Casual readers of God’s Word, and novice students alike, often see the first Chapter of Matthew as, “The Christmas Story with a lot of seemingly unnecessary ‘beget stuff’ shoved in front of the good part.” However, we must remember that all of God’s Word was given to us for a reason. And sometimes we must do a little prayerful digging in order to realize the significance of the text.
It would appear that the chief intention of Matthew 1:1-17 is to provide proof that our Lord appeared from the nation which was prophesied to produce the Messiah. It also heralds the fulfillment of an even more ancient pronouncement of this same prophetic promise. Case and point, just after the fall, God told Adam, Eve and Satan that a Messiah would come to redeem Mankind from original sin. Note: God told Satan, “Thou shalt bruise His heal,” in Genesis 3:15 and was referring to the coming Redeemer in this statement.
This was the first promise of Messianic redemption and Eve understood and took this promise to heart. In fact, she thought that her firstborn might be the promised Messiah. In Genesis 4:1, Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord.” The literal Hebrew translation is, “I have gotten a man, the Lord.”
Now, we see in Chapter 1 of Matthew, the Messiah is manifestly revealed in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Note here, the Genealogy picks up with Abraham as he was the Father of the Jewish nation.
That is, Abraham was promised this and the genealogy demonstrates that the promise was kept with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore, the genealogy is in no way vain or meant to provide undue glorification for ordinary men. It is both purposeful and profound. It very much deserves our attention.
In Genesis 12:3:22:18 the promise is made to Abraham and then to David in 2 Samuel 7:12;Psalm 89:3 and 132:11. So, if it is not demonstrated that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed descended from Abraham and from David, then doubt is instantly cast upon His claim to the title. And Jesus did claim the title in Luke 4:21 where we read, “And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
So, Matthew 1:1-17 is provided to us as a reliable, well-known record of when the Son of God chose to love us enough to become one of us in the personhood of Christ Jesus. In Hebrews 4:15 we read, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
That is, even though He was perfect and without sin, He came so very close to us and shared in Humanity’s experience on Earth. Even in our wretched, sinful condition, He loved us enough to sojourn with us; even to condescend from on High to live as the God-man for a time. Yet, He remained untouched by sin or personal failure. And for this, we are to worship and love Him above all others. Truly there is none like Him!
In closing, the type of reverence and adoration given to Christ Jesus in this written work would be invalid if Jesus of Nazareth was not truly the Messiah. The aforementioned genealogy is therefore quite necessary as it serves as one of many infallible proofs of Jesus’ Messianic status.
C. David Ragland, Jr.