1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
Genealogies have a tendency to bore the ordinary reader. But to the people who lived in Israel between AD 37 and AD 60, they were extremely important. Levi, the tax collector, known to us as the apostle Matthew, knew the importance of such things to the Jewish people to whom he wrote. Taking advantage of every opportunity to reach their hearts with the gospel of Jesus Christ, he created a theological masterpiece in this gospel. With over sixty direct references to the O.T. scriptures, at least a dozen instances where the fulfillment of prophecy is pointed out, and this beginning genealogy, he would leave no room for doubt that the Jesus, whom they crucified, was their Messiah.
"The book of the generation of..." someone was more than a simple genealogy. It was typical Jewish jargon for "The life story of..." someone. It is the real title of this book given by its author. "Jesus" means "Savior" and "Christ" means "the Anointed One" or the "Messiah".
This is further brought out in the phrase "the son of David" which was frequently used in Jewish writings to describe the Messiah. Thus David is mentioned first. No man could claim to be the long awaited Messiah, unless He was the son of David, not a son of David, but the Son of David. It was promised that Messiah would sit on the throne of David and rule the world (2 Sam 7:4-17).
It was also important for the Jewish people to understand that Jesus was the One promised in the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:1-3 etc.). He is thus referred to as the "son of Abraham."
We have in our hands, then, the foundational evidence that must be present before any Hebrew person could begin to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. These genealogies were so painstakingly recorded as to be beyond dispute, and no one has ever disputed this genealogy.
Further evidence exists of His Messianic claim. The promise of Abraham was passed on to Isaac and Jacob, who was called Israel. Of the twelve tribes of Israel, Judah was chosen to bring forth the seed of the Holy One. David was a descendent of Judah.
It is fascinating to note that there are four women mentioned in this genealogy. Two are of ill repute and three are Gentiles. The Jews acknowledged that the Messiah would come from the line of Boaz, but Boaz's mother was Rahab, the harlot of Jericho. Boaz married Ruth a Moabitess. (v.5)
Specific mention is also made of the fact that Solomon was born of "her that had been the wife of Urias". This, of course, brings attention to the murderous and adulterous sins of David, leaving us to wonder why Matthew would want to include that kind of information.
Ending with Joseph the husband of Mary, who we know was not the father of Jesus. He was, however, the legal father and his genealogy was important to all who would inquire about Jesus and to all who had not heard of the virgin birth.
What does the opening of this marvelous book mean to us, in our devotional time, 2000 years later? I think we have to look into the grace that lies within its framework.
It was written by a publican, the lowliest, least respected of all the people among the Jews. Yet, his testimony is that he found grace in the eyes of the Messiah. He was made an apostle and wrote under divine inspiration. He was walking evidence of God's mercy through Jesus Christ.
That Jesus should descend from David, who committed the horrendous sins of murder and adultery, yet remained God's favorite because he confessed and repented, is another example of the magnitude of God's ability to forgive. His throne would be established forever through his Son Jesus Christ.
Finally, we do not want to neglect the two Gentile women from whom the Messiah descended. It was prophesied by all of the prophets that Messiah would bring salvation to the gentiles. Indeed, His genealogy proves that He was not just the Messiah of the Jews, but of the whole world, for He was the descendant of Jews and Gentiles alike.
Before The Throne:
Should we not be thankful today that God has established this foundational wall of evidence, proving that Jesus was indeed of the right lineage to be the Messiah? Let's give thanks that no man could ever cast doubt over His claim to be the Son of David and the Son of Abraham. Praise your Father in heaven for bringing salvation to all nations and races through Jesus Christ. Thank Him for what He has done for you.
For Further Study:
Ge 12:3; 22:18; 26:3-5; 28:13,14; 2Sa 7:13,16; Ps 89:36; 132:11; Isa 9:6,7; 11:1; 53:8; Jer 23:5; 33:15-17,26; Am 9:11; Zec 12:8; Mr 6:3; Lu 1:27,31-35,69,70; 2:4,5,7,10,11,48; 3:23-38; 4:22; Joh 4:25; 7:42; Ac 2:30; 13:22; Ro 1:3; 4:13; Ga 3:16; Re 22:16;
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