Summary: A study of the genealogy of the Christ as presented by Matthew.

MATTHEW 1:1-17



“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

“Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

“And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

“And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

“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.” [1]

Genealogies are readily ignored by modern readers of the Bible. The names presented in these genealogies sound strange to modern ears; we have difficulty pronouncing them. It is almost impossible for us to understand how these individuals who have long since passed from the scene could be important to contemporary worship. This may be because our culture has become egocentric. Godly curiosity is virtually unknown in contemporary culture. Perhaps we would have more interest if we could somehow connect with the individuals named. Perhaps we would be more inclined to read these genealogies if we only knew why they are included in the Bible. Perhaps we should ask why God did include them.

Levi opens his account of the life and ministry of Jesus, who is the Christ, with a genealogy spanning about four thousand years of history. That is not mere convention of an ancient writer. Prompted by the Spirit of God, Levi is making an essential point; he is setting the stage for all that would take place through the presence of Messiah with mankind. The whole of salvation history hinges upon this genealogy. Much as gaining an understanding of who we are through knowing where we came from, so gaining an understanding of what God has done for us results from knowing the lineage of His Anointed One.

I’m going to brag on my wife for a moment. Over the past couple of decades, my wife has become an accomplished genealogical sleuth; her research is most revealing concerning who she is and who the man she married is. What is fascinating about her research is discovering how so very often we unconsciously reflect our heritage. Her research into my family lineage has demonstrated that two occupational pursuits have predominated both in my paternal lineage and in my maternal lineage—warrior and preacher. Her research has pushed back out understanding of my lineage almost four hundred years, revealing that every generation appears to have been well-populated with warriors and preachers.

For my own part, I planned on being a warrior. I dedicated myself to prepare for a career as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. Little could I know, even when I was in my early twenties, that I would be a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Though an elderly evangelist had pronounced a prophesy when I was yet a child of about eight years of age, I had no desire to enter the ministry. Yet, when God appointed me to this service, the work seemed natural—as though I had been prepared all my life for this task.

Looking back from this vantage of many years of service before the Lord, it seems that my heritage may well have shaped my life more than I could imagine. To understand latent currents directing my life, it is helpful to understand the lineage that has shaped my life. Similarly, if we will understand what God was about in presenting His Son as the promised Messiah, understanding the human lineage will be revealing.

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