Potter's wheel, God WILL mold you into a perfect vessel for Him to use. It doesn't matter how badly or often the clay is marred. If you will not get off of the wheel, "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." (Phil. 1:6) You may not see it yet. In fact, it may not all be complete till Jesus comes, but it WILL happen. Our decision to stay in the shower, in the elevator, or on the potter's wheel gives God permission to make us clean, take us to the top, or mold us into a perfect vessel. So just tell Him you're never going to leave, no matter what you do to Him or what you think He is doing to you. That gives Him permission to complete the work He began at the cross. We can do that!
The Bible is full of God's promises about this. 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" But wait a minute how can this be? I don't see very much "new," and the "old" is definitely not gone. I still see bad habits and attitudes - sins that haven't been conquered. But what does GOD say? He says if you have accepted Christ, you ARE a new creation. It doesn't matter whether you see it or not. It's true because He says so. Look back to verse 7 of this chapter. Paul says, we as Christians "live by faith and not by sight." Whether we see it or not, the old IS gone, the new HAS come! Because "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it!" (Phil 1:6) It's as good as done. Why? Because the next verse tells us: "All this is from God." (2 Cor. 5:18) This Messiah, Son of David, Son of Abraham IS God and He HAS crushed the head of the serpent. When Jesus died and declared, "It is finished," he wanted you to have peace, stay in the shower (in your faith-relationship Jesus), and know He'll take care of it. In the Old Testament God said it this way, "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness." (Malachi 3:3) God will purify us and the result will be our love gift/offering of righteousness.
Jesus, the Christ of Matthew 1:1, has crushed the head of Satan. He is defeated! So hang in there! Stay in the Shower!
Next week in "Grasping the Gospel" we ask, "Why does Matthew go out of his way to identify Jesus as the Son of Abraham and the Son of David?" We'll examine God's two-part plan to save us as revealed in His promise to these two great men. It's called, "Two Fathers, One Son."
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