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18 December, 2018

Daily Devotional

By Elevation Church

Christmas Unwrapped: The Christmas Story

Matthew 1:1-17

At the centre of Christmas there is a story. A virgin birth. A donkey. A star. Wise men. Shepherds. A manger. A baby. You’ve probably heard it many times before. Most stories begin with once upon a time or in a galaxy far, far away. The Christmas story begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17).

17 verses.

Chances are if we’ve come across these verses in our daily Bible reading, we’ve skimmed through it or even skipped it all together because we may not be very interested in ancestry. Why would Matthew spend 17 verses, and give us 42 names, and start the Christmas story with the genealogy of Jesus?

In the week leading up to Christmas, we are going to unwrap the Christmas story, starting with what we can learn from the genealogy of Jesus.

Christianity is built around a person, and not principles.

Matthew begins the Christmas story with the genealogy of Jesus to firmly establish that Jesus was a real person in history. Jesus is not a metaphor or a fable. He is real. Before any teachings of Jesus were recorded, Matthew highlights that the Christmas story was about a person. This is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. Most religions, when you peel back the layers, are based on teachings and principles that would be true whether their religious founder ever lived or not. The religious founder was just the mouthpiece for those teachings. For example, the teachings of Buddhism don’t depend on Buddha being an actual person. The teachings existed and Buddha was just the mouthpiece. Islam is based on a pattern for how Allah wants people to live. Mohammed was just the mouthpiece. This isn’t the case with Christianity.

Christianity is not just about good advice. We accept a shadow version of Christianity when we focus only on its moral principles. This Christmas, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Christianity is not about hearing a motivational speech, getting together a to do list to follow, or some good advice, this is about the person of Jesus. Throughout the Word of God, there are many principles we can apply to our lives. But a set of principles didn’t set us free from our sin and shame. It was Jesus.

1 Corinthians 2:2 – For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Christianity depends on a set of events that actually took place in time and history, because the core of Christianity is not what Jesus taught us to do, but what he would do for us. Without the birth, the sinless life, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ actually taking place, Christianity doesn’t stand.

The Christmas Story: the birth of the Son of God into the world is Good News. It’s an announcement saying you don’t have to save yourself, God has come to save you.

Let’s never forget as we walk through this Christmas season: this is about Jesus. Somewhere in all the looking for car parks and the pressure of trying to find the perfect presents, the perfect Christmas lunch and the pressure to navigate relationships and family and relatives, in all these things, we can lose the very essence of Christmas. It’s about the gift God gave us over 2000 years ago: that he would send his son Jesus to save us. Christmas is about a person.

Matthew 1:1-17

Chapter 1
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham became the father of Isaac. Isaac became the father of Jacob. Jacob became the father of Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron. Hezron became the father of Ram. 4 Ram became the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon. Nahshon became the father of Salmon. 5 Salmon became the father of Boaz by Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed by Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse became the father of King David. David became the father of Solomon by her who had been Uriah’s wife. 7 Solomon became the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam became the father of Abijah. Abijah became the father of Asa. 8 Asa became the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat became the father of Joram. Joram became the father of Uzziah. 9 Uzziah became the father of Jotham. Jotham became the father of Ahaz. Ahaz became the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh. Manasseh became the father of Amon. Amon became the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the exile to Babylon. 12 After the exile to Babylon, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel became the father of Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel became the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim. Eliakim became the father of Azor. 14 Azor became the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim. Achim became the father of Eliud. 15 Eliud became the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan. Matthan became the father of Jacob. 16 Jacob became the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the exile to Babylon fourteen generations; and from the carrying away to Babylon to the Christ, fourteen generations.

1 Corinthians 2:2

Chapter 2
2 For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.


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