Monday, March 14, 2011

Matthew 1:1-17


The traditional way to view the Gospels is to see them as 4, but I would rather think in terms of 5-Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts. The first 4 provide different snapshots and Acts is a continuation of Luke. Here is an overview that might prove helpful:

Each of these books present a little different snapshot of Jesus. MATTHEW presents Jesus as the Messiah, the King. MARK presents Jesus as the Messiah, the Servant. LUKE presents Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of Man. JOHN presents Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. ACTS is the continuation of Luke's Gospel and really presents a revolutionary marketing plan.

The Gospel of Matthew quotes more of the Old Testament than the others, because it is aimed at a Jewish audience. I like this Gospel so much because of the many speeches by Jesus throughout. So much insight into His teachings can be gained from this book.

Many people have a difficult time beginning this book because of the list of impossible names. Matthew and Luke both present genealogies of Jesus, but they are different, different, yet the same generational lines flowing out of the family of David. The easiest way to understand the differences in these two genealogies is that Matthew presents the genealogy of Joseph and Luke presents the genealogy of Mary-both presenting the godly line of Jesus traced back to the family and throne of King David.

What's most interesting is that the godly line of the Messiah had to be traced back through Abraham and David, but after the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D., no one could lay claim to the Messianic lineage. The records were destroyed!

Now let's move through the genealogy. Pronounce the names the best you can. Just get through it, because there is a special gem on the other end.

From Abraham to David. 1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: You just can't get more Jewish than this! This is a book about the Jewish Messiah, whose lineage is from the father of the Jews-Abraham, and from the royal lineage of the great Jewish King David. The promise of the Messiah was that He would come through the line of David, of his family and all of the Jews believed this would be so. You wouldn't be able to convince any Jew that Jesus was the Messiah without this proof. He was also to be a descendant of Abraham. The promise was given in Genesis 12:3; 21:12.

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. 4 Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. 5 Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of David the king.

From David to Babylonian Captivity. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. 8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. 9 Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

From Babylonian Captivity to Messiah. 12 After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. 14 Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. 15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. 16 Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

NOTE the change of wording here. All of the "begetting" or the "father of" was used throughout, UNTIL we come to Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Matthew is careful to note that Joseph is not the father of Jesus, but listed as the husband of Mary. THEN "by whom" (Mary) Jesus was born and He was called the Messiah. Although Joseph was not the physical father of Jesus, He was still a descendant of the family of David.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

In Jesus' day it was unusual to find in a genealogy a woman's name, yet here we have four names. They are four women who are Gentiles. As you know, God in the Law said that His people were not to intermarry with pagan and heathen tribes. Even Abraham was instructed by God to send back to his people to get a bride for his son Isaac. Also, the same thing was done by Isaac for his son Jacob. It was God's arrangement that monotheism should be the prevailing belief of those who were in the line that was leading down to the Messiah. Yet in His genealogy are the names of four gentile women-two of them were Canaanites, one was a Moabite, and the fourth was a Hittite! So why?

"Tamar" is the first one. Her story is in Genesis 38, and there she is called Tamar. That chapter is one of the worst in the Bible. Tamar got into the genealogy, because she was a sinner.

"Rahab" is the next one mentioned. She's not a very pretty character in her story back in Joshua chapter 2 where she is called Rahab. But she did become a wonderful person after she came to a knowledge of the living and true God. "By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace" (Heb. 11:31). She got into the genealogy of the Messiah for the simple reason that she believed. Note the progression here. Come as a sinner and then reach out the hand of faith.

"Ruth" is the next one mentioned. She is a beautiful person and you won't find anything wrong with her. But at Ruth's time there was the Law which shut her out, because it said that a Moabite or an Ammonite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord (see Deut. 23:3). Although the Law kept her out, there was a man by the name of Boaz who came into his field one day and saw her. It was love at first sight. Boaz loved Ruth at first sight, and he extended grace to her by putting his mantle around her and bringing her, a Gentile, into the congregation of Israel. She asked, "Why have I found grace in your eyes?" (Ruth 2:10). You and I can ask that same question of God regarding His grace to us. Again, note the progression. We come as sinners and hold out the hand of faith, and He by His amazing grace brings salvation to us.

"Bathsheba", called "her that had been the wife of Uriah" (v. 6). She got into the genealogy of Christ because God does not throw overboard one of His children who sins. A sheep can get out of the fold and become a lost sheep, but we have a Shepherd who goes after sheep and always brings them back into the fold. He brought David back. So this is the whole story of salvation right here in this genealogy.

God's amazing grace. How sweet the sound.