Monday, November 29, 2010

The Lineage of the Messiah - Matthew 1:1-17

In the midst of a world that was seeking temporal pleasure— in the midst of a world that refused to worship God— in the midst of this world, there were some people who were awaiting deliverance. This group of people was expecting the Messiah, who according to the Scriptures, would be a descendant of David (see The Messiah the Jews Expected).

The Gospel of Matthew begins with a record of Jesus' genealogy:
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: (Matthew 1:1)
The first verse of Matthew specifically points out two significant men in Jesus' genealogy: One of them is Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. The other is David, one of the great kings (a man after God's heart) who had formerly ruled God's people.

Matthew's purpose in mentioning these two men is likely done in order to show that Jesus is genealogically qualified to be the Messiah. The Scriptures are clear that the Messiah must be a descendant of David:
I have made a covenant with My chosen;
I have sworn to David My servant,
I will establish your seed forever
And build up your throne to all generations. (Psalm 89:3-4)
By stating that Jesus is the son of David (and is therefore also the son of Abraham), Matthew shows that Jesus is qualified to be the Messiah. The next several verses of this genealogy explore Jesus' lineage in greater detail. Beginning with Abraham, Matthew traces Jesus' genealogy to Joseph, the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah (Matthew 1:16).

Compared to other genealogies in Scripture, Matthew's genealogy is unique in that it includes several women. Some of these women were prostitutes, saved by God's grace, a reminder of man's sin and need for deliverance. Throughout the genealogy, Matthew stops at certain points to provide historical commentary; the most notable of which is the mentioning of David, Bathsheba and Uriah.

Matthew's record of Jesus' genealogy contains many familiar names: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Boaz, Ruth, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and more. All of these people did not have the same amount of revelation that exists today. This lengthy genealogy should be an excellent reminder of the many people throughout history who did not live to see the Messiah. Many in this genealogy anticipated the Messiah's deliverance, but in this present age, men should look back with excitement at the deliverance that Christ brought. What a tragedy it is when the cross becomes commonplace!

Related Posts:
The Genealogy Introduced - Genesis 5:1-2
The Gospel (Part 1 of ∞) - The Christian Worldview
The Virgin Birth - Matthew 1:18
Isaiah's Prophecy: It's Fulfillment (Part 1) - Matthew 1:22-23
Jesus' Purpose: To Save His People From Their Sins (Part 1) - Matthew 1:21

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