Son of Blessing, Son of Kings: Why Jesus Is the Gateway to Life

Photo by Waiting For The Word

The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1, HCSB)

Two weeks ago I asked if we know who our king is.

Unlike Luke (who traces Jesus all the way back to Adam), Matthew starts with Abraham. As he lays out the genealogy of Christ (following an interesting, deliberate, and controversial pattern), he highlights David, the Babylonian exile, and the number 14.

It’s also entirely possible he coded the entire geneaology as an allusion-rich riddle underscoring Jesus’s identity as the long-awaited Messiah and the “new man” created in his resurrection. One of my editing clients, William Struse, has been laying out this idea in a series of fiction and nonfiction books, as well as on his blog. Check it all out, in fiction or nonfiction form, at his website.

Whatever else may be going on there, Matthew is deliberately placing Christ in the line of covenant history. Abraham and David are significant not just because they were men of faith who passed their genes along to Jesus but because each man received a covenant from God of which Jesus is the heir and fulfillment.

He is the Son of Blessing and the Son of Kings.

And I know I keep saying this, but we can’t read about who JESUS is without understanding who WE are. He has designed it so that our identity and destiny are tied up with his. Remember, “If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.” “And now we are heirs, and joint-heirs with Christ.” “As he is, so are we in this world.” “And we are his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

This isn’t just history, folks, and isn’t just “doctrine” as we often so badly use the word, it’s the sum and the point and the heart of everything.

Covenant history is often said to begin with Abraham: some generations after mankind fell into sin, created was cursed, and Death took up its tyrannical reign over life, a mostly-forgotten Creator God struck up a friendship with a man in the Ancient Near East named Abraham.

He made a covenant with him and promised him something incredible:

Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from they father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee:

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3)

Millennia later, Paul wrote of this promise that Abraham was to be “heir of the cosmos” — Abraham and all of the children of faith (Romans 4:13).

In a curse-bound world, God promised blessing.

From the beginning, God’s purpose has been to bless. What does that mean?

A study through the Bible passages that use the word “barak” shows it to be the source of life, righteousness, prosperity, and salvation.

Fundamentally, to bless is to fill with the capacity and potential for life.

Photo by Hans


To curse is the opposite — it is to wither, dry up, make barren.

Blessing is a kind of empowerment given through the spoken word of God. It is as significant to human origins as creation itself: immediately after creating mankind, God BLESSED them. For this reason, we are empowered to be more in the world than animals or plants; for good or for ill, we create, we rule, we influence through our wills and actions. We are creatures of real significance because we are blessed.

And we are kept in check because we are cursed — because we die. (“If they should live forever –” God says in Genesis 3:22. And the thought cuts off, because sinful man living forever is too terrible a thought to contemplate.)

The original blessing went awry when man fell. But God was not satisfied with that state of affairs. And so he came to Abraham and promised him blessing upon blessing, until at last “all families of the earth” would be blessed “in him” as he became heir not simply of a patch of ground in the Middle East but of the world. In Greek, “the cosmos.”

In its typical “already but not yet” fashion, the Bible traces that blessing through Abraham to his descendants in Isaac, then Jacob, then the nation of Israel, and finally in the Jesus Matthew announces as “the Son of Abraham.”

Through Jesus, the blessing of Abraham — life, salvation, prosperity, healing, creative power, influence, righteousness — comes on all the children of faith.

“And ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise . . . wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 3:29, 4:7)

He is also the Son of Kings.

David, the shepherd boy who killed a giant with a sling and a stone, is probably one of the best known figures in the Bible, even to those outside of the household of faith. Who hasn’t heard of David and Goliath?

When God delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt, he declared his intention to be himself their king. They were the kingdom of God, with God’s rule manifested and delegated through a series of judges. But he also knew they would eventually want a human king “like all the other nations,” and in a brilliant and beautiful show of divine humility, he answered their desire with the family of David — while simultaneously plotting to put himself back on the throne.

Photo by cowins


In the ancient world as today, kingship remains in a family only so long as no other family rises up to replace it. So David replaced Saul, and in the eventual split kingdom, the north was ruled by a succession of royal families. But God made a promise and covenant with David concerning his family line:

This is what the LORD of hosts says: I took you from the pasture and from following the sheep to be ruler over My people Israel . . . I declare to you that the LORD Himself will build a house for you. When your time comes to be with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who is one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for Me, and I will establish His throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. I will not take away My faithful love from him as I took it from the one who was before you. I will appoint him over My house and My kingdom forever, and his throne will be established forever. (1 Chronicles 17:7, 11-14, HCSB)

Throughout the tumultuous history that followed, the promise of David’s ever-reigning Son stands out in prophecy as the great hope of Israel and the nations. Who hasn’t heard the words of Isaiah?

“For unto us a son is born,
unto us a son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:

And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,

To order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7)

In the kingdom of Judah, David’s sons remained on the throne in an unbroken line until the exile to Babylon — the third division marked by Matthew in his genealogy of Jesus Christ.

(“So all the generations from Abraham to David were 14 generations; and from David until the exile to Baylon, 14 generations; and from the exile to Babylon until the Messiah, 14 generations.” Matt 1:17, HCSB)

The exile also marked the official coming of the curse of the law upon Israel.

The people of blessing, trapped under a curse.
The kingdom of God, haunted by an empty throne.

So Matthew’s genealogy highlights the promises of God, their terrible reversals because of man’s rebellion, and then the Reversal of all Reversals when Jesus arrives on the scene:

The Son of Abraham comes to bring the blessing at last, marking a new era of life, prosperity, and creative power.

The Son of David comes to rule with justice, judgment, and astonishing light.

Jesus did not arrive out of nowhere. He didn’t come in a vacuum. Rather, as Paul put it, he came “in the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4) as the fulfillment of a plan God had been putting into place, piece by piece and promise by promise, for thousands of years.

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying,
Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1-3, KJV)



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3 responses to “Son of Blessing, Son of Kings: Why Jesus Is the Gateway to Life”

  1. GS Munyaradzi Avatar
    GS Munyaradzi

    Glory be to God who has led me to thia blog!!!

  2. Ginny Jaques Avatar

    Rachel, I’m loving your thoughts and how well expressed they are. Bless you.

    1. Rachel Avatar

      Thank you, Ginny!

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