Matthew 1:1—The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.
Whenever I come to a section of Scripture that is a genealogy or a long list of names, my tendency is to quickly skim through it and move on. After all, why spend time reading a list of names? This year for my daily quiet time I decided to read through Scripture and include the study notes in my Holman Study Bible. I was quite blessed by what I learned about Matthew 1:1-17 which is the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
1. The phrase, “the historical record of Jesus Christ,” is unusual. Usually a genealogy is named after the oldest ancestor whom the Jews would have considered most important since all were derived from that person. That Matthew names his genealogy after Jesus implies that He is more important than Abraham. That he writes Jesus Christfurther substantiates Him as the Messiah.
2. Matthew identifies Jesus as the Son of David which immediately validated all the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah descending from the line of King David (2 Samuel 7:16, Isaiah 9:2-7).
3. Matthew identifies Jesus as the Son of Abraham which “implies that just as Abraham was the father of national Israel, Jesus will be the founder of a new spiritual Israel.”
4. Four Gentile women are mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy. The inclusion of Tamar a Canaanite; Rahab from Jericho; Ruth a Moabitess; and Bathsheba who was most likely a Hittite; is remarkable! From this we discern that it was God’s intention to redeem not just the Jews but also Gentile men and women.
5. Matthew’s work coincides remarkably well with 1 Chronicles 1-3 and Luke 3:23-38 from the generation of Abraham to David. Given that genealogies could follow either legal or biological progression, the discrepancies between the different lists can be explained and are remarkably well preserved. The Jews took special pride in recording their descendents especially with respect to the line of David since the Messiah was prophesied to come through his line.
6. Matthew identified a human mother but not a human father of Jesus, implying His virginal conception.
7. The arrangement of Jesus’ genealogy into three sets of 14 generations was probably an example of gematria. Gematria is a system which gives a numerical value to alphabetical letters (A=1, B=2, etc). If Matthew wrote in Hebrew, which many scholars contend, then the numerical value of the letters which make up David is 14! Matthew may actually be artistically highlighting Jesus’ Davidic lineage.
In essence, even a list in Scripture can reveal much to us if we will just take the time to study it carefully. That God is so intentional about history ought to encourage us with both the depth of His sovereign planning and the breadth of His love for humanity. Therefore, even a list can strengthen our faith and give us pause to worship afresh, our Awesome Savior!
©2012 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
HCSB Study Bible, ©2010, pp. 1608,1609