Beckett: Commentary on Matthew 1:1-17, The Genealogy of Christ

Matthew 1:1-17
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.

So, all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

I will not shy away from these first few verses of the New Testament as being a boring read. History tends to read that way. You probably skipped it, yet I encourage you to read it and see what names from the Old Testament you recognise so you can appreciate God the Father’s planning of sending Jesus as a human man.

Nevertheless, this text of Scripture is of high importance. As Scripture is God’s Word, every word spoken and written in the Scriptures as presented to us from God Himself has been written down for a purpose. God’s Word does not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11). What might the purpose of this text be, then?

St. Matthew in his gospel account is concerned with Christ as the Son of Man, the Messianic term the prophet Daniel utilised. While we certainly see Christ’s divinity in Matthew’s account, he emphasises Christ’s human nature (whereas St. John emphasises His divine nature). There are two things here, then.

First, just as surely as Christ is fully God, so He is also fully man. And second, here is genealogical evidence that this Jesus from Nazareth is the long awaited for Messiah, beginning with Abraham (St. Luke brings the beginning of the genealogy to Adam in 3:38).

St. Matthew (together with Luke) leaves no doubt that this Jesus of Nazareth is certainly the prophesied Son of Man. He is not merely a Rabbi, but the Son of Man. In total, 42 generations (v. 17), starting with Abraham. From Adam, many more generations. Who knows?

Since Jesus of Nazareth is most certainly the Son of Man—the Messiah—Judaism is a failed religion, since they are waiting for the Messiah when He has already come. They have utterly missed Him. Let us pray for them, then, that they no longer continue down their lost way.

Jesus is the Way (John 14:6). Thus, any way that does not have Christ is the wrong way, according to the words of Christ Himself. Let us not despise the Jews for their unbelief, but pity them and pray for them and proclaim the Gospel as St. Matthew and his contemporaries have presented it to us through the Holy Spirit.

Here is a helpful graphic of Jesus’ genealogy from Answers in Genesis:


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