Matthew 1.1-17 Thursday 17/12/15 10am


Matthew 1.1 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.

Some people spend a lot of time and effort tracing their ancestry. Sometimes I am able to help people trace their relatives using memorials in one of our churchyards.

The BBC has made 12 series of “Who do you think you are?” featuring celebrities finding out about their, sometimes less than perfect, ancestors.

Matthew's gospel was written primarily for Jews, and uses more references to the Old Testament than all of the other gospel together. The name Christ is the rough equivalent of the Hebrew "Messiah" or "Anointed One." In the Old Testament it refers generally to people anointed for a special purpose including priests, kings, & the patriarchs. It came to have particular reference to the King whom God would provide from David's line who would rule over Israel and the nations eventually

This introduction clearly demonstrates that Matthew's purpose in writing the gospel is to provide adequate proof for the investigator that the claims of Christ to be King and Saviour are justified. For this reason, the gospel of Matthew was considered by the early church one of the most important books of the New Testament and was given more prominence than the other three gospels

The Messiah needed to be a descendent of Abraham and of David

Abraham and David are important because God gave each of them a covenant. God vowed that He would unconditionally provide seed, land, and blessing to Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 12:1-3, 7; 15; et al.). Abraham would not only receive blessing from God, but he would also be a source of blessing to the whole world. God said that all peoples on earth would be blessed through a descendent of Abraham.

Jesus is that descendent. He would bring the blessings of salvation not to a small nation, but to many people and nations.

God's covenant with David. God guaranteed that David's descendants would rule over the kingdom of Israel forever. 2 Sam. 7:12-16; I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever… Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.”’

So, Matthew's reference to these two men reminds his readers of God's promises regarding a King who would rule over Israel and the universal blessing that He would bring.

After the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, God opened the doors of the church to Gentiles equally with Jews. Matthew's Gospel records the beginning of this change.

The inclusion of Tamar (v. 3), Rahab (v.5), and Ruth (v. 5) as well as Bathsheba (v. 6b) is unusual because the Jews traced their heritage through their male ancestors. Matthew's mention of each of these women reveals his emphases. Of the four mentioned three are immoral– Tamar fathered twins with her father-in-law by pretending to be a prostitute, Rahab was a prostitute and Bathsheba was an adulterer. Of these four, two (Tamar and Rahab) were Canaanites, one (Ruth) a Moabite, and one (Bathsheba) presumably a Hittite. They exemplify the principle of the sovereign grace of God, who not only is able to use the foreign, and perhaps even the disreputable, to accomplish his eternal purposes, but even seems to delight in doing so!

Matthew had a multiple purpose for including these women. He showed that Jesus came to include sinners in the family of God by seeking and saving the lost (cf. v. 21). Second, their inclusion shows the universal character of Jesus' ministry and kingdom. After the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, God opened the doors of the church to Gentiles equally with Jews. Matthew's Gospel records the beginning of this change. Reference to these women prepares the reader for the significant role Mary will play in the messianic line though, of course, she was neither a great sinner nor a foreigner.

If Jesus was on “Who do you think you are?” his ancestors would be revealed as being less than perfect. Yet God achieved his purposes through them. Matthew shows Jesus came for everyone, not just Jews, not just good people. God has come to earth as a baby for everyone, even us, our neighbours, friends, families. God can equally use us, with all our imperfections, to further his kingdom.