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The Genealogy

Updated: May 2, 2022

Matthew 1

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. Matthew 1:17

Dear Christian,

Now that we've graduated from our first study on the basics of what it means to be a Christian I really want to focus on building that foundation of our understanding of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. While I may break this study into different parts so that we can study other things in between these books of the Gospel, I really want this foundation of our faith to be available to all who visit Equipped For The Kingdom early on. That way when we start exploring Theology, Church History, Christian Literature, and more we'll have these truths to come back to again and again (not that you couldn't do that for yourself in your own study of Scripture) I just feel a responsibility to teach the basics well rightly handling the Word of Truth before we get into the more controversial issues.

Now, there was a time in my life when I would totally skip over the genealogies in Scripture. They were boring, had a lot of really hard to pronounce names, and I simply didn't understand what importance they could have to the overall story/lesson I was reading. As I matured in my faith and took on the challenge of reading the Bible from cover to cover I discovered how amazing these records really are. The genealogy in Matthew is especially cool because it gives us a bird's eye view of what God has been doing since the fall of Adam in order to restore His people to Himself. It shows us the thread tying all of the Old Testament to the wonderful work of Christ that is about to be accomplished in the New Testament. Some of the names on this list are probably familiar to you, as you read the chapter below I encourage you to look up the stories of those you maybe aren't so familiar with and contemplate why they too were included in the Messiah's family line.

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, Matthew 1:1-2

You can find Abraham's story in Genesis chapters 12-20, you'll learn a little about Isaac in there as well, but his story takes over in full force Genesis chapters 21 through 26. Then Jacob, whom Israel is named after and his sons from chapter 27 through the end of Genesis. It's a story rich with the complicated life of family, the mistakes we make when we don't wait for God's perfect timing in His plan for our lives, and the grace God has on us through those mistakes.

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, Matthew 1:3-4

The story of Tamar is maybe one of the ones you aren't so familiar with. She is one of five women mentioned in the genealogy where women traditionally were not mentioned at all. So it is noteworthy that she is included. You can find her story in Genesis 38. We actually don't hear much about any of the other men in this list after Judah, but you can get an idea of what was going on in their lives from Exodus through Judges.

and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, Matthew 1:5

Here we have two more noteworthy women in the genealogy. While we don't know how Rahab came to be married to Salmon we do see her courageous act of protecting two Israelite spies who had come to her hometown of Jericho. When the city is destroyed her family is saved because of her faith and act of courage. You can find the whole account in Joshua chapters 2 and 6. Ruth is the third woman mentioned in the genealogy alongside Rahab's son Boaz. It should be pretty easy to find their story, just read the book of Ruth.

and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, Matthew 1:6

Speaking of a bird's eye view, we actually spend quite a lot of time in the Old Testament learning about King David. You can find his story from 1 Samuel chapters 16 through 31, the book of 2 Samuel, and 1 Kings chapters 1 through 2. For the story of our fourth woman in the genealogy, the wife of Uriah, go to 2 Samuel chapters 11-12. David is described by God as a man after His own heart, but he is also a deeply flawed man who makes a lot of mistakes. I love how we get a picture into David's relationship with God through the many Psalms that he wrote some as worship, some as cries for deliverance, and some as repentance when he had really messed up. What is most evident in these Psalms is David's absolute confidence in the grace and mercy of God.

and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, Matthew 1:7

After the scandalous birth of Solomon, you'll learn more about his story in 1 Kings chapters 3 through 11. The sad legacy of King Solomon's life is that the rest of his descendants who reigned over a divided Israel were said to follow in the way of their father David when they chose to follow God and his law, but were said to follow after their father Solomon when they were tyrants consumed by idolatry and controlled by their wives. You'll find their stories from 1 Kings chapter 12 through the end of 2 Kings, as well as 1 and 2 Chronicles... but you'll also get a picture of what was going on under their reigns in the books of the prophets. On a bright note, we also get the Books of Wisdom from Solomon which are well worth studying and applying to our lives at any age.

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. Matthew 1:8-11

To learn more about the reigns of these Kings and why God allowed them to be led into exile in Babylon you should study the prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah.

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 1:12-16

The rest of the story leading up to the birth of Jesus is also found in the prophets as well as the book of Esther. If you want to know what life would have been like for this fallen royal family read: Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. In short, they would have gone from the most powerful people in their nation to prisoners, and then to ordinary Israelites with nothing much special about them at all. In fact, Jesus' own neighbors recognize him only as the son of the carpenter Joseph of Nazareth (a rural province of almost no importance).

And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” Matthew 13:53-56

Yet, God had chosen this family to bring about His mercy for all who believe in His Son, accept His sacrifice on their behalf, and repent from their wicked ways.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25

Throughout the rise and fall of nations, leaders, and the Temple itself we find this thread constantly pointing to the coming Messiah. Each in their own time these individuals reflected our absolute need for a Savior, even David a man after God's own heart, could not live up to God's standard of righteousness. The chosen people were broken, they would not stop serving idols no matter how much God had done for their deliverance in the past. By the time Jesus was born, many had come wearing the mantle of "political and physical deliverer" that the Israelites believed they had been promised. All of these had died and their followers had been scattered.

Unless you understand the true deliverance that Christ was coming to offer His people and the world, it's baffling to try and understand why He would come as a helpless infant born under socially suspicious circumstances. Yet, He didn't charge in as the frightening commander of angel armies come to deliver the judgment His creation so well deserves! Perhaps it was difficult to see while living under the tyranny of Rome, but the salvation of our souls to be made righteous before God is a far greater deliverance than any we could have ever hoped for!

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