Matthew 1
The Curse of Coniah and the Birth of Jesus

There are 4 biographies of Jesus in the Bible – they are the 1st 4 books of the New Testament.
What are they?
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Now, only 2 of these 4 biographies give us information about the birth of Jesus – want to guess which 2?
Matthew and Luke.
So, I’m going to let you decide.
If you want to hear a Christmas message from Luke – raise your hand.
If you want to hear a Christmas message from Matthew – I really need you to raise your hand.
Okay, Matthew it is.
Our Christmas story starts in Matthew chapter 1, verse 1, so let’s get started.
1    The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
The word for genealogy is the Greek word – genesis – just like the first book in the Bible – Genesis.
Verse 1 is the book of the genesis – the beginnings – the origin of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.
Now, I’m going to make a statement and I need you to remain calm.
Please keep your seat belts fastened and put your tray tables up.
Are you ready? Okay, here’s the statement:
Jesus has not always existed.
Look at verse 1 again.
Matthew starts his biography of Jesus by telling us Jesus had a beginning – a genesis – a genealogy.
Now, if you are visiting GCC today, I want you to know from the start that we believe the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is both 100% God and 100% human.
So think about it – God has always existed – He has no beginning – He has no genesis or genealogy.
Yet right here in verse 1, Matthew tells us that Jesus Christ has a genealogy – a beginning – a starting point.
So, which aspect of Jesus is Matthew talking about here in verse 1?
Is it His deity or His humanity?
Matthew is focusing on the humanity of Jesus.
Matthew is telling us about the beginnings of the true and perfect humanity of this one who was to be born in a manger in Bethlehem.
At His birth, He would be given the name of Jesus.
Until this baby was conceived and born, there was no Jesus – because the humanity of Jesus has not always existed.
This is what Christmas is all about.
The Son of God left heaven and was mysteriously and miraculously joined by the Holy Spirit, to a normal and natural human egg generated by the body of Mary, and yet without a human father, she gave birth to a sinlessly perfect human being.
So, in Matthew chapter 1, we discover Jesus had a family tree.
He did not just drop out of heaven but instead, He was born.
Since he was born, he had ancestors that made up his genealogy – his family tree.
In verse 2, Matthew decided to start with Abraham who lived around 2,000 BC.
2    Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.
The family tree continues with a lot of names and finally 1000 years later, gets down to King David in verse 6:
6    and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon….
Everybody else in this genealogy simply has a name, but notice that David not only has a name, he also has a title, David the king.
David was the 2nd king of Israel and their greatest king.
God made a promise to David that his descendants and only his descendants, would be the future kings of Israel.
This is an incredible promise so let’s look at part of it in 2 Samuel 7, starting with verse 12:
12    “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
David, one of your sons will succeed you as the King of Israel.
And then a few verses later the Lord says to David:
16    “And your house [dynasty] and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”
This is called the Davidic Covenant because the Lord made an agreement with King David that the future kings of Israel would forever come from him and be his descendants.
Imagine if the Lord – however He would do it – gave our pastor, Trevor Davis, this type of promise.
Trevor Davis – when your days are fulfilled here at GCC, I will set up one of your sons to replace you as the pastor of Great Commission Church. 
And not only that – that son will have a son who will replace him and from this day forward, all pastors of GCC will be a Davis that flowed from you. In this way, your pastorate will be established forever.”
Now, seriously, that would be an amazing promise – right – because we don’t even know if any of Trevor’s sons are going to get married or if any of them would even want to be a pastor.
And then each one would have to have at least one son who wanted to be a pastor and then that passes down unbroken forever.
How is that even possible? Has anything like that ever happened? No.
Yet this is what the Lord promised King David – that all the future kings of Israel would be his descendants and the dynasty would last forever.
Now in this genealogy here in Matthew, every man listed in verses 6 to 11 were the actual reigning Davidic kings of Israel – and then we come to verse 11.
11    [King] Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
So, the kings of Israel reigned from King David to this King named Jeconiah, and then in 600 BC something awful happened.        (29.5 Minutes left))
The brutal and vicious Babylonian empire invaded Israel and completely conquered them.
They tore down the temple Solomon had built, slaughtered 10’s of thousands of the Jewish people and carried most of the rest back to Babylon to be slaves.
Who was the reigning king of Israel when this invasion and defeat happened?
In verse 11, it was King Jeconiah.
Jeconiah was a godless man like many of the kings of Israel.
It’s said that every family tree has a little sap in it.
Well, the sap in David’s family tree was this King called Jeconiah.
He was the straw that broke the back of God’s patience with the wicked kings of Israel.
After verse 11 here, we have the rest of the men who were heirs to the throne, but guess what happened after Jeconiah?
Not a single descendant of King Jeconiah – none of the men listed in verses 12 to 16 ever sat on the throne of Israel again.
But God promised King David that his dynasty would be eternal and now we discover a break in the line of the kings.
So, what happened?
I’ll tell you what happened.
The Lord actually cursed King Jeconiah and when you see this curse, you’ll understand why the kingly line was broken and no descendant of Jeconiah ever sat on the throne of Israel.
We see this in Jeremiah.
Now, Jeremiah calls King Jeconiah, just Coniah – so that’s what I’m going to call him.
Partly because the curse of Coniah sounds better than the curse of Jeconiah.
Okay, let’s look at the curse of Coniah in Jeremiah 22:30
30    Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’”
King Coniah was not childless, but it was as if he was childless because none of his children would ever prosper nor would any of his descendants ever sit on the throne of David and rule in Judah.
If you were related to King Coniah, you were cursed and could never rule as the king of Israel, even though you were the rightful heir to the throne.
Have you ever YouTubed dominoes falling?
It is utterly mind blowing all the domino falling videos there are.
You can literally watch 1,000,000 dominoes falling in incredible designs.
It’s insane, right?
Why back in my day, you were thankful to have 50 or 100 dominoes and line them up and push the first one and watch the rest fall unless that dreadful thing happens.
What do you not want to happen when you line up your dominoes and push the first one?
You don’t want a misplaced domino to fall and not hit the next one.
What happens then?
The whole process comes to an ugly, screeching halt.
This is what happened to the kings of Israel.
God promised a domino chain of Kings for Israel that would never end but suddenly it ended.
King Coniah was the domino where it all stopped.
All the kingly descendants of Coniah were born and lived, but they never ruled as kings of Israel.
So, do you see how shocking this curse is on Coniah and all his descendants?
God promised David his dynasty of kings ruling over Israel would be eternal, and now God has cursed the kingly line and decreed that no descendant of King Coniah will ever sit on the throne of Israel.
Is this a contradiction? Did God change his mind?
Is God a liar or unfaithful to His promises?
The King of Israel must come from the line of Coniah but if you are related to Coniah, you are cursed and cannot rule as the King – even though you are the legitimate heir to the throne.
All that brings us to Matthew chapter 1, verse 16:
16    And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
Jesus’ earthly parents were named Mary and Joseph and at the end of this long genealogy, we end up at Christmas in verse 16 – the birth of Jesus who is called the Christ or the Messiah.
Did you know that carpenter Joseph, the husband of Mary, was in the line of the kings of Israel?
Did you know that Joseph was under the curse of Coniah and as a result, could not prosper or sit on the throne as King of Israel – even though he was the heir apparent.
Joseph was the crown prince of Israel.
Did you know that?
Well, the angels of heaven knew that and let me show you.
When Joseph was engaged to Mary, he finds out she is pregnant, and since he knows he’s not the father, he understandably freaks out.
So, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream and listen to how this angel addresses Joseph in Matthew 1:20
20    But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
How did this angel of the Lord address Joseph – who did he call him?
Joseph, son of David.
Why did he call him son of David and not son of Jacob?
Because he was a royal descendant of King David.
He was the one.
Joseph could have been the King of Israel had it not been for the curse of Coniah.
The only other person called the Son of David in the entire book of Matthew is the Lord Jesus.
We saw it in verse 1 – the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Yet the angel called Joseph, son of David – because if there had been a legitimate Davidic king in Israel, it would have been Joseph – but he was under the curse of Coniah.
Now, back to verse 16:
16    And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
It says that a man named Jacob begot or fathered Joseph.
Jacob was Joseph’s biological father.
And then the genealogy takes a twist.
Notice it does not say, And Joseph begot Jesus.
It says that Joseph was the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus.
Joseph knew and Mary knew that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus.
As a virgin, Mary conceived a baby by the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.
So, here’s a valid and important question inquiring minds ought to ask:
Is Jesus even related to Joseph?
No, he is not physically related to Joseph.
Okay, that leads to our next question:
Why then is Jesus even in Joseph’s genealogy?
They are not physically related.
How is this even Jesus’ genealogy when Jesus is not physically related to Joseph?
Okay, here’s the Bible answer.
Matthew makes it very clear that the Christmas story is about Jesus being born AFTER Mary and Joseph were officially married.
Even though Jesus was not Joseph’s biological son, he was his legal son.
Let me put it another way.
Jesus was not born out of wedlock and then adopted by Joseph after they got married.
No, they got married and then Jesus was born.
Jesus had no human father.
He was born with Joseph’s name – He was the legal son of Joseph – not his biological son.
So, what’s the big deal here?
Legally Jesus was Joseph 1st born son and was thus, legally an heir to whatever Joseph had to offer.
Joseph had the throne of Israel to offer – but not if you were physically related to him because of the curse on King Coniah.
Jesus was not physically related to Joseph, but He was legally his first-born son.
So, Jesus escapes the curse of Coniah, and is the legal heir to the throne – after Joseph dies.
Wow, this is all amazing, but wait a minute, there’s still a serious problem here.
We looked at an angel speaking to Joseph.
Now, let’s see what an angel said to Mary before Jesus was born.
This is in Luke chapter 1:
31    “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32    “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33    “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Now, go back to verse 32
32    “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
The son of Mary will sit on the throne of – who?
His father David.
We’ve already seen that Joseph was a physical descendant of King David, but he is not Jesus’ father.
Yet the angel tells Mary that Jesus will sit on the throne of Israel, and he will be a descendant of his father, King David.
To be a legitimate king of Israel, you had to be related, by blood, to King David.
Where did Jesus get the blood of King David?
He didn’t get it from Joseph because they were not related.
Well, in the Christmas story, guess who else was a physical descendant of King David?
It turns out that Mary was also a direct descendant of King David but not through King Solomon and the kingly line.
She was descended from King David through another one of David’s sons.
We see this in Luke chapter 3 where we are given Mary’s genealogy.
It traces her all the way back in verse 31 to:
31    the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,
Mary was a blood relative of King David, through his son Nathan.
Joseph was a descendant of King David through his son, Solomon, who became the king.
The rightful king of Israel had to be a blood descendant of David and had to be in the line of the kings.
Do you now see how God unraveled the curse of Coniah?
Joseph, in the line of the kings and under the curse of Coniah, becomes the legal father of Jesus, but because they are not physically related, Jesus legally inherits from Joseph the right to the throne of Israel.
Mary is a blood relative of King David and since Jesus’ human body came from her, Jesus is a blood relative of King David.
The rightful king of Israel had to be in the line of the kings – that’s Joseph – and had to be a blood descendant of David – that’s Mary.
Of all the great miracles surrounding the birth of Jesus – this is just another one.
The 2 very people who needed to get married – got married - all so Jesus could be the legal heir of Joseph and the physical son of Mary.
On Christmas day the promised King of Israel was born and because He is also God, He would be able to rule forever – just as the Lord promised King David.
God is a genius and Christmas is just one more proof of that.
Christmas beautifully unraveled the profound mystery of the curse of Coniah and the Davidic Covenant.
APPLICATION   (10 Mins Left)
Now I want to give some genealogical Christmas application for those of you who believe you are Christians – those who have trusted the Lord Jesus to be your Savior from all your awful sins and now you treasure Him as your Lord and your God.
We’ve seen this morning that God is the supreme genius and there is no problem He cannot unravel and solve for His glory and your ultimate good.
In fact, all the drama in your life, all the knotty, tangled situations that surely confuse and burden you – are the genius of God at work in your life.
Well, we usually don’t see it that way when it all first happens, do we?
I’ve lived through several awful, painful and confusing trials in my life – and during each one I cried out to the Lord in my confusion with this one word – WHY? 
Why would you allow this? 
Why won’t you change me and change others and change the whole mess?
I’ve even told the Lord in my pain that I can’t see how I will ever be able to joyfully worship and praise Him again, because I’m so sad and broken and disappointed in HIM.
You know what happened next after I said things like that to the Lord?
Well, He struck me down with a bolt of lightning.
No, our God is a relationship genius, and He patiently and skillfully worked all my circumstances in such a way as to open my eyes in some new way and to cause me to somehow end up thanking Him and loving the Lord Jesus more than I ever had before.
I know – how can He do that?
He is a genius beyond anything we can imagine.
So Christian, if you are inwardly mad at God – fighting Him – disappointed in Him – may I urge you to realize that a genius is in your corner.
He loves you – He truly cares for you, and He genuinely knows exactly what He is doing with and through your life and circumstances.
Let go of your bitterness and melt into His arms and walk by faith in His goodness and love for you.
One day, you will see His genius and be stunned and awed and humbled – so may He help you to trust Him more today than yesterday – especially during a tough time.
That’s the first application for Christmas – Christian, whatever you’re going through, remember that God is a genius, and our worst struggles are part of a glorious and good plan – and we will see it one day just like we saw His genius in solving the curse of Coniah.
Now a word to you who do not love Jesus, who have not bowed your heart and life to Him and thus do not have the joy of the Lord Jesus in your soul.
Christmas really is about Jesus and how He came to save His people from their sins.
The entire genius of Christmas is best seen in how God could take a vile and wicked person, like you and me, and find a just and holy way to forgive our sins and give us the unspeakable privilege of personally knowing and enjoying the very God who made us.
Forgiveness is in the hands of Jesus, and you must receive it from Him – personally.
Jesus was born to offer himself as payment for all the sins of His people.
So let me ask you: Is a belief in this Jesus bubbling up in your soul?
Has a sense of the glory and majesty of Jesus begun to capture your soul?
Is there a new yearning to want to bow your heart and soul to this great and mighty Savior?
If this is happening, God is saving you and calling you to Himself.
Respond to the Lord Jesus by letting go and surrendering your life into His hands and He will forgive all your sins and introduce Himself to you in a way that only God can do.
Now, I’m going to ask that we all close our eyes right now and take a moment because some in this room need to respond to the Lord in some way.
Now, everyone look up here, please.
After the service, if you think the Lord may have saved you this morning, or you have questions about how to be right with God, please come up here and speak to me after the service.
Also, take advantage of the ministry card in your seat and ask us to follow up with you about something – or share a prayer request about what’s on your heart.
Let’s conclude this morning with prayer….