What would one gain from the genealogy of Jesus?
by Carol Yasin
When we read the gospel of Matthew, we like to begin with the verse 18 in the Chapter 1. We often skip the first 17 verses as we feel them to be boring list of difficult to pronounce names of people. Why it is presented at the start of a book? For Jewish people, their genealogy was very important. When the Israelites conquered Canaan, they had their own territories to live in and so they divided the land and cities by tribe. They kept careful records of their genealogies to prove themselves that they belong to this tribe. It gives them the identity and the other significance is, it also gives them a royalty, that they descended from the royal family and they have the right to inherit the throne. In short, we can say, Matthew was trying to proclaim, “JESUS is the KING”.
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit by disobeying God, God gave a promise that He would send a savior to be a sacrifice for us (Genesis 3:14-15). God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice Isaac and when Abraham obeyed, he gave a substitute sacrifice. Jesus is the substitute sacrifice for our sins. Instead of us dying for our sins, He sent Jesus Christ in our place to die for our sins. And also God has promised David, that his descendent would be on the throne forever (2 Samuel 7:16). The genealogy shows that Jesus is the descendant of Abraham as well as David. Thus, He is the promised sacrifice as well as the promised King.
So, what significance does it has for us?
First, God would go to any length to save us. It was very important for the Jews to trace this lineage to convince them that Jesus was of royal blood, but to us, it is very important to trace that God would fulfill His promise to save us. The genealogy is not just a bunch of name; there is a story behind an every name presented in it. It shows us that God would go to great lengths to save us.
Secondly, Not only He would go to great lengths, but He also worked through all the circumstances to bring Jesus, the Saviour to the earth.
- Abraham was chosen by God and he wandered through Babylon, Egypt and went to the promised land. God gave him Isaac in his older age who would eventually become a nation.
- Isaac was almost sacrificed on a mountain.
- Jacob, the son of Isaac, who inherited the promise, was searched by his brother, so that he could kill him.
- When Jacob died, the entire nation of God was less than 100 people.
- Judah, in the lineage of Christ, would have been died in the famine, if his brother Joseph was not sold into slavery.
- In Egypt, the people of Israel were slaves for nearly 400 years and when they were freed by Moses, they murmured against God for which they wandered the desert for 40 years. Though, God was disappointed by the people of Israel, He allowed the next generation to enter into Canaan.
- Entering into the promise land, whenever they obeyed God, they did well, and when they rebelled they suffer. They asked for a king and God gave them Saul.
- David was then anointed by God through Samuel as the next King and Saul tried to kill David several times and when he sat on the throne, even his own sons rebelled against him.
- Solomon, the heir of David had many wives and also they nation had become spiritually corrupt and they started worshipping idols.
- God was patient till the reign of Jehoiachin and He sent His prophets to warn them. But when they disobeyed, he gave them into the hands of other nations like Babylonians, Medians, Persians and Greeks.
- When several tried to destroy the Jews, God protected them through people like Esther.
Through it all, God kept the line from Abraham to Jesus unbroken so that Jesus could be born to be a sacrifice and a King for us. When circumstances become hard, we immediately try to quit. But God, irrespective of all the circumstances, though Israelites rebelled against Him often, He made sure that line doesn’t break in between.
Why He has to do so? He loved us.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Through wars, famines, betrayals, slavery, exile, and turmoil, God is going to make sure that Jesus comes. When you read the story behind these names, you realize that God loves you silly, He loves you so much that He worked through all these situations to make sure that Jesus, the Messiah, would come.
Finally, God would work through anyone to accomplish His will.
When it comes to family, no one will bring the negatives outside. When we speak bad about someone’s family or their ancestor, that person will surely get mad at us. But when you look into the genealogy of Jesus, Matthew being a Jew would have pictured only the ancestors who were good and best. But, it was not so in the case of Jesus.
- Abraham, twice said that his Sarah is his sister as he was afraid of being killed for Sarah.
- His son, Isaac did the same.
- Isaac’s inherited son Jacob was a cheater and a liar. He lied to his father, cheated his brother and his father-in-law.
- Judah sold his own brother and slept with his daughter-in-law thinking that she is a prostitute.
- Rahab was a prostitute.
- Ruth was a Moabite (a gentile).
- David committed adultery and killed Bathsebha’s husband.
- Solomon had many wives and more than that, he started worshipping idols.
- His son Rehoboam paved the way to split the nation into two, as he did not heed his ear to elders.
- Following that, some were good and some were evil.
- Manasseh, who came from this lineage, even sacrificed his own son to a false god.
Many had weakness in the lineage of Jesus. People keep these kind of secrets in a closet, but in the case of Jesus, it is right there written in the Bible and is presented before our eyes. God used all the fallen people, who were murderers, adulterers, cheats, liars, prostitutes to accomplish His plan to save the world.
We are also like the people in the genealogy of the Christ. We are all sinners. Yet, God sent His only son to save us. He loves us enough to work through all these fallen people to bring his son the earth to keep his promise to save us and to redeem his world from the clutches of Satan. In fact, that’s what we can learn from this genealogy. You might never have taken any time to look at it, but it tells an amazing story.
Next week, we will see it more about the genealogy of the Christ, the grace in the genealogy.
God Bless 🙂