This begins a series of devotionals that will bring us through the book of Matthew in order. Each devotional focuses on a passage in the book, with a Scripture Highlight that you can commit to memory. We hope these devotionals serve to edify and encourage you, leading you to love and enjoy God’s Word more and more!
Do you see Jesus as King and Saviour?
That is what the author of the book of Matthew aimed to persuade his original audience about, and thus the importance of starting the book with the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew was written to explain Jesus’ role as the promised sovereign king who brings about God’s Kingdom.
Through Jesus’ genealogy, the author made conscious efforts to show the connection between Jesus to both Abraham and David, right up with verse 1 (“Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”) and the last verse 17 (“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.”). This was to indicate that God’s promises to both of them would ultimately be fulfilled through Jesus.
“And I will make of you a great nation,
Genesis 12:2 was God’s promise to Abraham; that the nations would be blessed through his “offspring” (Genesis 12:18), who is none other than Jesus
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers,
Because of this promise that the Lord gave to King David in 2 Samuel 7, people had definite hopes on a King to make Israel great again.
As we can see, the genealogy of Jesus is much more than just a long list of names or a historical record. It presents Jesus Christ as the climatic fulfillment of God’s promises of a coming king and a new reign.
JESUS CHRIST SAVES
In the olden days, names were given with a hope that it would be an accurate representation of a person. This was also why names were taken with utmost seriousness. Of course, unlike God, we have no way of ensuring that the child would grow to be as his name describes.
The sovereign and truthful Lord, on the other hand, has the absolute right and power to ensure that the names He gives are sure indicators of one’s character and destiny. The Lord gave the name “Jesus” to His Son (verse 21), and in verse 16, we see that Jesus was also called “Christ”.
“Jesus” means “The Lord is Salvation”.
“Christ” means “The Anointed One”.
It is a proclamation to the nations that His Son is the one anointed with God’s power to save us all.
JESUS CHRIST SAVES SINNERS
One might think that the lineage of Jesus is made up of glamorous, righteous and moral individuals; those worthy to be of royalty. However, the genealogy of Jesus tells us otherwise.
Ahaz (v9) worshiped the pagan Gods and practiced human sacrifice. Rehobam (v7) and Jeconiah (v11) were just as bad. There was also Manasseh (v10) who “did more evil than the nations”; he promoted the worship of idols and murdered the innocent so much so that the Lord drove him out of Canaan (2 Kings 21:9-18). Half of the Kings in the genealogy were truly wicked!
Towards the end in verse 12, we see that Israel was suffering the consequences of sin – Jesus’ genealogical line lost their kingship and their wealth, having to be deported to Babylon. They were chased from their homes and made to live in exile. Evidently, they were unable to save themselves from the effects of sin, not to mention bring Israel the glory that it was promised.
Therefore, Jesus’ own people, His own family needed Him to save them from their sins! Jesus came not because mankind’s righteousness, but in spite of our sinfulness. Jesus came for (and through) the sinful, that we might be saved.
JESUS CHRIST SAVES BOTH JEWS & GENTILES
Jesus came not only for (and through) the sinful – He also came for (and through) the ethnically diverse. In the genealogy, the author of Matthew makes it clear that Jesus came through both Jews and Gentiles and will save both Jews and Gentiles. Jews were people who belonged to the twelves tribes of Israel, whereas Gentiles means “nations”, and refer to people belonging to any nation or people group other than the Jewish people group.
Abraham was pagan; a Gentile until God called him and brought him into the covenant. God chose Abraham to establish his people, Israel, through His promise in Genesis 12:2.
Three out of four women listed in the genealogy were known prostitutes or adulteresses, and they were Gentiles. Rahab (v5) was a Canaanite from Jericho; Ruth (v5) was a Moabite; Bathsheba (v6) married a Hittite and was probably one herself.
Jesus had Gentiles in His family line!
WHAT HAS IT GOT TO DO WITH ME?
Perhaps we need to remember that most of us are Gentiles, not Israelites – we were outsiders, not insiders. We were not God’s people (Israelites) at the start, and there was no reason for Jesus to die for mankind – not to mention Gentiles! Jesus’ death on the cross is so that we, the Gentiles, could also be part of God’s family alongside all who believe. We are saved by God’s sovereign grace which extends to all sinners – through all nations! And therefore Matthew ends with the Great Commission:
“And Jesus came and said to them,
Therefore, as receivers of His sovereign grace and magnificent gift of salvation, let us be messengers of it as well!
While reading and studying the book of Matthew, let us give glory to our Lord Jesus Christ – the promised sovereign king that brings about God’s Kingdom which we all long for.
With richest blessings from the Lord our God,
The B-read Team