Good Morning Briercrest,
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud,and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ (Matthew 1:1-16).
I was 11 years old when I became a Christian. I had a little burgundy New Testament that I had been given from the Gideons and the above passage was the first thing I read from the Bible. I was so conscientious. I read every word very carefully, subvocalizing each phrase – but even in my head I couldn't pronounce most of these names. Naturally, I had no idea that what I was reading was deeply significant.
This passage shows us that Jesus was human. While the full birth narrative describes the wonder of the incarnation, here we are impressed with the reality that Jesus was a flesh and blood human. He knew hunger, thirst, fatigue, and temptation. He was God and Man. Why is this so critical? Because Jesus was the bridge; the mediator; the unique connector between a Holy God and wayward human beings. A mediator would have to share both worlds.
This passage shows us that Jesus was a legal heir to the throne of Israel. This account records Jesus legal lineage through the line of Joseph. If you go to the Luke account (Luke 3:23-37) it appears we may have the biological lineage through Mary. If Jesus was going to be both Messiah and King, he had to be from the line of kings.
This passage also connects Jesus to two significant Jewish covenants. Genesis tells us how Abraham was to become the father of a great nation. This was the Abrahamic covenant. Jesus was a Hebrew of the line of Abraham and was a fulfillment of this critical covenant. There is also a second covenant. 2 Samuel 7 records what has come to be known as the Davidic Covenant. From David's line would come an eternal king who would establish an eternal throne.
This passage displays the grace of God because Jesus came from a line of sinful people. This family tree is not comprehensive and in Matthew there are 3 groupings of 14. Scholars are not entirely sure why. However, what I think is significant is identifying who is listed in the genealogies. There were women who stirred some level of controversy: Tamar, who had an incestuous relationship with her father-in-law, Rahab, who was a prostitute and a gentile, Ruth, who was also a gentile, Bathsheba, who had an adulterous relationship with David, and Mary. We think of Mary as godly, and she was, but she lived the rest of her days under the scandal and accusation that Jesus was an illegitimate child. Then there were men who displayed moral failures. They too are included: the patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all manifested deceit, compromise and lies. There were common men like Perez and Hezron and kings like Manasseh and Rehoboam. These two kings were desperately wicked men; men we would compare to the likes of Stalin or Hitler. Few of these reputations are squeaking clean, yet God's grace prevails over this family tree.
However, this passage chiefly shows us that Jesus, as King, has the right to rule. He has the right to rule Israel. Recall how the inscription above Jesus on the cross stated: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" (John 19:19). Jesus has the legal right to rule Israel, the sovereign right to rule the world – as the King of Kings and he has the personal right to rule over you and me. As we celebrate this Christmas, let's reflect on this King's arrival and his rule in our lives!
Partnering together in a spirit of submission,
Michael B. Pawelke, DMin