Summary: If you look at it one way, Jesus came from a very dysfunctional family and a dysfunctional family line. If God has set about to save the world, shouldn’t He have made things a little better along the way? Actually, it’s really a cool part of God’s salvati
Matthew’s gospel was one of the first written in the decades after the resurrection (50 A.D.). At the time the many forms of Judaism were on the wane. After the fall of Jerusalem, in fact, only two remained: one was Rabbinic Judaism (which came from the Pharisees) and Jewish Christianity. It was becoming an either/or situation, and the Jews needed to know some important things in deciding whether this Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
Matthew was a tax gatherer. Matthew became a disciple of Jesus—we see this in chapter 9.
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
Julius Caesar required the Herodian government of Israel to collect taxes. Associations of tax gatherers formed. They collected customs, port duties, and fishing tolls. They were hated. They were not allowed to be witnesses, their money was not accepted as charity, and given the chance, the mobs might actually lynch one if they could catch him. The tax gatherers would extract money sometimes by torture. They were considered “robbers”.
So why Matthew? Why would the Jews listen to a hated tax collector? Perhaps, as we will see going through this, that a theme develops—Jesus, the Messiah, comes to those who are least deserving of grace and mercy, and shows them just that. If a robber can find a savior, maybe I can too.
But Matthew would also have been all about the enforcing the law, and so his demonstration of the kingship of Jesus is important. He shows that though he was hated by the Jews, he knew the Scriptures well, and uses them effectively in his proof.
Matthew had several important things to tell the Jews:
Jesus was promised and prefigured in the Scriptures
Jesus is the son of David (here in this chapter)
Jesus is the Messiah
Armed with this information, a Jew who served God “with a whole heart and a willing mind” (1 Chronicles 28:9) could make a decision for Christ. And if we will draw our hearts to “seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God” (1 Chronicles 28:8), we too can see the proof that Jesus is the promised Savior.
I’ve notice as we’ve been studying the Old Testament that there seem to be two hills that between the creation and the Messiah. Those hills are Abraham and David, heading up to the summit, which is Jesus Christ.
Son of Abraham—the first covenant with the Jewish people, through which all the nations of the world would be blessed. So Jesus would be the Messiah, the Savior.
Son of David—who received a promise that one of his heirs would sit on a throne and have a kingdom that would never end. So Jesus would be the King and ruler for all of eternity.
Matthew writes to the Jews so he traces Jesus back to the father of the Jews, Abraham. David was the pinnacle of all the kings of Israel, and so in His rule, Jesus would be like David, loving God, ruling fairly but firmly and pointing everyone to Yahweh. In 1 Chronicles 29, we see David’s heart “who am I?” he says to God, that he should have been chosen. Jesus repeatedly said that his task was to glorify and follow the will of the Father.
The lineage traced here through Joseph shows that Jesus has a rightful place as a Jew and as a member of David’s house, and thus can legally be the Messiah.
2 – 16
Verses 2 through 6a show the line from Abraham to David, verses 6b through 11 show the line from Solomon to the exile, then 12 through 16 follow the line from Jechoniah to Jesus.
(16) Joseph is mentioned as “the husband of Mary” not the “father of Jesus” because he was not the biological father. But he was His father by way of paternal care and legal standing—Jesus gains his legal right to be the Messiah through the line of Joseph (but He is also biologically related to David through Mary – her genealogy is in Luke’s gospel).
This actually started back in 2 Samuel 7:16. “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” This is what Nathan the prophet told David.
The connection to the Messiah was revealed to Isaiah:
Isa 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness