The Gospels in 40 days Matthew 1

Matthew 1

This will be a quick commentary, which I hope will help you meet with Jesus, as you understand and apply the truths of Scripture to your life.

Matthew 1 The Genealogy:

Genealogies are about connections and belonging. Matthew pays alot of attention to the Jewish history and prophecy that relates to Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ of God.

You probably see a lot of familiar names in this list, as well as a bunch of strange ones, depending on how much you've read the Old Testament.  Let me highlight just a few things Matthew does with this ordinary, boring looking list:

He starts with Abraham and so he plants Jesus' ministry in the Divine promises given to Israel. He divides the geneology into three great epochs: Abraham to King David, David to the Exile, and the Exile to the birth of Jesus.  each epoch, he says, is fourteen generations, but if you look carefully you have to count differently in the last section to make fourteen generations. This is not a mistake, but a clue: Matthew wants us to ask what is so special about the number 14? Jewish numerology says that 14 is the number of David (the alphabetical values of D+V+D = 14 in the Hebrew Alphabet. So by organising the genealogy this way he points to Jesus as the culmination of a history that revolves around the Line of David, whose descendent will inherit an eternal throne. 2 Samuel 7:16

Brothers in the Genealogy: "Judah and his brothers" encompasses the whole of the tribes of Israel.  but did you know that King Jehoiachin/Jechoniah had no brothers? instead, "brothers" here must again refer to all of Israel which went into exile with that king. by referring to brothers at these two points Matthew reminds Jewish readers that Jesus, the Messiah, is sent for all of Israel.

The Women in the Genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba. Here Matthew makes a daring claim. For everyone of these women is a foreigner  - not  Israelite and most have a scandalous story. Tamar, a Canaanite, Rahab a prostitute from Jericho, Ruth a Moabite, Bathsheba (whose name means "Daughter of the South") is the widow of Uriah the Hittite. Only these women get mentioned, as if to highlight that God has always been ready to bring "outsiders," - Gentiles - into the family of God. 

That's good news for us, as we begin to read about Jesus. There is room for us in this Gospel - what ever your background, whatever your heritage, God had you in mind when he sent his Son to save us.