You’re Starting the NT with That?

You’re Starting the NT with That?

Matthew 1:1-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram,[a] and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon,and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,[b] and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah,and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos,[c] and Amos the father of Josiah,11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,[d] and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

 

Just this past Sunday, my Sunday school class started a study of the book of Matthew. As I studied and prepared for teaching this lesson, I began with these first verses of this gospel.

To many, this list of person after person becomes quite tedious reading and most will skim or skip over it. And come on, this isn’t a good way to begin a book, much less to begin the New Testament. In my training as a writer, you start off with a bang. You hook that reader. The genealogy of Jesus is like a firecracker that fizzles out without bursting forth with oomph.

But upon further study, I found that to the Jewish reader back in Matthew’s day, this genealogy would have been quite a boom!

First of all Matthew shows that Jesus has the pedigree. Jesus’ line is traced all the way back to Abraham, who was promised that his descendants would be numerous.

Then there’s David – King David. God promised he would have a descendant on the throne from then on. This shows that Jesus continues the promise. Actually, Jesus is the last and ultimate descendant on the throne.

By simply showing the lineage, Matthew is showing how indisputable it is that Jesus is the promised king and Messiah.

Yeah, what we in 2017 read as just a list of names, would have been a true revelation to the readers back when Matthew wrote it.

The commentaries I read all characterized Matthew’s gospel as the perfect bridge from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The page between the last word in the Old Testament and Matthew represents hundreds of years with no word from God. So Matthew had to connect Jesus’ story. This wasn’t a new story. It was a continuing one. With the main character being seen in the flesh instead of having prophets predict His coming.

I will refrain from breaking down some of the genealogy, but looking more closely reveals mention of some memorable characters from the Old Testament. There’s so much more to draw from this listing. But I would fill many pages of many posts.

But I was reminded when studying this section of Scripture that there is no part of the Bible that doesn’t hold meaning if I dig for it. And God’s Word holds valuable truths, even in a list of names.

Have you ever gained insight from a seemingly insignificant verse or passage?

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Paula Mowery About Paula Mowery

Paula is a pastor’s wife, mom to a college student, author, acquiring editor, and speaker. No matter the hat she wears, she strives to honor God’s plan even if it means going out on a limb and leaving comfort zones. Reviewers have characterized her writing as “thundering with emotion.” Her book, Be The Blessing, won the 2014 Selah Award in the novella category. You can follow Paula on Facebook and learn more about her at her blog.

Comments

  1. My name is Jude, I am an addicted genealogist! Love your post. The names and history humble me, Thanks.

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  2. Thanks, Jude. Yeah, for those genealogy enthusiasts, this start in Matthew isn’t boring at all!

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  3. I had read the Bible several times. Yet, if someone asked me “what does the gospel of Matthew start with?” I never would have remembered “The genealogy of Jesus.” Funny how we can read the scriptures so many times and miss so much!

    Thanks for a great post, Paula!

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  4. Thanks for stopping by, Patti. You’re right. We do miss a lot when studying scripture. But I also think that different things stand out to us as we read as led by the Spirit. The Word of God is described as living. That implies to me that I could read a passage over and over but get something different each time. That’s what makes it profitable to continue to study.

    [Reply]

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