Summary: 'Jesus, as to the flesh, of the house of David...' (Romans 1:3).
THE REGAL GENEALOGY OF CHRIST
Genealogies are perhaps one part of the sacred account that we are prone to pass over, but we must pause for a moment in the genealogy of Jesus as given in Matthew 1. We have heard of at least one person who, beginning to read the New Testament, was converted before turning the page from here!
The meticulous Jewish civil servant begins his account of Jesus’ family tree with Abraham (Matthew 1:2). Messiah is a fellow Jew! The promise to be blessed and to be a blessing (Genesis 12:3) is fulfilled in the Person of our Lord; and thus is fulfilled also His own proclamation that “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). As the Apostle Paul comments (Galatians 3:16): “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
The third verse introduces us to the strange affair of Judah and Tamar (see Genesis 38:6-26). According to John Calvin, this is the beginning of that self-emptying spoken of by Paul in Philippians 2:7, the “making Himself of no reputation” in our translation.
Other women are mentioned: Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute, in Matthew 1:5 (see Joshua 2:1-14); Ruth the Moabitess (also Matthew 1:5); and “her that had been the wife of Urias” (Matthew 1:6) - Bathsheba, the Hittite’s wife with whom David the King committed adultery (2 Samuel 11).
For all that, he is still “David the King”: in the midst of all the conspiracies and rebellions against his house, David is not only the type of Christ, but the one from whom Christ must certainly come. The usurpation of Athaliah, Queen for seven years (2 Chronicles 22:10) is passed over here in silence. The curse on Jechonias (Jeremiah 22:30) seems to end the line of Davidic kings, but in exile he is promoted (Jeremiah 52:31) and bears a seed (Matthew 1:12), of whom comes one to play a princely role in the return from Babylon.
Zerubbabel brings us to the end of the Old Testament period (Haggai 2:21-23; Zechariah 4:6) but even in inter-Testamental obscurity, the line survives and at last (Matthew 1:16), “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”
The incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ was necessary because of sin. It was necessary that He should bear the curse. It was imperative that the sacrifice made on our behalf should be the spotless “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”
His supernatural conception (Matthew 1:18-20) meant that He was free from the guilt and pollution of sin, yet He could bear the curse of Canaan (Genesis 9:25; Galatians 3:13); the curse on Jechonias; the penalty of the very sins which tainted His own genealogy and ours.
Wondrous doctrine, indeed, that “there was none other good enough to pay the price of sin.”