A Holy Family Tree
In our introduction to Matthew’s Gospel, the author gives to us a genealogy of Jesus Christ.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, 7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, 8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, 9 Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. 12 After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, 15 Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. 17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
Matthew 1: 2-17 (New International Version)
Why Begin With Family?
Why would Matthew begin his good news about Jesus by telling us His family tree? It is important for us to understand the purpose that Matthew had for writing this book and to whom he was writing it to. The majority of Matthew’s audience were Jewish and in Matthew’s time, the hope of all the Jews was the coming of the King that was promised by God by His prophets.
Revealing God’s Character
That is the reason why Matthew begins with Jesus’s family history, to prove to his audience that Christ was not only Jewish (of Abraham’s line), but also the promised King (from David’s line). However, that wasn’t the only reason why Matthew started his Gospel with a family history. He also wanted to reveal an aspect of the Lord’s character.
God’s Influence in Abraham
For example, let’s consider the first man in Jesus’s genealogy, Abraham. His family line was chosen to be the one which would bring the King of Kings. Not because he was perfect, but because the Almighty decided to show favor to him and honor him with this gift. However, his story is not the only example of God’s grace.
Favor Towards Women
Let’s look closely at the only women that are mentioned in this family tree. One of them slept with her father-in-law (Tamar). Two women were foreigners (Rahab and Ruth). Finally, the last woman committed adultery with King David (Bathsheeba). Why would such people be mentioned in the holy King of King’s genealogy? Again, it all points to grace.
Proof of Grace
The entire family history of Jesus Christ is proof of the loving grace which God has on all people. That despite all the times they turned away from the Lord, He did not utterly destroy them for their wickedness, even though they deserved it. Instead, He showed each family member grace and gave them the honor of being named in the ancestry of the Lord of Lords.
Have you ever done something that wish you could have taken back? All of us have fallen short of the Holy Standard of the Lord. Even so, let this genealogy of Jesus remind you that God is a God of grace. That when you repent of your sin, He will forgive you and bring you back to Him. Therefore, let’s repent of our sins and embrace the grace of the Lord which is found in Christ.