Key Verse: “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham. ”Matthew 1:1
In recent years, there has been a craze in the UK in regards to family history. The BBC are currently on series 13 of their hit show, “Who Do You Think You Are?” A series in which ‘celebrities trace their ancestry, discovering secrets and surprises from their past.’ Each week millions tune in to watch the emotional rollercoaster of the person discovering their past. People get into family history for many different reasons, but one common motivation if family legacy.
Matthew begins his gospel in an unusual way. He begins with a list of names which at first glance doesn’t appear to be the most interesting read. While modern day readers might be put off by the difficult to read names, all Hebrew readers would be fascinated by the details aligned with their own sacred history.
Matthew introduces Jesus to his Jewish readers by proving the purity of the lineage. He begins with “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). There are many heroes in the Old Testament, but two of the most important were Abraham and David.
Abraham was the father of the nation. All Jews could trace their history back to him. They held firmly onto God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
David was Israel’s king. They held onto the promise in 2 Samuel 7:12 which said, “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom.” Matthew knew that Jews considered this to be a Messianic prediction. The Jewish people knew that from David’s descendant’s new king would come.
Matthew begins his gospel by making absolutely sure that the people know the Messiah has arrived. Matthew is demonstrating that Jesus fulfilled all the requirements and inviting his readers to go check the fact for themselves. The people of his day could have looked at the documents and traced them back themselves. The religious leaders would have known these genealogies from memory. Matthew then is introduce his gospel on fact and details.
Many falsely believe that Bible is solely on faith and not facts. This could not be further from the truth. The Bible invites us to consider the evidence because all truth will point to God. Paul wrote in Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.“ Biblical faith is not a weak leap-in-the-dark. It is based on the truth of the evidence which appeals to the rational mind and prompts us to trust and obey. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that the Bible is not true or that it is just a collection of stories. Matthew the tax man was confident that if anyone who truly consider the facts and figures relating to Jesus, they would have no option to recognize him as Lord and Saviour.