The Genealogy of Jesus- What it Means


Thursday of Fourth Week in Advent

Gen 49: 2, 8-10; Mat 1: 1-17

Dc. Larry Brockman

Wasn’t that exciting!  42 times we heard that “A” became the Father of “B”.  Wow!  Did you get anything out of it? 

Well, believe it or not, there are some fascinating things that one can get out of this genealogy.  First, since 7 was considered the perfect number, and 2 times 7 was even more perfect.  Then the scholars tell us that Matthew wanted all of us to know, that God purposely arranged for the Messiah to come after three phases of the history of the Israeli people, God’s chosen people.  Not only that, all three phases were perfect of length- 14 generations.  The first group of 14 traces the lineage from Abraham through all the great prophets to David.  This represents the rise of Israel.  The second group of 14 traces the history to the Babylonian exile.  This represents the fall of Israel.  And the third group of 14 brings us from the low in Israeli history to the birth of the Messiah. 

The genealogy is meant to establish a solid line tracing Joseph’s lineage back through David to the first of the Patriarchs, Abraham.  And yet, the purity of this lineage is flawed.  How so?  Well, did you notice the mention of four women in the genealogy?  It was rare to mention women in Jewish genealogies.  But even more astounding are the facts behind who these women were.  Two were prostitutes (Tamar and Rahab); one was a non-Jew (Ruth); and the fourth was someone else’s wife who was stolen by David after he arranged for her husband’s death.  These are hardly elements of a pure and regular lineage.  Scholars speculate that these elements of irregularity were purposely brought up in the midst of the 3 perfect periods of the lineage in order to prepare us for the irregular circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus.  Namely, that Joseph was not the biological Father.   

All in all, what does this mean?  Well, that God brought the Messiah into the world in perfect harmony with his plan; that the Messiah came at exactly the perfect time; that even those who were not perfect contributed to this plan, because God will work his plan despite anything that mankind does; and that Joseph, while not the biological father, embraced his son as his own, establishing Jesus as the fulfillment of the covenant with Abraham, and the promise that the Messiah would be descended through David.   

So, we have a God of His word, an all powerful God who knew what He was doing, and a God, who through the miracle of the virgin birth, gave us his son, both fully human and fully divine.  God is indeed great- Rejoice! 

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