Matthew 1:1-18 The Genealogy
Bruner’s commentary notes that in giving Jesus the name “Messiah” he is in fact declaring a job title. Jesus was the man the Jews had been waiting for for centuries. He was to be a Messiah–a ruler, a leader, a king. He would exact justice and judgement. He was the fulfillment of all prophecy.
Vs. 1 also calls Jesus the Son of Abraham and Son of David. That doesn’t mean much to me. But then the commentary notes that to a Jew, “Son of Abraham” refers to the promise made in Genesiss that God would send someone that would be a blessing for everyone (I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and pin you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”1) Matthew is declaring that Christ is in fact the hope for all nations. Furthermore, in naming Him the “Son of David” he is saying that he is the await King who will rule forever. And so, Jesus is the King that will reign forever and be the hope for all nations. And so, every reference to Abraham in Matthew relates to the promises of God to ALL humanity.
As I read the genealogy of Jesus, I can’t help but wonder why those specific women were chose to be mentioned in the lineage of Jesus. Why not Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah? Ironically, most of them had a questionable sexual history and all were Gentiles. Tamar dressed up as a prostitute and slept with her father-in-law; Rahab was a prostitute; Ruth was a Moabitei, a descent of the incestuous act of Lot’s daughters; Bathsheba com
mitted adultery; Mary was an unwed pregnant woman. There is little doubt that having these “type” of women in your genealogy in those days would reflect poorly on that person. But Jesus is so different than anyone else. He owns it. When people touch him, He does not become unclean–He cleanses.
In addition, there is something profound in the “on purposeness” of history. From there point in history, it may have seemed that there was no hope or point for what they suffered. It may have seemed as if the promise the Lord made to Abraham and to David and in turn, Israel, remained unfulfilled. Perhaps they doubted that the Lord had even spoke. Perhaps it seemed like the darkness was too deep and that all hope had died.
But God can not be surprised. He knew that David would commit adultery. He knew that Salmon would marry a former prostitute. He knew that Tamar would sleep with her father-in-law. He knew. He knew and yet in His sovereign providence, He allowed it to be so. Dare we say He even ordained it? Is this not the Gosp
el preached in the genealogy? God chooses to use Gentiles who are soiled but repentant to be a part of the lineage of grace. As Bruner states, “It teaches divine mercy, a mercy extending to both racial and moral outsiders.”