Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Matthew 1:1-17         The Genealogy of Jesus Christ                    WC McCarter
When the Christmas season comes every year, Luke’s account of the Savior’s birth is most often quoted and read. We will read selections from Luke during this month, but we will take a deeper look at what Matthew has to say. Today, we will look at the genealogy that Matthew offers us at the very beginning of his book. He will give us Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph and will demonstrate Jesus’ legal ancestry which will establish Him as a legitimate heir to the throne of David. One thing is certain, if Jesus is King, then He must come from a royal line. Matthew will verify that in today’s text.
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Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham
The opening verse of Matthew’s Gospel account states the main character. The subject of the book will be the person and work of Jesus Christ. Matthew gives Him three titles from the very beginning, three very Jewish titles. He is called Christ, the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham.
“Christ” is the Greek word for Messiah which means “Anointed One.” Jews during the first century had all sorts of ideas about who the Christ would be and what He would do when He appeared. One of the primary views was that He would physically conquer all of Israel’s enemies.
“Son of David” refers to Jesus’ messianic and royal lineage. Do you remember why Joseph went to Bethlehem for the census? He was of the house and lineage of David.
“Son of Abraham” refers back to Jesus’ Hebrew/Jewish heritage. Yet, we must also add that any Jewish reader of Matthew’s Gospel would have had thoughts of God’s promises to Abraham. The verses to remember are Genesis 12:1, 2, and 3 which say, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
“The book of the genealogy” refers to the origin of all we know about Christ. Matthew is setting out to tell how the plan of redemption was enacted during Jesus’ life and ministry. This is the beginning of a marvelous story of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice. Human history will be changed from this point on. All of Israel’s hopes and dreams, all of the prophecies and Scriptures are fulfilled in this One individual.
Fourteen Generations
It is clear that Matthew omits some names in order to maintain his literary symmetry, yet all of these names are listed in order to validate Matthew’s very first claim, that Jesus is the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. Thus, we see three divisions in Matthew’s record: the times of Abraham, the times of David, and the times of the Babylonian captivity which were all leading to the appearance of the Christ.
1) Five references are significant in this record: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. What do they all have in common? They are all women. To include women was “both unnecessary and unusual in Jewish genealogies” (Blomberg, 55). Yet, we can take this further. All five of the women have a common theme of suspicions of illegitimacy surrounding their childbearing. This will be a spring board for Matthew to argue that Mary’s conception is not suspicious at all, but profoundly miraculous. What is my point?

First, women have always been an important part of God’s plan. Women, never think that you have nothing to offer in service to God. We have been wonderfully created male and female. Each of us has a distinct set of abilities to use in His service.

Second, in each woman’s case, the scandal that surrounded them never hindered their spiritual characters. We have seen that Jesus consistently ministered to the outcast, scandalous, and disreputable sinners of the region. Jesus ministered to them, and Matthew has honored them simply by their inclusion in the record.
2) Jesus is Savior and King. You must submit to His Lordship. There is no such thing as having a Savior who is not Lord. The New Testament shows that the two go hand-in-hand. He first accomplished His plan of redemption and then was given the name which is above every name. How does this play out? Do not go on doing what is right in your own eyes. Do not follow your own selfish, sinful desires. Seek the truth which is found in Him. Obey His word and teach others to do the same.
3) There are a lot of sinners in Christ’s genealogy, and those are the people He came to save. I can say a few more things about this:

First, those who are in Christ must sin no more. He humbled Himself and became like a man. He put on flesh and blood and lived a sinless life. He then humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. We should strive to live a holy life in response to His love and grace.

Second, we should not pick and choose who we are going to minister to. Christ came to save sinners, and we should do the same.
            Third, do not allow your history to keep you from God. Whether you have a
             prestigious background or a poor background, either could keep you from God if you allow.
            God doesn’t care, and I don’t care, if your family was terrific or terrible. You are who you
             are, and you are safe and special in Christ.