Included in the Christmas story is the story of redemption and restoration. In the lineage of Joseph, there was an ancestor named Jeconiah, who was the king of Judah. He reigned three months, and the Scripture tells us “he did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Exactly what his sin was is not specified, but it attracted the wrath of God. He was disqualified from sitting on the throne of David and his line of ancestors would be included in this curse as well. Jeremiah 22:30 says “…none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah.” Zedekiah, Jeconiah’s uncle, was the last king of Judah, but Jeconiah was the last legitimate king to occupy the throne of Judah. Zedekiah’s son’s all died, and there was no one left to assume the role of kingship since Jeconiah’s entire lineage had been disqualified, along with him.
Imagine what it must have been like to live with this your whole life. Your family history is recorded in the sacred scrolls and every time they are read, you are reminded that you are part of a cursed family. Could you enjoy gathering in the synagogue or temple, knowing that at some point great(X9)-grandfather Jeconiah’s name would be mentioned as the one who caused the whole family to be disregarded and disqualified from occupying the throne of David? Maybe this is why Joseph was so sensitive about not causing shame to be cast upon Mary when he learned of her pregnancy. Perhaps he had sworn his entire life that he would not be responsible for the disparaging of another family or family name. How many times he must have thought or even cried out, “How might this be corrected?” Albert Barnes in his commentary on Matthew makes this statement – “From a family so utterly fallen, that spiritual King came forth whose name is ‘Yahweh is righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6).” Consider the irony that born into the household of this representative of a cursed family line is God Himself! This is a large statement by the Lord as to redemption and restoration. Here is this man who thought he would certainly die with a cursed genealogy in his wake. But God in His marvelous mercy had other plans.
Having become a legal member of the household of Joseph, Jesus was now a part of the lineage of Jeconiah; although not by birth. The Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary says it this way. “Though Messiah, the heir of David’s throne, was lineally descended from Jeconiah, it was only through Joseph, who, though his legal, was not his real (biological) father. Matthew gives the legal pedigree through Solomon down to Joseph; Luke gives the real pedigree, from Mary, the real parent, through Nathan, the brother of Solomon, upwards.”
Here are the facts. Jesus had to be a LINEAL descendant of David, in order to fulfill God’s promise to David – that his seed would sit upon his throne. He also had to be the LEGAL son of Joseph in order to inherit the right to sit upon the throne of David. Yet, He could not be the PHYSICAL son of Joseph without coming under God’s curse on Jeconiah. Honor was thus restored to Joseph’s lineage through God’s favor in giving him the stewardship as Jesus’ earthly father. Isn’t God smart? Understanding this makes the virgin birth a necessary part of the Christmas story. This is ultimate restoration and redemption in its purest form. Merry Christmas to you and yours!