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Saturday November 17 – Jesus fulfills Israel’s mission (2): The true son of Abraham

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. – Matthew 1:1

Scripture reading: Matthew 1:1-17

We saw yesterday that Matthew summarized Jesus’ message as being about the good news of the kingdom, thereby connecting Jesus’ identity and message with the story of Israel. Jesus came to fulfill everything God had promised to Israel.

Matthew also shows this connection by way of his genealogy. It can be tempting to skip over the long lists of names in the Bible, but they are always important. In this case, Matthew is teaching us that to understand Jesus, we need to understand the story that preceded Him. The names mentioned in his genealogy all bring to mind promises made, promises kept, and promises renewed, all yearning for fulfillment in Christ.

Most importantly, Matthew begins his genealogy with Abraham and summarizes the identity of Jesus as being “the son of David, the son of Abraham.” When the gospel would later go to the nations, Jewish believers would be tempted to think that this was instead of the gospel being for Israel. But because Jesus is a son of Abraham, we are reminded that the gospel is going to the nations because the gospel is for Israel.

Jesus came first for Israel and God’s promise to them, beginning with Abraham in Genesis 12, was that his family would bless the whole world. God blessed the nations through Jesus because that was God’s purpose for Israel all along. And in that way, Jesus was and is the true Son of Abraham.

Suggestions for prayer

Praise God for His faithfulness to His promises and for the glory of Christ as the true Son of Abraham, and pray that God would enable us to carry out that same mission as children of Abraham in Christ.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Nick Smith is pastor of the United Reformed Church of Nampa, Idaho.

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