Whenever my family speaks about my grandparents and our previous generations, they often mention everything that they had to sacrifice in order to provide for the family, establish their faith, or just in general, what great things they accomplished in life. It’s often stated with confidence and great pride when they mention their heritage and what roots they came from. This came to mind when I was reading Matthew chapter one the other day. Not at all in the same context and actually very dissimilar in a lot of ways.
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. | Matthew 1:1-17
Just reading that genealogy you may be wondering what the significance of it is. It seems like just a bunch of names that don’t reveal much of the family line leading up to Christ, but in actuality it has so much significance. To be honest, most genealogies that I read in the Bible leave me wondering why it is mentioned in the first place, but after reading this, it really showed me how much importance a family tree and previous generations hold. This genealogy leading up to Christ is a perfect picture of the great ways in which God works and how His grace is perfected through Jesus Christ, the Son. Just looking at some of the names that are mentioned in this genealogy, we see how greatly God worked from the beginning to save mankind from their sins. God could have just mentioned that Abraham’s future generations would eventually lead up to Christ, which would fulfill the promises given by God in the Abrahamic Covenant. The covenant mentions that He would make Abraham a father of great nations, and all the nations of the earth would be blessed by Him, but He chose not to make it that simple. Matthew goes on to write all 42 generations leading up to Christ from Abraham.
Take a look at some of the following names and see if you can find a common theme among them: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Tamar, Rahab, David, Bathsheba, Solomon. If you can’t spot it immediately, here’s some help: Abraham and Isaac were cowards, Jacob was a deceiver, Judah was a liar, Tamar was a pervert, Rahab was a prostitute, David was a murderer, Bathsheba was an adulterer, and Solomon was an idolater. It doesn’t even stop there, Rehoboam, Abijah, Joram, Ahaz, Manasseh, Amon, and Jeconiah were all evil kings of Judah who all did some really immoral things.
These are the generations that lead up to Christ. Of course Jesus was born of Mary by conception through the Holy Spirit, but nonetheless, Christ was still identified as the son of a carpenter in his earthly form. That was His heritage and obviously nothing He could be proud of, so what did it show and why was it even mentioned? It is written so that it could show us hope when we didn’t have it, show us grace where we couldn’t find it, show us mercy where we didn’t deserve it, and show us a plan of salvation when we didn’t expect it! It shows us that God had a perfect plan from the beginning of time to save His people from their sins. It shows us that He knew that mankind would not be able to adhere to His holy standard and that even though we were lost, we could find our way to Him through His perfect Son. We even read of God’s plan of redemption later on in Matthew chapter one.
But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” | Matthew 1:20-23
A genealogy tells us so many things; it tells us where we came from, what our heritage is, and sometimes how messy of a past we come from. But one thing our genealogy doesn’t tell us is where we are going. We may be born in sin, but that doesn’t mean we have to live and die as a prisoner to it. Christ’s perfect sacrifice allowed all of us who are born into a sinful and tainted generation to once again find unity and relation with God through the acceptance of His perfect sacrifice, which washed all our sins away – past, present, and future! No matter who our ancestors may be, we can call ourselves the sons and daughters of God, if we accept Him as our personal Savior!