Matthew 1:1-17New King James Version (NKJV)
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king.
David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. 8 Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. 9 Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. 11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor.14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. 15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16 And Jacob begot 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, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
Matthew begins his book by naming the genealogy of Jesus, beginning with Abraham-the father of the Jewish faith. There are many things that can be drawn out of the names that he puts into his line-up. This is not meant to be exhaustive. In some generations he names the mothers; sometimes he names siblings in the line. Matthew was showing the Jewish audience and, unbeknownst to him, showing us that Jesus was a rightful heir to the throne of Israel. That was important to Old Testament prophecy as seen in Psalm 132:11, 1Kings 8:25, 1Kinngs 9:2-7, and summed up in Isaiah 9:7.
Matthew also mentions four women in his list, which would have been against Jewish tradition. Of course later, in Paul's letter to the Galatians, Paul would also remind us that there is no male or female in Christ (Gal.3:28) . Also interesting is the four women he named. Three of the four (Tamar, Rahab and Ruth) were Gentiles. Ruth was a Moabite, a decendant of an incestial union(Gen. 19:30-37). Three of the four (Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba) were involved in sexual sin.
Matthew's Gospel account starts out of the gate with a message to the Jewish audience. This genealogy of The Messiah would definitely get attention! One thing that can be taken from this list is that nobody is disqualified. In other words, that Jesus would shake the foundations of religious tradition; that your back story has nothing to do with God's plan for you. Lots of times through the bible we see these genealogies written out and just scan over them thinking they're not really important; but put in historical context, we see that there was a reason for this recounting of the family line. Luke, who was a Gentile, traces back to Adam instead of Abraham, probably because he was writing toward the Gentiles who would have found more interest in Jesus being from the seed of Adam (the father of all) than from Abraham (the father of Judaism). Every word in the Bible is there for a reason; and if you begin to study each person named in this genealogy, you will see more and more fascinating ways that God used broken, unqualified people to bring about His awesome plan of redemption to His image-bearer; mankind.
Of further interest is the fact that Jechoniah (v.11) had a curse pronounced over him through the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 22:24-30) which is more proof of the redemptive plan God has in Christ especially to the traditional Jewish audience.
After this, Matthew quickly shifts to the virgin birth prophesied some 700 years earlier (Isa. 7:14). That's where we will pick up next time. Be sure to comment and interact, God Bless from The Back Pew!