A TALE OF THE UNEXPECTED
Lord, we Your Gentile bride acknowledge Your Jewish roots.
Read MATTHEW 1:1–17
The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] 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[c] 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.
a Matthew 1:1 Or is an account of the origin
b Matthew 1:1 Or Jesus Christ. Messiah (Hebrew) and Christ (Greek) both mean Anointed One; also in verse 18.
c Matthew 1:11 That is, Jehoiachin; also in verse 12
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
It is a remarkable feature of the Christian faith that we are part of a global family. Rejoice that you are not alone in coming into the Lord’s presence today.
In many parts of the world people are interested in their roots. It is fundamental to their sense of identity. They might be keen, for example, to trace their family tree, motivated by TV programs which track the heritage of a celebrity. Perhaps the opening verses of Matthew, with the long list of names across multiple generations, might be a surprise to some readers, but not for Jewish people. This is a significant element of their story. Matthew is very deliberate: the genealogy is an important strategy as he demonstrates that the carpenter who walked the shores of Galilee was in fact the fulfillment of God’s promises made over centuries, the focal point of God’s plans. Matthew is raising the most important question of all: who is he?
The list of names is significant at several levels. We notice that there are two giants of the faith: Abraham was the father of the race and David was the father of the royal family. But there is also a significant feature of the genealogy that says a great deal in a world of identity politics. There are also five named women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary. We know that this was highly unusual, since women would not normally feature in such an account. But more than this, look at the women whom Matthew lists: they have some checkered moral histories and some unexpected ethnic identities!
Whether Jew or Gentile, male or female, a pagan prostitute or a respectable Jew, they find themselves caught up in the story of the true deliverer, the Savior of the world. They underline the truth that Paul was later to explain and which is so significant today: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28, TNIV)
In a world of division, how can your church more truly celebrate the rich diversity of God’s family?
Lord, thank You for including me in Your massive family of souls of every conceivable race and ethnic background.