Summary: Matthew's genealogy of Jesus shows that all of us can serve Jesus in the present regardless of our past.
I think that most of us instinctively understand the importance of beginnings in our lives.
As we embark on our journey through the life of Jesus, we’ll find that His beginnings had tremendous impact on his life here on earth and a significant influence on His ministry. So we’re going to spend the next several weeks looking at the beginnings of Jesus’ life and ministry from the differing perspectives of the four gospel writers. This morning, we’ll begin with Matthew’s gospel account, so go ahead and turn in your Bible to Matthew 1. You can follow along as I begin to read in verse 1:
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew 1:1 (ESV)
Let’s pause here for a moment before we go any further. Matthew begins his account with a genealogy – you know one of those long sections where some guy with a funny sounding name begat another person with an equally funny sounding name who then begat another person with another funny sounding name, etc. etc.
Before we read any further, I’d like to get some input from all of you and I need you to be honest with me. When you come to these genealogies in the Bible what do you do with them? How many of you just kind of skip over them? Be honest now. And how many of you read them, but you read them pretty quickly without really spending much time on them? I’ll admit that’s what I usually do. And are there any of you that really enjoy reading and thoroughly studying those sections?
But what I’ve come to find is that there is some very important and significant information contained within many of those sections of Scripture. And certainly the opening section of Matthew’s gospel is one of those places. So as I read the next sixteen verses here in Matthew 1, I want to encourage you to follow along in your own Bibles and see if you can pick out some aspects of this genealogy that are unusual or intriguing.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
As I read through this record of the lineage of Jesus, is there anything that really stuck out to you as being unusual or that you found intriguing? [Wait for answers]. Very good observations. We’ll be addressing many of them in the message this morning.
Today this whole area of ancestry and genealogies has become a thriving industry here in the United States. The website Ancestry.com now has nearly 1.4 million paying subscribers and they claim to have access to over 6 billion records. This publicly owned company had revenues of $91 million just in the first quarter this year.
Obviously Matthew didn’t have access to Ancestry.com or any other website. But for many reasons that we don’t have time to discuss this morning, this information was so important to the Hebrews of Matthew’s day that they had carefully preserved the records of their lineage.