This past Sunday (September 2nd) I preached on Luke 3:23-38 which is the genealogy of Jesus. If you want to hear the message you can check it out here. In the sermon I worked to answer some common questions about the genealogy such as:
- Why were genealogies so important to the Jews of Jesus’ day?
- Why are there differences between the names listed by Matthew and Luke?
- What is the theological significance of Jesus being introduced through this genealogy?
That last question was a major focal point of the message and since I promised to post my notes, here they are.
One of the most important theological points of this section is that Jesus belongs both to humanity and to the Godhead. Luke points out to the reader that Jesus was the (supposed) son of Joseph, which is to say that He is the actual Son of God (Divine). But at the same time, the list of human names that Luke gives us draws attention to the fact that Jesus is also a son of man (Human). In this passage, we see one of the most profound truths found in all the Scriptures which is that Jesus was both God and man, two natures unmixed resting perfectly and completely in the one person Jesus Christ.
But why is this such an important theological point? Why is it important to understand that Jesus came to us as one man with two natures: Divine and Human. Or maybe the question could be posed this way, “What is the relevance of both natures being present.” To answer this question it seems best to break it up into two parts.
Wayne Grudem’s chapter on The Person of Christ from his Systematic Theology (pgs. 529-567) was immensely helpful in outlining this issue for me and much of what follows was gleaned from his work.
Why was the full humanity of Christ necessary?
1. For the sake of Representative Obedience
Therefore, as one trespass1 led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness2 leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.– Romans 5:18-19
Just as Adam stands as mankind’s representative head, Jesus as a man becomes the representative head for all those who believe and by his (one man’s) obedience we will be made righteous. Jesus had to be a man in order to be our representative and obey in our place (Grudem).
2. To be a substitute Sacrifice
For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.– Hebrews 2:16-17
In order to pay the penalty for the sin of mankind, Jesus had to be fully human. His humanity was necessary in order to make his sacrifice an acceptable substitute for us.
3. As a man He mediates between God and Man
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, —1 Timothy 2:5
4. As a man he can be a sympathetic High Priest
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. — Hebrews 2:18
5. As a man he is our example and pattern in life as men
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. —1 Peter 2:21
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. — Hebrews 12:2-3
Why was it necessary for Jesus to also be Divine
1. Only someone who is infinitely God could bear the full penalty of sins
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. — Romans 6:10
Many men and women have died for love, but none of them died to bear the sins of another before God. Jesus died in the place of sinners and bore the wrath of God for them.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.—Colossians 1:19-20
2. Because Salvation is from the Lord
All of Scripture bears this theme. David sung about it, the prophets declared it, the angels reminded the people of it and Jesus, as God in flesh, made it a reality.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!”– Jonah 2:9
3. As God He mediates between God and Man
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the manChrist Jesus, —1 Timothy 2:5
4. In order that He could reveal God to mankind
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14