If you read the Bible study on Ruth, you know I had to memorize this section of scripture as a teen. Genealogies can be tedious and hard to read. However, I challenge you while reading this to look for people you know. Link their stories in your mind to Jesus’ birth.
The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
The stories about Jesus in the Gospels are true. They really happened. They tell us how God completed his plan. His plan was to save men and women. He wanted to save them from the power and the results of their sin.
Before Matthew wrote the first book of the New Testament, he was a disciple of Christ. Before that his job was to collect taxes. He became one of Jesus’ best friends. (Read Matthew 9:9–13. Then read Mark 2:13–17 and Luke 5:27–32.)
Matthew was writing down what actually happened. He wanted his readers to understand this. Look at the first words of his book. They seem to just tell Jesus’ family history. But it is probably more than this. Matthew was introducing the whole book. He was saying, ‘This book gives the history of Jesus Christ.’
Many of us know the word, Messiah. It is a common term for Christians today. However, the Jews of this time had been waiting for the Messiah for generations and generations. To a Jew, this meant the one who would save them.
The Old Testament is full of promises and prophecies about the Messiah who would come. Jews in Matthew’s time knew about the Messiah. The Romans had been their rulers for many years. Jews hoped that the ‘Christ’ would save them from the power of the Romans.
The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘he will certainly save’. Matthew 1:21 says, ” She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins . Jews expected the Christ to have the name of Jesus. So, many mothers gave this name to their sons. They hoped that their child would be the Messiah. This Jesus was the son of Mary.
But, Jesus came to save the Jews from much more than the Romans. He came to save them from the results and power of their sin. He came to establish a kingdom. His kingdom would be much greater than any other one.
2 Samuel 7:16
16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[a]; your throne will be established forever.’”
The Jews knew these passages. They are about the Messiah who would come. He would save them. The Jews would know him when he came. They were sure about this. Christ would come from the families of both Abraham and David. Matthew tells us that this was true about Jesus. He was ‘the son of David’. He was ‘the son of Abraham’.
The beginnings of families
People want to discover who their past family members were. The word for them is ‘ancestors’. Today, there are huge businesses created to help you connect with your ancestors. In many parts of the world, it has always been vital. The Jews kept careful records. Either the oldest members of the family would remember, or, they would write down the names. Matthew was writing especially to Jews. So, it was important to give proof. He must show that his claims about Jesus were true.
Matthew began his book with a list of names. He divided it into three sections. Each section has 14 names.
The first section begins with Abraham. He was the first man to have a promise like this from God. The promise was that God would send someone special. This person would be from Abraham’s family. He would come to save people. Genesis 12:1–3
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.[a]
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”[b]
The first section ends with David. He was the Jews’ greatest king (1:2–6a). So, Matthew showed the human part of God’s promise. David was the greatest member of Abraham’s family. This was true until the time when Matthew lived. But, after David had died, his kingdom divided. It became two separate parts. Then, it stopped being a great kingdom. But God gave greater promises to David in 2 Samuel 7. The person who would save them would be greater than David.
The second section continues with David’s family. It ends at the time of the exile.
Then there is the third section. This deals with the years from the exile to the birth of Jesus Christ. (This is in 1:12–17.) Some people claimed to be the Messiah. This happened even before the time of Matthew. But there was nobody who could convince the people. Then, Jesus came. Matthew shows that Jesus is the Messiah. All of God’s promises in the Old Testament come true in him.
Think about it.
Some people say that the stories about Jesus just contain truth. This religious truth is what matters. It is not important whether they actually happened. What would you say to these people?
What is the most important thing to tell non-Christians? What does your church group think? Matthew emphasised that ‘God saves’. Do you agree with him?
Jesus will establish a kingdom one day. Do you concentrate on this fact? Or, do you care more about what you can get from him now?
Can you see God’s plan running through history? Can you see how he laid it out from the beginning?