Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5
Thesis: The background of Messiah must be understood, but so also must the distinction be understood -- so that He is a genuine "Savior".
Introduction: As we saw last week, Luke deliberately focused upon Joseph, as a son of Bethlehem, in his record to Theophilus. By so doing, he pulled up the primary issues of two questions: what kind of "life" is most critical? and what kind of "bread" has the power to sustain that life? This is what I am going to call "background building". Luke was powerfully interested in Theophilus' comprehension of the crucial issues involved in "faith in Jesus". This morning we are going to do some more investigating into both the "background building" and the more critical issue that we must take to heart if Jesus is really going to be to us a "Savior". Our focus of attention this morning will be upon Joseph and Mary as the two primary players in the Bethlehem-birth of Jesus. We shall consider why Luke put Joseph into the "family" of David and why he referred to Mary as "her that had been espoused to him".
January 16, 2005
- I. The Issue of the "Family of David".
- A. Luke's choice of the term translated "family".
- 1. It is a word that is only used three times in the entire New Testament.
- 2. It is technically unnecessary to connect Joseph to David as 1:27 reveals.
- 3. It is a word which specifically addresses "genetic ties"...those "in" the household who are "blood-connected" (this excludes imports into the household from without -- wives, concubines, and servants).
- B. Luke's intent was to tie Joseph specifically to David.
- 1. This intention has specific roots...
- a. For "Joseph" to have his impact, he had to be "connected" to the Joseph of the Genesis record.
- 1) This was the only way the "Messiah ben Joseph" concept could take root.
- 2) This was the only way the "famine/bread" issues could raise the critical questions of regarding the true identity of "life" and "bread" and give the proper answers -- life consists of a reconciled relationship with God and the One who administers that reconciliation is the True Bread of heaven.
- b. But, once Joseph serves to surface the "Joseph connection", he must be seen, not as a son of the Old Testament Joseph, but as a son of David.
- 1) Luke is adamant that this Joseph, husband of Mary, was "of David".
- a) He refers to the "house of David" twice in chapter one (1:27 and 69).
- b) He refers to "David" twice in 2:4.
- 2) The Old Testament background for this deliberate distinctiveness in Luke 2.
- a) In the Old Testament record, Joseph was...
- i. The late-begotten, first-born son of the most-beloved wife.
- ii. The most-beloved son in a house of twelve sons.
- iii. The major point of contention in an inner-family war over who was going to get to "shine".
- iv. The primary servant of Yahweh to bring about "the reconciliation of the family".
- v. The rejected source of Yahweh's "Kingdom Plans"...Joseph was not the chosen vessel of Yahweh's production of the "King". [As David was the rejected source of the Temple for cause, so Joseph was the rejected source of the King -- for cause (that cause being his roots in the inner-family war)].
- b) But David was...
- i. The late-begotten, last-born son of the house of Jesse (despised by both father and brothers).
- ii. The major bone of contention for the most prominent "son" of the last born son of the most-beloved wife -- Rachel birthed Benjamin and died shortly after, and Saul, the first king of Israel was a Benjamite -- who had never dealt with the family's age-old tendency to fight over who was going to get to "shine".
- iii. The descendent of the fourth-born son of the least-loved wife who was named "Judah" because of a flash of insight by Leah (that, sadly, did not take its place in the love of God where it ought to have -- flashes of insight must be developed into fundamental life-convictions if they are to yield "life").
- iv. The primary servant of Yahweh to bring Israel to its place of dominion in the inter-national community.
- v. The chosen instrument of Yahweh to push forward His Kingdom Plans: it was Yahweh who promised David that his "house" would be clothed in honor and glory.
- c. Luke wanted Theophilus to see Joseph as the next to the final link in the divine promises concerning the "House of David" as the Solution to the Hatred in the International Family (the Horn of Salvation to deliver us from all who hate us).
- 1) Joseph represented both aspects of the Solution.
- a) He, as the image of Joseph, represented the Reconciler.
- b) He, as the son of David ben Judah, represented the Eliminator of the unreconciled.
- 2) But he was actually neither -- he represented, but he was not the One.
- II. The Issue of "Mary Who Had Been Espoused to Him".
- A. There is only one reason for referring to Joseph's wife as "her that had been espoused to him": to compel the memory of the reader to not permit Mary's child to be seen as any other than the "Son of the Most High".
- 1. The terminology is 1:27ff terminology.
- 2. As such it compels us to return to the fact that Joseph was not the actual father of Mary's Son.
- B. Luke's promise of a legitimate picture of Jesus, the Christ, is significantly harmed if the "salvation" and "life" that this Jesus brings is not permitted to rest absolutely upon His true Sonship in the face of the overwhelming problem of warfare over the question of "who gets to shine".
- III. The Point.
- A. All contention, both within and without the family of God, is driven by those who lust after the privilege of "getting to shine"...in the AV's translation of Proverbs 13:10, "Only by pride cometh contention...".
- B. Jesus is the only Salvation from contention.
- 1. Denying the issue will not deliver; it will only mask.
- 2. Self-effort in combating the issue will not deliver; it will only lead to self-deception.
- 3. Only by the love of Jesus is a person delivered from the desire to be the most-beloved...and that is the only way of deliverance from the strife that comes from pushing oneself forward in order to get to shine.