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003a Genealogical Accounts of Jesus            Matthew 1:1-17  Luke 3:23-38

I’m sure many of you have family albums as I do.  We have plenty of photos and old movies, half of them I don’t even know who they are.  I’m working on putting a genealogical account into my computer; I have a family tree program that is really nice.  You can add people as you find them or attach appropriate names to photos as you unearth some new tidbit of information.  My wife’s cousin, Thaddeus Crapster, has traced their family back to about the 12th century, exposing all the black sheep in her family (it includes one who was married to Henry the 8th before being beheaded).  I’ve traced my family heritage back to the 12th century, but there are very few specifics in places, with great gaping holes in the genealogy.  There are a few outstanding individuals in there, and a few that we would like to forget about.  Our savior has a family album.

We’ve been studying the Gospel accounts in a chronological order.  One of the reasons we have to jump around so much to do that is because the different writers were writing from different aspects and for different people.  They didn’t omit things or remember them differently; they were inspired by God and wrote exactly what they were supposed to write!  Although they are all talking about the King and the Kingdom of the Heavens, and how both were being rejected, Matthew presents Christ as king, Mark presents Him as servant, Luke presents him as man, and John presents Him as the Son of God.  If you go on a little further, the book of Acts tells how the Kingdom of the Heavens was re-offered and rejected once again.

Although each writer has his own peculiar set of arrangement and selection in writing, Matthew’s Gospel is generally recognized as the Hebrew Gospel.  Matthew chapter 1 is the true commencement of the Greek scriptures, showing how they grow out of the Hebrew writings. It quotes at every step from the older scriptures. It is both a history and a fulfillment of prophecy.

[Daniel 2]  Matthew’s Gospel centers around the Kingdom of the Heavens, which is a reference to the prophecies of Daniel.  Now, remember, every time the Kingdom of the Heavens is mentioned in Scriptures, it’s always plural; in the Greek, it’s never the Kingdom of Heaven, it’s always, the Kingdom of the Heavens.  [Daniel 2:44]   It shall not be left to other people; all preceding kingdoms had passed on to the next generation.  This kingdom, the Kingdom of the Heavens, shall not be passed on to another generation.

[Daniel 7:27]  It is a kingdom in the sense that Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece were kingdoms, but it is still future; it is the rule of one people over other nations; yet it will not be destroyed as its predecessors in world dominion; it will last for the ages.

At the point in time that the book of Matthew was written, the Kingdom of the Heavens was open only to the house of Israel.  Matthew 15:24 tells us, “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  This is not talking about unsaved Jews.  [Numbers 18:17]  Numbers 18:17 tells us sheep are holy; sheep are saved people; the Lord doesn’t call lost people holy, they’re going to hell!

This word that is translated as “lost” is a Greek word [apollumi] that means, “Are being destroyed or are perishing.”  These are sheep that are losing their lives.  If you remember what we studied last week, the soul is the life of man.  This is talking about the Kingdom and not salvation.  These sheep are losing their lives; their souls are being destroyed.  It’s an ongoing action; it’s not some drastic action or some unforgivable sin.  He came for the sheep of the house of Israel who are not living faithful, obedient lives.  You cannot lose something you don’t have, these sheep have life, but they’re losing it; THEY ARE PERISHING!

Because this book was written for the Hebrews and Jesus came only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, there are very few Gentiles mentioned.  As a matter of fact, He explicitly tells His apostles not to go unto the nations, or even the Samaritans, which were half Jewish.  Matthew 10:5 says, “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.”  They were forbidden.

Although there aren’t many Gentiles mentioned in this Gospel, the ones who are mentioned are very significant.  There are four Gentile women mentioned in the genealogy; we will look at these more in-depth later, but Tamar's sin introduced her into the line of ancestry, Rahab came in by faith.  In Ruth's case grace triumphed over the law that would ban a Moabite from the congregation of Jehovah.  Bathsheba reminds us of David's great transgression and shows us grace reigning despite sin.  The magi come to worship Him, while at the same time Herod seeks His life. The centurion in chapter 8 exhibits a faith unknown in Israel.  The Canaanitish woman is commended for her confidence in Christ.  Pilate and his wife refuse responsibility when the Jews seek to condemn Him.  The centurion at the cross acknowledges that He is the Son of God.  It is only at the end of the account in the Gospels, after all authority on earth is in the hands of the King, that the disciples are commissioned to go and make disciples of all nations.  Thus, at this point when the book of Matthew is being written, any reference to the proclamation of the Kingdom of the Heavens is restricted to the people of whom the prophet Daniel spoke; the Jews.

This Gospel narrative is divided into two distinct periods, each of which begins with His acknowledgement as Son of God by a voice from heaven and closes by its acknowledgment by men, the first ends with the disciples acknowledging Him, the second ends by the nations (or a Gentile) acknowledging Him as the Son of God.  The first period extends from John's baptism in Matthew 3:16-17, and closes with Peter's confession in Matthew 16:16.  During this period the kingdom is proclaimed and rejected, so that Jesus forbids its further proclamation. The second period is occupied with His priestly preparation for the sacrifice on Golgotha.  It begins with the transfiguration on the mount in Matthew 17:1-5 where Moses and Elijah spoke of His decease, and continues to the crucifixion, where the centurion said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Now, I wasn’t going to have us read out loud the genealogies listed here, but I changed my mind.  2 Timothy 3:16,17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  This doesn’t say some Scripture is good, it says all, and this includes this list of names, so, if you’ll turn with me to [Matthew 1].  Some consider this a dry, laborious study.  On the surface, I would agree.  However, 2 Timothy 3 tells us that it is profitable for doctrine and it is profitable for instruction in righteousness.  What we’re going to do here is look at a few spiritual things that can be gleaned from this Scripture. [Matthew 1:1-17]

Matthew, in writing to the Hebrews, doesn’t mess around; he gets right down to the business of showing them that Jesus meets the criteria for being the Messiah.  This is very important for the Jews.  The law was of utmost importance to them.  The law was not given to Gentiles, neither was the Messiah promised to them.  The Jews were looking for the Messiah, but they were looking for the wrong type; they were looking for a political Messiah.

When we read this long list of names that seems boring on the surface, we have to stop and ask ourselves, “Why?  Why did Matthew write this?”  Judging by the long lists of names in the OT, one might be tempted to just assume the Jews like long lists of names.  But, since it has already been observed that Matthew wrote for the Jews, the first conclusion must be, “to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah”.  He was the fulfillment of many prophecies in the OT.  What prophesies?  [Isaiah 7:14]  Matthew points out in 1:22-23 that Jesus fulfilled this prophesy.  [Micah 5:2]  Matthew shows this in 2:4-6.  [Hosea 11:1] is shown in Matthew 2:14-15.  [Jeremiah 31:15]  is shown to have been fulfilled in Matthew 2:17-18.  Some have said that this prophecy referred to the Babylonian captivity, but looking at the context, it’s clear that it’s referring to the times of the Messiah, in which Herod tried to kill Him by having all male children under the age of two murdered.  [Matthew 2:23; A Nazarene He shall be called]  Note the plural, as indicating not any one prediction in particular, but a summary of several prophetic statements, such as Psalm 22:6, Psalm 22:8; Psalm 69:11, Psalm 69:19; Isaiah 53:2, Isaiah 53:3, and Isaiah 53:4.

This was a term of contempt among the Jews!  In John 7:52, the Pharisees are talking to Nicodemus about Jesus, and they say, “They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet”.  This was not the truth:  The truth of the matter is that Jonah, Hosea and Nahum were from Galilee and possibly Elisha, Elija and Amos.  It’s just that these aristocrats from Jerusalem had contempt in general for the backwards Galilee.  I’m sure we all know examples of this; such as the way those in many cities feel towards those on the farms.  The Pharisees were merely holding the general and popular consensus that Galilee was backwards, and surely the Messiah would come from the wonderful, great, urban area of Jerusalem.  After all, isn’t that where the Pharisees were?

Let me show you something, while we’re here talking about Jesus from Nazareth.  Turn with me to [Luke 1:26].  Nazareth is where they are when?  Look on down in verse 31:  [Luke 1:31]  Nazareth is where they were when she conceived; they were in Bethlehem when He was born.  Jesus is from Nazareth; life starts at conception.

Although the Pharisees assumed that He would come in glory because he would be the King of the Jews, He would be the basest among men.  They were looking for the wrong kind of king; they were looking for an earthly king, a political savior who would save them from the Romans.  But He was king nevertheless.

Jesus, who is God Almighty, the highest of the high, for a little while became the lowest among men.  Jesus is the Messiah, come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  But Israel didn’t accept Him with open arms.  Matthew had to prove to them who Jesus was.

In order to be the Messiah, He had to meet certain criteria.  Genesis 22:18 tells us that He had to be a descendent of Abraham.  Isaiah 11 tells us that He had to be descended from David.  Isaac was promised the Messiah would be of his seed.  Also, Jacob, Judah and Zerubbabel were all three promised that Messiah would be of their seed.  Whatever else Jesus may have done; no matter how many good works or miracles He may have performed; if He were not a descendent of these six, He could not be the Messiah.  So, a Gospel directed specifically to the Jews would have to establish his lineage.

This genealogy in Matthew is the royal lineage of the Son of David and it gives the title to the land granted to Abraham; He was a Hebrew and He was of the royal line. In contrast to the genealogy given by Luke, which we’ll look at later, we are given the actual physical descent by the male line to Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of our Lord.

[Matthew 1:1]  The word “book” is the Greek word “βιβλος” (Biblios), from which we get our English word, “Bible”.  This is the same word that is used in Genesis 5:1, in conjunction with another word used here in Matthew 1:1; generations.

[Genesis 5:1]  In Matthew, this is the Greek word “Genesis” (which is from the word ginomai); in the Septuagint, in Genesis 5:1, this is the same word.  This word means descent or lineage, life, to be created, or come to pass.  “This is the book of the lineage of Jesus and how it came to pass.”  In the Hebrew, this word “generations” is tholedoth.  Tholedoth is used several times in the Bible, and is always the heading; it’s the beginning of the story of the generations of whatever is being talked about.  In Matthew 1:1, it’s the beginning of the story of Jesus the Christ.  This tholedoth or lineage of the Messiah would be necessary for the Jews.

[Matthew 1:1]  Notice, two words are used:  Both “Jesus” and “Christ”.  The first is the name given by the angel to Mary in Matthew [1:21; the angel is talking to Joseph…]  The name Jesus describes the mission of the child; Jesus means “savior”.  The second name is properly an adjective that means, “anointed”, from the verb “chrio”, which means, “anoint”.  It is used in the Septuagint to describe the anointed priest, but later used as a substitute for the Hebrew word for “Messiah”.  So, in John 1:41, we find Andrew and Simon Peter talking, and it says, “He (Andrew) first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.”   You can find this word used hundreds of times in the Scriptures, in different ways.  (Acts 4:27 and 10:38)  This word is used throughout the Gospels as “anointed” or “Messiah”, but eventually came to be used as a proper name.

The Hebrew word “Messiah” was the king and spiritual ruler of David’s race that was promised.  (Psalm 2:2; Daniel 9:25,26)  Although today we regularly use “Christ” as a proper name, throughout the Gospels, since the identity of Jesus as the Messiah is in doubt with the people, the article is generally used:  Jesus “The Christ”.  In the opening passage of Matthew, the article is omitted, perhaps showing Matthew’s own faith in Jesus as the Messiah and not leaving any room for legitimate doubt or questioning.

We say that Jesus was the anointed one, but what was anointing used for?  [1 Kings 19:16]  Here, we have kings and prophets being anointed.  [Exodus 40:15]  We have kings and prophets and priests being anointed!  In Isaiah 45:1, even Cyrus, who was sent to deliver the Jews from captivity is called, “The Lord’s Anointed”.  The word “Christ” was representative of our Lord who united Himself in the office of prophet, priest and king and He is our deliverer.

Anointing was also practiced as an act of hospitality.  Jesus was anointed by the woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee and rebuked His host for not showing the same respect.  Anointing is practiced upon the sick and the mournful.  It is also done to the dead.  In Mark 14:8, we see the woman at Bethany anointing the body of Jesus in preparation of His death.

This book or tholedoth that Matthew has written has to do with pedigree or ancestry.  The Jews cared a great deal about ancestry.  In this instance, there was legitimate reason:  He had to fulfill the prophecies of the Messiah.  Matthew 1:1 says, “The son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Nothing is more common in the Hebrew writings than the Hebrew expression, “the son of David” as a reference that stands alone to mean “The Messiah”.  The son of David is the Messiah and this is the book of the Messiah who is Jesus.

[Matthew 1:1]  “The son of Abraham.”  [Hebrews 2]  Abraham was the first to whom a particular promise was made.  Genesis 22:18 tells us, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”  The original promise that was made in Genesis 3:15 only tells us that He would be the seed of a woman, but the promise made to Abraham tells us that the Messiah would descend from him.  [Hebrews 2:16]  Jesus took on human nature, descended from Abraham, and therefore is truly the son of Abraham.  To the Jews, being the “son of” means a descendent of and not necessarily the literal son (example:  Foster is the son of Danny, but also the son of Jerry.)  “The son of David” is the Messiah, but the genealogy of the Jews begins with Abraham who is known as “the head of the genealogy”; he is the root of it; he’s the source; he’s the beginning.  This genealogy is done to satisfy the Jews as to the lineage of Jesus Christ.

[Romans 8]  The Greek word τέκνον/teknon (child) is often used interchangeably with the Greek word υιου/huios (son), but is never applied to Jesus.  While in teknon is implied dependence upon the relationship with the parents, huios focuses on the person himself.  It suggests individuality instead of descent, but if used for descent, brings out the fact that the descendent was worthy of the parent.  Matthew is telling the Jews (and us) that Jesus was and is worthy!  Therefore, the word marks the son-like relation as carrying with it privileges, dignity and freedom.  Therefore, it is the only term that is appropriate to describe Christ’s sonship.  A verse we’re all familiar with says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (huios) that whosever is believing in Him may not perish, but have age-lasting life.”  [Romans 8:14]  Through Christ, the dignity of sons is bestowed upon mature believers, those who are obedient, so that the same word is appropriate:  Sons of God; mature children.  I pray that we all strive to be mature.

God always keeps His promises.  He promised these six individuals – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David and Zarubbabel - that the Messiah would descend from them.  We can have confidence that God will always keep His word and that Jesus will return one day.  It’s always man who breaks the covenants between God and man; God is faithful.  It has been about the same length of time between the birth of Jesus and now, as it was between the promise made to Abraham and that promise being fulfilled.

Matthew has taken us down the genealogical steps from Abraham to the Messiah, showing the Jews that His lineage is the lineage of Messiah.  This is His legal right to David’s throne.  Yet, we have a genealogical account in Luke also, and it seems to be different.  Why the difference?  We’ll start looking at that next Sunday.