Four hundred years of silence from God passed since the closing of the Old Testament scriptures. The Talmud with all its “dos and don’ts” had been written to bring the behavior of the people under the control of a governing body. Synagogues had been built where the people came to be taught by a class of leadership who felt themselves superior to most people because of their strict adherence to their own laws. Then into this period of spiritual darkness and man-imposed religion, light came into the world in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. “In Him was Life; and the Life was the Light of men.”
His credentials as the promised Messiah open the pages of the New Testament. Is there proof of His pedigree as the one who was promised? The list of names begins with heroes of faith like Abraham, the father of the Jews and to him from God came the promise of a nation that would bring blessing to the world. The list includes some who were people of poor reputation: Judah’s son by his own son’s wife, Tamar; Boaz’s mother was a woman of faith even though she is introduced to history as a prostitute. His son Obed, was a child of Ruth who came originally from an enemy tribe. David’s illicit affair with Bathsheba, produced Solomon who himself, though wise, made a spectacular failure of his own marriages and family life. There were some ordinary people who would have been overlooked entirely if it wasn’t for this list of names that put them in the linage of the Lord Jesus. Some listed were noted for being evil, ungodly men. And yet in His human descent, none of this denigrated in any way the holiness of Jesus Christ. He was “holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners.” His character was not in any way diminished because of His human forbearers.
The fact of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is a fundamental doctrine of the Gospel. He was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit. No man was involved in His conception. He was the one promised to Adam and the “seed of the woman.” The linage of Mary’s husband, Joseph, is given here as proof of His human right as the first born son to be in the line of promises made by covenants. Joseph thought he had two choices when he learned Mary was pregnant. He could have her stoned to death or he could divorce her, which he intended to do until God gave him a third option – marry her. He was a righteous man, but was also a discreet and sensitive man who was willing to shield Mary from public opinion. More than that, he was a man who was responsive to God and God’s guidance, so as a truly self-disciplined person, he married his betrothed but remained celibate until after the Lord Jesus Christ was born.
All of these characteristics seen in the human chain of people in the genealogy of the Lord, are easily seen in us today. In almost any group of Christians you will meet, there are people who are part of the family of God, who have in their background a wide variety of experiences. There are those God saved in their youth who were preserved from most of the sins of the world around them by virtue of their upbringing. There are those of a shady past who want to keep their days of ungodly living out of any and all conversation. There are those who are often overlooked because they live ordinary lives, do ordinary work and are content to be a quiet help in the house of God without any fanfare at all. There are sometimes those among us who have lived a very ungodly life before they had a spectacular conversion. People write tracts about their testimony and want to “hear how God saved them” whenever a group of people gather. Yet in God’s eyes everyone is needed and everyone is special to Him. The focus of all the people in this genealogy is on the Lord Jesus Christ, not on those who were in the background.
The remarkable thing is that from the small insignificant tribe of Israel, and the family of Judah as a son of Abraham, came Emmanuel, “God with us.” He never lost any of His divine nature. He always was and will always remain the Great Almighty God. Yet in a remarkable act of grace, “He who was rich, for your sakes became poor…” As “Jesus”, He was “Jehovah the Savior.” This is the One and only Salvation of Jehovah for us. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
An angel as a messenger from God made clear to Joseph the mind and will of God. Sometimes angels are protectors. At other times they are encouragers, guides, or those that carry out punishment when they fight against the forces of evil. There are angels who patrol the earth on behalf of God’s interests. When the Lord Jesus Christ was born, the forces of evil were arrayed against Him. The dignified unfolding of Christ as befits a king begins with His genealogy. Then the angel’s testimony was added as another witness. The star that showed the way to the searchers from the east, the scriptures of truth, the testimony of John, the voice of the Father at His baptism and the Holy Spirit as a dove and at His temptation – all give testimony and witness to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the promise of God to the ancient ones of the covenant promises. We today have been adopted as children into that same family as children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.
Mat.1:1-17. Genealogy: the title of the genealogy of Jesus, not the title to the Gospel of Matthew
- Kingdoms up until the book of Matthew: Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greece, Rome
- Under Rome: Roman laws, taxes and justice system
- Under Rome: appointed Jewish leadership favorable to Rome.
v.2. Three groups of 14 generations: this emphasizes a relation between Jesus Christ and the two outstanding leaders in Jewish history – Abraham and David. Jesus is linked to Israel racially – a new race of people began with Abraham and this race was founded on the principle of faith. He is linked royally – from the kingly line beginning with David
- Abraham identified the principle of faith in a unique way.
- David was the king after God’s own heart. Loyalty to God’s will is superior to his own will.
- The carrying away into Babylon was to correct the failure of Israel and bring repentance.
THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST: “I am from above; I am not of this world.”
v.18. Birth: a miraculous event. His life began with a miracle from the womb and ended with a miracle from the tomb.
v.19. Just: straight; fair; unbiased; true
v.20. Fear not: Everything is under control.
- “Wonderful Counselor” – when first man knew Him (Adam)
- “Mighty God” – revealed through His dealing with Israel
- “Everlasting Father” – He is known this way to us today
- “Prince of Peace” – in the coming kingdom
v.21. A Son: heir; family representative. “Jesus” – Jehovah Salvation