Genealogy played an important role in Israelite life. The O.T. records about 25 genealogies
. It was appropriate, therefore, that Matthew begins his book on Jesus with His genealogy.
The genealogy of Jesus serves a unique purpose. It tells us that He is the Messiah whom God had promised to His people and it reveals God’s salvation plan in the history of the chosen people. Following the genealogy is the story of Jesus’ birth, which is also important in establishing Jesus’ divine origin and mission in fulfillment of the promises in the O.T.
Did You Know...?
- Genealogy (1:1) means “origin” or “beginning.” [ref]
- Begot (1:2) usually means to become the descendant’s father, but also refers simply to being the descendant’s ancestor. Thus Josiah was the grandfather (ancestor), not the father of Jeconiah (see v. 11;
1 Chr 3:15, 16). Biblical genealogies often list only prominent ancestors. [ref]
- Christ (1:16): The Anointed One, the long-expected “King of the Jews” (2:2, …). Christ is a title, not a name. [ref]
- The pledge to be married was legally binding. Only a divorce writ could break it, and infidelity at that stage was considered adultery (cf. Deut 22:23-24; Moore, Judaism, 2:121-22). The marriage itself took place when the groom (already called “husband,” 1:19) ceremoniously took the bride home. [ref]
- In Jewish culture, the contract of marriage was made about a year before the consummation of the marriage.
- Put her away secretly (1:19): He would sign the necessary legal papers but not have her judged publicly and stoned (see Dt 22:23-24). [ref]
- “Jesus” (1:21) is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua,” which means “The Lord is salvation.”
Compare the genealogies in Matthew and Luke (3:23-38). Write down their differences and explain the reasons for these differences.Hide Answer
The book of Matthew begins the genealogy of Jesus with Abraham while Luke traces the genealogy back to Adam. Matthew starts with Abraham to show and emphasize that Jesus was the Son of Abraham, born according to promise. Matthew follows the line of Solomon while Luke follows that of Nathan (Solomon and Nathan were brothers). Some propose that Matthew’s genealogy records the ancestors of Joseph while Luke’s records the ancestors of Mary.
What titles are given to Jesus? What do these titles tell you about Jesus?Hide Answer
Christ, the son of David, the Son of Abraham. Christ: the anointed—designation for priests (Lev 4:3, 6:22), kings (
1Sam 2:10, 16:13, 24:10; 2Sam 19:21; Lam 4:20); also designation for the coming Messiah (Mt 2:1-6, 16:16) Son of David (Ps 89:29; 2Sam 7:16; Isa 9:6-7). Son of Abraham (Gen 22:18, Gal 3:16).
Matthew divides the genealogy into 3 sections of 14 generations. What does each section represent in the history of the chosen people? Why do you think Matthew records the genealogy?Hide Answer
Abraham to David: Age of wandering, bondage, and anarchy. David to the exile: Age of the kingdom. Exile to the Christ: Age of restoration, foreign rule, and silence (Intertestamental period).
Considering the fact that it was very unusual for women’s names to appear in a Jewish genealogy, what do you think are the reasons for its inclusion in Matthew?Hide Answer
At least two of the women were gentile and some of them had had illicit occupations or relationships. But it is possible that Matthew chooses to include them to demonstrate God’s mercy in His salvation plan. It is also God’s will to extend His salvation to all people, regardless of their gender or race.
What does the genealogy remind us about God?
How did the angel address Joseph (20)? Could there be a reason for doing so?Hide Answer
He probably addressed Joseph as the son of David to stress the kingly descent of Jesus.
Why was Jesus born of the Holy Spirit through a virgin?
Why was Jesus born into the world? (21)
In what ways was Jesus’ birth a miracle?Hide Answer
1) Born of the Holy Spirit through a virgin; 2) Fulfillment of prophecy
What is the meaning of the name “Jesus”?Hide Answer
“Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua,” which means “the Lord is salvation.” His name indicated His mission to save God’s people from sin.
What is the connection between the name “Jesus” and the word “Immanuel”?Hide Answer
The coming of Jesus to the world brought God’s salvation to His people. God’s grace and deliverance had come to His people through Jesus.
What does “Immanuel” mean to you personally? Do you experience it in your life?
What lessons can we learn from Joseph in this story?Hide Answer
He could have put Mary to public disgrace to vent his outrage or jealousy, but, instead, he was full of mercy and compassion.