The King Arrives
“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. 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 1:1–25, ESV)
Clarity For The Storyline
The storyline of the Bible is: God created everything, sin entered the world, God rescues his people from sin through Jesus, and one day he will restore all things. There is a division found in the one-volume library known as the Bible. This demarcation splits the library into two major sections, and Matthew is the first book in the second part of the book. The arrival of Jesus is the plot development that causes this important division. Make no mistake; it is not divided because the story has changed, it bifurcates because the hero has arrived. This arrival was not an accident or the product of chance; it was the plan of God from eternity past. Matthew connects the testaments as he traces Jesus from Abraham who was the patriarch of the Jewish people. Jesus must be understood in light of the Old Testament, just as the Old Testament is to be interpreted in light of Jesus. The history of redemption anticipates the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus came from an actual family, and that family line demonstrates the faithfulness of God. Jesus is God, but he is also a man. This genealogy also legitimizes Jesus' divine claims. Jesus is a King and an heir to David's crown.
Grace, Purpose, Redemption
This ancestor list reveals God's grace, purpose, and redemption. The names on this list include liars, deceivers, betrayers, prostitutes, and Gentiles. These were not pristine saints that were morally superior to everyone else; these were broken people showing that salvation belongs to the Lord. The list includes kings and indicates that God was preserving a seed for David in spite of spiritual degeneration. The kings listed show the succession found in the southern kingdom demonstrating God's power in keeping his promises. The exile to Jesus emphasizes God's saving work in the world. God did not abandon his people, and he worked in spite of their disobedience and faithlessness. God was moving to the apex of his revelation and the completion of his redemptive work through Jesus.
The universe dances to God's song. All these generations had waited for the promised Messiah and now in the fullness of time God would enter time and become like one of his creatures. God's people must have wondered if God had forgotten or abandoned them but God is always accomplishing his good purpose. Time, history, and creation all converge at God's behest on an ordinary carpenter and his betrothed, Mary. Matthew gives the account from Joseph's point of view. Matthew casually includes that Mary was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. This must have been difficult news to hear and process. The woman you are pledged to is now expecting, and you are certain that you are not the father. The story explains that Joseph was just and that he did not want to expose Mary to public shame. He loves her, but he decides to divorce her quietly. As he considers these matters and wrestles with all the emotions associated with this devastating news, an angel visits him in a dream. He addresses Joseph with his pedigree and tells him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. It must have brought some comfort to know that she had not been unfaithful to him. He is given the news that they will have a son, and his name is to be Jesus because he would save people from their sins. Matthew alludes to a much earlier point in the story and declares the ultimate interpretation for one of the prophecies of Isaiah. God would be with his people in a manner never experienced. When Joseph awoke, he took Mary as his wife, but he did not exercise his marital privilege until after she had given birth to Jesus. They obeyed God and welcomed the king into their humble estate.