The Genealogy Of Jesus
Good morning church. Our bible reading today will come from Matthew 1:1-17. It will come from Matthew 1:1-17 and it reads as follows, “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 Aminadab, and Aminadab 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 Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah 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.” This is the word of the Lord
Let’s bow our heads and pray as we come to God’s word. Lord Jesus we pray that we will see you as we open your word. That you’ll speak to us this morning and as your servant I pray so that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart will be acceptable to you oh God our strength and our redeemer, Amen.
Imagine you are going through your bible reading plan and you’ve just completed the old testament you are so excited because now you enter the new testament you’re about to encounter Jesus his life and his person. You now open the gospel of Matthew and there you are welcomed by this genealogy that Nyeleti just read for us.
I’m not sure about you but if you are like me if I don’t skip the first 16 verses that Nyeleti read for us what I will do I just give a quick glance just to make peace with myself that at least I saw a few familiar names like Abraham and David before I can carry on. And of course one does this until this passage you always skip becomes the passage you have to preach on and then you have no escape.
The Importance Of The Genealogy For Israelites
What is so important about this genealogy? I think a genealogy gives us a sense of belonging. You will be confident to say, “This is my lineage this is where I belong.” And people who know you will be able to trace your lineage they can say, “Of course we know that person that is father that is grandfather.” For instance you can say or people who know me will say we know Raphael he is a Mukanya his dad is also his grandfather was also Mukanya so they can trace me where I belong. You might have heard from the news in October that a lady of 52 years old by the name of Delphine Boël who was acknowledged as Belgian princess Delphine of Saxe-Cobourg after a two decade royal paternity scandal. So basically the king of Belgium had an extra marital affair he had a girl, a daughter and he never acknowledged her. And then princess Delphine said when she was going to court that going to court was all about getting family recognition and the love of a father who had always cold-shouldered her. “For me to go to court,” she says, “especially for that to be recognized by my own blood, my own father felt so unnatural.” She told reporters. “It is a sort of unnatural life I was living that was most painful.” The 52 year old said during an emotional press conference.
Coming back to the Jewish culture the purpose of Jewish genealogy was to emphasize the purity of one’s Israelite lineage or ancestry. It was very important for Jewish people to trace their family tree, their lineage especially if you are from a royal line or if you are from a priest line. As a matter of fact Herod the great that you read in the new testament he was so embarrassed that as half Jew and half Edomite his name was not in the official genealogies that he ordered their destruction so that no one could name a pure pedigree than his own. We read in Ezra 2:62 that when people from Israel return from the exile they searched for their family records and they could not find them. And what happened? As a consequence they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean because they couldn’t find their record. You can see how the genealogy was so important especially for the people of Israel.
Importance Of Genealogy In New Testament
But what is important about this genealogy that you are looking at? Why is this genealogy in Matthew important? Well it helps the Jewish believers or the Jewish followers of the Messiah from the first century to whom this genealogy was written, and of course for us today, it helps them to validate Jesus as the Messiah. So this genealogy traces the lineage of Jesus as it links him to Abraham and David. in fact the formula that Matthew uses the book of the genealogy that formula was used also in the old testament when you look in Genesis 5. And whenever that formula was used what will come after will be the descendants of the person whom the genealogy is described. So for instance in Genesis 5 when they say the book of the genealogy of Noah so they give the descendants of Noah because Noah is a reference point. But you can see here it’s a bit different so they say the book of the genealogy of Jesus but Jesus they don’t give the descendants because he didn’t have one instead they give the ancestry of Jesus. What does that mean to us? it shows that Jesus is the climax of this genealogy he is the reason of all history.
No wonder why Matthew can confidently call Jesus the Christ or the Messiah in verse 1 and verse 16 because he is a fulfilment of the promises made to Abraham and to David. You remember to Abraham God said through his seed all the nations of the world will be blessed and to David that his throne and kingdom will be established forever before the Lord. So when in verse 1 he calls Jesus son of Abraham he really confirms Jesus to be the Israelite. No one could doubt with that.
And when he calls him Son of David he recalls the messianic title. People from Israel would have known who David was how great this king was. So what Matthew is saying here, he’s saying that this Jesus he is the Messiah and this will not go unnoticed to the Jewish people of the 1st century because they all knew who Abraham was. They all knew who David was. And in verse 17 we found that this genealogy is carefully arranged in the in three groups of 14 names or fourteen generations each. From verse two to verse six we have the generations from Abraham to David. From verse six to verse eleven we have the generations from David up to the exile from 12 to verse 16 we have the generation from exile up to Jesus.
You’ll notice that Matthew did not intend for this genealogy to be comprehensive and cover everything so he skips some names of some generation for a purpose. He’s trying to be very selective as he’s trying to show us that this Jesus he is the Messiah, he’s the one who was promised to Abraham and to David. He fulfils the promises to Abraham and David. And when you compare this piece of genealogy to the one that Luke wrote in Luke chapter 3 and verse 23 you will see that Luke is very exhaustive in fact because he was a historian. So you’ll see that he includes everything, all the names. But Matthew does not include because he has a purpose in mind, he wants us to see that Jesus is really the promised Messiah. So these 16 verses are given to us to trace the pedigree of Jesus from Abraham to David and from David to the family in which Jesus was born. So Matthew has put together a good piece about Jesus’s genealogy and that is really very rich in content. So we won’t be able to explore all the details of this genealogy otherwise we might spend the whole morning here and maybe that’s a reason why I used to skip these first 16 verses whenever I read it.
Jesus Is The Messiah
But the question is what do we learn from this genealogy? Six points of application that will help us to understand this genealogy. By the way as a good Anglican pastor I had three points but then I noticed that I didn’t have any side road so I just decided to double my points to six. straight points that will help us to understand this passage. First one Jesus is the Messiah. In the first century anyone could claim to be the Messiah and in the passage that we have here Matthew is doing the same but he is claiming Jesus to be the Messiah. And because he makes such claim he has to prove that really Jesus is the Messiah. So from verse one Matthew sets his account of Jesus as linked to the old testament Abraham and David. So Matthew in this genealogy is not ashamed to make the claim that Jesus is the Messiah. He’s God’s anointed king, the Christ, the Messiah. And he does so as he shows us that Jesus is a fulfilment of the promise God made to Abraham of blessing all the nations of the world through his seed. We find that in Genesis 12:1-3. He also makes that as he said that Jesus is a fulfilment of the promise that God meant to David that he will establish a king on the throne of David and his reign will have no end. We read that in 2 Samuel 7. This means Jesus is God’s king who ushers the kingdom of God.
And if this is what Jesus is the question for you and for me this morning is what are you doing with him? What am I doing with this Jesus? Will you keep rejecting him or will you turn to him in repentance? Because he is God’s king who ushers God’s kingdom.
What are you doing with this Jesus? Will you keep rejecting him or will you turn to him in repentance? Because he is God’s king who ushers in God’s kingdom.
God Is Sovereign
Point two, God is sovereign. Point one, Jesus is the Messiah. Point two, God is sovereign. so from this genealogy it comes clear that nothing can stop the fulfilment of God’s promises. We encounter in this genealogy people like king David. And you remember that king David’s criminal act against Uriah and the adultery with Bathsheba resulted in the split of the kingdom after the reign of his son Solomon. So we encounter king David in this genealogy. We also encounter evil kings like rehoboam, jehoram, Ahaz, Manasseh, Amon who all did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.
At the end even evil serves God’s purpose because he is in total control. God is in sovereign control of life and history and is worthy of our trust
This genealogy also mentions people during the time of exile and you know that the exile time was the lowest point in the life of the kingdom of Israel. In fact many people would have thought that God has failed them, his promises will never be fulfilled. And some could even think that maybe the Messiah we’ve been waiting was David because during David’s reign that was the golden age in the life of Israel. But in spite of having people like David, in spite of having all this evil king, in spite of having the exile, all this serves God’s purpose of bringing the Messiah. At the end even evil serves God’s purpose. So God is in total control. God is in sovereign control of life and history and he is worthy of our trust. I will say it again. God is in sovereign control in life and history and he is worthy of our trust.
God Keeps His Word
If God is in sovereign control of everything surely keeping his word will just be a normal outcome of who he is. This genealogy has demonstrated that what God said thousands of years before regarding the coming of the Messiah is happening or has happened. If you and me were asked just to predict what will happen tomorrow I’m not sure we will be able to do that. Or maybe if we have to narrow it down what will happen in your day tomorrow? You might have a big picture. Well I’ll wake up in the morning I’ll go to the office I’ll have two or three meetings but you won’t even be able to work out all the details how everything will fit together. But God is not man. Not only he knows everything and knows all that will happen but he always keeps his promises. God will never tell you, “You know darling I promise that during these holidays maybe we will go and visit your family, the in-laws, but you know now you know with this Corona we can’t travel anymore. Or maybe something came out of the office you know I have to stay and do some more work.” And by the way I’m told that men like their in-laws each other not big fans of visiting them all the time.
So God will never apologize for that because he is he’s not a man, he is God. He always keeps his word he always keeps his promises. God will never tell you, “Please forgive me I promised to do this but suddenly something happened, I couldn’t.” No he will never do that, he always keeps his word. What he promises he fulfils and what he says he does. And actually this is a scary thought if you think about it because this is the same God who tells us that if we do not repent we will perish. But also he tells us that all who trust in his son will be saved. How serious are we to take these words now that we know that God always keeps his promises? How serious are we to take these words of God, “if you don’t repent you will perish but if you trust in his son you will be saved”?
God Is Humble
Point one, Jesus is the Messiah. Second, God is sovereign. Third, God always keeps his word. Fourth God is humble. The creator of this universe could have decided to bring his son without needing any human or earthly family. He could have pulled the coming of Jesus the same way he pulled his ascension going to heaven without needing any human intervention or lineage. Or he could have preserved the line of Jesus in a sinless lineage. But he chose to send his son in lineage of sinners like you and me. A lineage that includes murderers, thieves, prostitutes. That’s the lineage that God chose to send his son through Jesus took the human flesh so that he could bear all our weaknesses upon himself when he died on that cross. If he was not ashamed to be born in such a lineage why do you think that he will be ashamed of you? Why do you think he will be ashamed to call you brother or sister when you turn to him in repentance?
God Heals The Broken
Five, God heals the broken. Everyone in this genealogy of Jesus is sinful and broken except Jesus himself. But the question is what do these people do with their brokenness? What is the attitude of their hearts? We know how David behaved. He arranged the killing of Uriah and he took Uriah’s wife. But when he was confronted what did he do? We all know psalm 51. He repented, he went before God with a broken heart. In 2 chronicles 33 we read about this king Manasseh who was also part of the lineage of Jesus. It is said that this king Manasseh was the worst of the kings of Judah so he did everything that you can think of that is evil. But we read that after almost 50 years of doing what he was doing he was also confronted and he repented he humbled himself and God forgave him. So what is the attitude of your heart? Will you be honest before God, admit your brokenness and your sin, and cry out for forgiveness? Jesus wants to heal you, he knows that we are all broken that is why he came that is why he died on the cross on our behalf. Isn’t this morning a great opportunity for you if you haven’t turned to Jesus to acknowledge your need to be made right with this God and give your life to Jesus?
The Gospel Is For All
Final point, the gospel is for all people. Point one, Jesus is the Messiah. Two, God is sovereign. Three, God always keeps his promises or his word. Four, God is humble. Five, God heals the broken. And six, the gospel is for all people. This genealogy of Jesus that Matthew gives us includes all groups of people. You will notice that Matthew even include four women and Mary being the fifth. And you wonder, “What’s wrong? Why four women? Why do I have to mention that?” Of course in our world today it’s normal when tracing the genealogy to include both men and women but in the ancient Greek and Jewish cultures a woman had no legal rights. She could not inherit property or give testimony in a court of law. She was completely under her husband’s shadow of power.
One commentator says she was seen less as a person than as an object or a thing. And he even says the Jewish man thanked God each day that he had not been created a slave a gentile or a woman. That’s how bad it was. And yet here we have Matthew mentioning four women in this genealogy of Jesus. For gentile women. And what kind of women is Matthew mentioning in this genealogy? Well we would have expected that he will mention the four maybe the significant matriarchs in the history of Israel. Your likes of Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, Leah. That’s what we would have expected. But that’s not what Matthew is doing here he’s mentioning four gentile women. And of course Bathsheba is considered as gentile because she was married to Uriah who was a Hittite who was also a gentile.
Who are those four women that Matthew is mentioning here? The first one is Tamar. She was gentile but she was also in an adulterous. We read that in Genesis 38. The second one is Rahab she was a prostitute from Jericho. You can read that in Joshua 2:1-7. The third one of course is Uriah’s wife who’s Bathsheba who had an affair with David and became later his wife. And finally he mentions Ruth. Ruth was a gentile, a Moabite. And like all Moabites they were not allowed near the gathering of the Lord if you read Deuteronomy 23:3. These are the women that Matthew is mentioning in this genealogy of Jesus. And here they are all part of this genealogy in spite of all that they are. You can really see that the gospel is for all. It breaks the barrier between men and women. It breaks the barrier between Jew and gentile. It breaks the barrier between richer and poor. It breaks the barrier between good people and bad people. The gospel is for everyone it’s for all people. When we read Romans 3:22-23 we read that, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all sinners irrespective of who we are of all our backgrounds. We are all sinners, we have all fall short of the glory of God. We all need the gospel, we all need this grace. We must always read this genealogy with thankfulness heart. There is no one who is beyond the reach of Christ’s empathy and compassion.
Maybe you think that you are so dysfunctional and beyond the reach of grace. Maybe you look at your life and your past sin keeps haunting you. Maybe you just look at yourself and say, “Oh my God how broken am I? Is there even any hope for me?” Let me tell you that first of all you will never find any dysfunctional family like the tree of Jesus. Second you are not beyond the reach of Jesus, beyond the reach of his grace. Once again grace has conquered. Jesus has come to us. Wouldn’t today be a great day for you to turn to Jesus if you haven’t done so and embrace this grace that he is freely giving to you and to me? And if you have turned to Jesus wouldn’t today be another great day to say, “Thank you Jesus for rescuing people like me I know that I did not deserve any of this but you loved me and you brought me into your family.” Jesus loves you he wants to heal you. He can heal you, he has the power to heal you. That’s the reason why he came into this world. I’ll end with this quote from C.S Lewis, very familiar to us. “The son of God became men to enable men to become sons of God”
Let me tell you that first of all you will never find any dysfunctional family like the tree of Jesus. You are not beyond the reach of Jesus.
Let us pray. Lord we thank you, we thank you for coming into this world to rescue people like ourselves who did not deserve any of this. We thank you because you humbled yourself took the human flesh and came into this world with the purpose of dying on the cross for our sins. And Lord we know that we are so broken but you give us hope. We know that you want to heal us and we pray that Lord we will embrace you, we’ll embrace this grace that you have fully given to us that will always run to you with a repentant heart.
And Lord we just want to commit this week we are starting before you. We pray that you will help us to live for you, to stand for you, and to witness for you wherever you have placed us. Please be with us in Jesus name we pray, Amen.