The Genealogy of Jesus Christ – Matt 1:1-16
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Dec. 15th, 2019
- This morning we are starting our two-part Christmas mini-series from the opening lines of the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel of Matthew was written with the Jewish people in mind, whereas the Gospel of Mark was written to everyone. Because of this focus, Matthew starts his story about Jesus with a long genealogy. Genealogies to the Jewish people were very, very important because from them your identity can be traced and verified that you indeed are a “child of Abraham,” who is the father of the Jewish people.
- Genealogies were also important to properly identify the rightful Messiah, because Jews were rightfully and biblically taught that the Messiah was to come from the line of both Abraham and David. This is why the Gospel of Matthew starts with this line:
Matt 1:1 ESV
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
- Why are these two mentioned first, and why are they important? They are important because God made promises to both of these men. To David He said:
2 Sam 7:16-17 ESV
And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.'”
- And to Abraham He said:
Gen 12:2-3 ESV
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
- The ultimate fulfillment of both of these promises, of an eternal kingdom and throne and of a great nation, and great name and a blessing to all the families of the earth was to be fulfilled in the Messiah. The Messiah had to be a physical descendent of both of these men.
- Matthew starts with these two up front and gives the Jewish reader a “heads up” right from the beginning that this was not a regular genealogy, but he wanted to point out that Jesus Christ was a physical descendent of both David and Abraham pointing that He was qualified and had the right lineage to be the Messiah.
- As Matthew traces the lineage of Jesus, the Holy Spirit directed him to intentionally include five women. Each of these five women have a unique story and by including them in the family line of Jesus, the message is communicated that God intentionally includes in His family those who are disregarded, entrapped, destitute, victimized and common. This is the most important genealogy in the entire world. Where one would expect it to be only of “nobility,” God intentionally includes those that the world looks down on. This gives all of us hope knowing who God chooses as members of His family. It also increases His glory and produces thanksgiving in our heart.
1 Cor 1:26-31 ESV
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
- So, let’s continue to read about the family of Jesus:
Matt 1:2-3a ESV
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar,
Tamar the disregarded
- Of the five women listed, Tamar is the one I am guessing you are the most unfamiliar with. Her story is recorded in Gen. 38. She was the wife of the oldest son of Judah, Er. Er was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him. Because they had no children, it was the responsibility of the next brother to “raise up offspring” by her so his brethren’s line would continue. But the second son Onan did not want to father children for his deceased brother and intentionally did not impregnate Tamar. The Lord saw this as wicked and put him to death also.
- Judah (the father) then told Tamar to remain as a widow in her father’s house until the third son (Shelah) grew up. Judah was scared that Shelah would die as well and did not keep his promise to Tamar. After the course of time, after Shelah had grown up, Tamar tricked her now widowed father-in-law to impregnate her. Judah said that she “was more righteous than I because I did not give her to my son Shelah.”
- God chose to have the genealogy of His Son to come through the line of one who was disregarded, and He intentionally mentioned her in this list while omitting Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel to make a point of who He chooses. God intentionally includes those who are disregarded in His family line to show His greatness through His grace and God still chooses these people today.
Matt 1:3b–5a ESV
and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab,
Rahab the entrapped
- Rahab was a prostitute and her story is recorded in Joshua 2 & 6. I have known former prostitutes and heard their stories. Every single one of them was entrapped into doing so out of desperation or addiction. Rahab, it is safe to say, was in a similar situation. She was a resident of Jericho when Joshua and the Jewish people marched against it. She believed that the God of the Jews was the God of heaven and earth, and she added them on their quest and asked that they deal kindly with her and her extended family (even though they may have disowned her).
- Rahab and her family were indeed spared, and she became the wife of Salmon and was chosen to be in the line of Jesus the Messiah. She is mentioned in the “hall of faith” in Heb. 11:31 because of her immense faith and also mentioned by James as an example of someone who expresses their faith by actions (James 2:25). God intentionally includes those who are entrapped in His family line to show His greatness through His grace and God still chooses these people today.
Matt 1:5b ESV
and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth,
Ruth the destitute
- Ruth’s story is recorded in the book by her name in the Old Testament. There was a famine during the time and the family moved out of Israel to the country of Moab. While there, the men of the family, her husband, her brother-in-law and her father-in-law, died. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, told Ruth to return to her father’s house and her family. Ruth chose to stay loyal to Naomi, her family and her God.
- God met Ruth and Naomi in their despiration by providing for them and giving Ruth a husband and redeemer from the family line. God intentionally includes those who are destitute in His family line to show His greatness through His grace and God still chooses these people today.
Matt 1:5c-6 ESV
and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,
Bathsheba the victimized
- First, I like how this is recorded, “David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” There is an acknowledgement that Bathsheba at that time was not the wife of David, but the wife of Uriah and the Bible highlights this unsavory fact.
- The story of Bathsheba is recorded in 2 Sam. 11 & 12 and also in 1 Kings 1 &2. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah who was one of David’s top military commanders. While the army was out fighting, David stayed back (even though he was to be with them). While he was in his palace, he saw Bathsheba bathing and wanted her. He took her and impregnated her and tried to cover it up but failed. He then killed Uriah her husband by the hand of his enemies and married her to cover it up. David did not fool the Lord and payed dearly for what he had done.
- God could have chosen any one of David’s sons to be the line in which the Messiah would be born, but he intentionally chose the son of Bathsheba, the one who was a victim of power and passion to include in the family line of Jesus. God intentionally includes those who are victimized in His family line to show His greatness through His grace and God still chooses these people today.
- After a long line of other who are listed in the genealogy of Jesus we come to the last women on our list, her name was Mary.
Matt 1:16 ESV
and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
Mary the common
- Mary the Mother of Jesus is mentioned in all four gospels and the book of Acts. The most extensive telling of her story is in the first two chapters of the gospel of Luke. The reason I call Mary “the common” is because of her prayer of praise in her response to being told by the Angel Gabriel that she was the one who had been chosen to bear the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:31-32). She called herself twice someone of “humble estate” – which means that she did not have much and was from a normal, everyday common family.
- God chose, from all of the people of the earth, a common, country girl of no fame or fortune to be the Mother of the Messiah. And He did so intentionally to communicate a message that all of us common folk can be included as part of the royal family of God. God intentionally includes those who are common in His family line to show His greatness through His grace and God still chooses these people today.
- In the family line of the genealogy of the arrival of Jesus, God made sure to record and remember those who were chosen to be a part of His family, the disregarded, the entrapped, the destitute, the victimized and the common. This is the greatness of God displayed in His wisdom and His grace.
1 Cor 1:27 ESV
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
- God makes us worthy to be a part of His family, by His grace in choosing us. This is the God that we serve, and this is the family we are a part of. May your heart be filled with gratitude for His goodness and grace to us all!