The genealogy of Jesus Christ in today’s gospel is one of those chapters in the bible that may keep one wondering what he can actually learn from a narrative list like that of Matthew today. But the genealogy helps us to answer the question, “Who is Jesus and where did he come from?”
The gospel of Matthew, in essence, is to prove the messianic prophecies which have come to fulfilment in Jesus. One of the ways the book does this is by recounting Jesus’s Genealogy.
Jesus has a History. He is not An Imagination
Like every other human being, the genealogy implies that Jesus has a history. He comes from a lineage.
The Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would come from the line of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16, Isaiah 11:1). Both Matthew and Luke provide genealogies of Jesus that confirm he was a descendant of David, therefore, a legitimate Messiah.
Matthew begins with Abraham and follows the line of David’s son Solomon and ends with Joseph, while Luke begins with Joseph and follows the line of Nathan, another Son of David then to Adam.
This created a little controversy. Some argued that they created this genealogy to provide Jesus with a legitimate ancestry with Davidic lineage. But the genealogy reveals that Jesus was never a figment of imagination nor a mental formulation.
He belonged to history like any of us. And if Jesus belonged to history, it means there was a time He came, and if there was a time He came, how he came, died, resurrected, and no trace of his body can be seen anywhere on earth, are signs that Jesus is not ordinary.
He is the Messiah to come.
The genealogy in Matthew 1:1f is traced through Joseph, Jesus’ legal (though not natural) father, and it establishes His claim and right to the throne of David (Matthew 1: 6) which hence fulfils that
He is the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Some argued that the genealogy in Luke 3:23-38 is evidently that of Mary, though some believe it is also Joseph’s, by assuming that Matthan (Matthew 1:15) and Matthat (Luke 3:24) were the same people and Jacob (Matthew 1:16) and Eli (Luke 3:23) were brothers (one being Joseph’s father and the other his uncle).
These notwithstanding, the truth remains that Jesus has a genealogy from Davidic lineage. The genealogy is a pointer that Jesus is truly the Messiah to come. This is why Matthew begins today’s genealogy stating categorically that Jesus is the son of David and Son of Abraham. And if Jesus has a history and yet the Messiah to come, it means Christianity is not fake as some are deceived to believe.
He is Divine.
The genealogy truly helps us to understand who Jesus is. Despite His humanity, or being part of our history, the genealogy also reveals that Jesus’ origin is divine. After tracing the Messianic lineage, yet towards the end, Matthew did not say Jesus was born of Joseph rather He introduces a shift.
Matthew ends His narrative by saying Jacob was the father of Joseph who is the husband of Mary. Instead of linking Jesus’ birth to Joseph, Matthew ends the genealogy with Mary by stating that of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
The statement is a pointer that Joseph is not the physical father of Jesus Christ. Hence this is a reference to His divine origin and fulfilment of the Virgin’s birth.
God Never Fails In His Promises.
The wisdom of the genealogy is proof that God never goes back in His promises. It also indicates that the fulfilment of God’s promises may take time but actually, it will come as promised.
When God promises to do something. it must come to pass. He is God and does not have time to lie or to play on our intelligence. Despite the years or times, it may take, what God has destined must come to fulfilment.
The promise of the Messiah was fulfilled after many years. If Jesus is real and all that was spoken of Him came to fulfilment, despite the years it took, always know that God fulfils whatever He has designed for us. Why then do many live as if God is not real? If Jesus is God and God’s promises never fail, why then do many doubt His promises? Why do we live as if God does not fulfil His words and has abandoned us? Losing faith in God should never be an option. It is better to hang your faith there and work towards God’s promises than losing faith totally. Oge Chukwu ka mma ( God’s time is the best).
Everything is By His Grace.
Another interesting fact about Matthew’s genealogy is the inclusion of four Old Testament women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (Uriah’s wife).
From our human point of view, these women are questionable in some way to appear in the Messianic lineage. Therefore, the genealogy is a pointer that God looks beyond what we see.
The people we underrate today, maybe the people God will use tomorrow. So never lose hope in life because of your past, rather make a change and move forward.
Tamar and Rahab were prostitutes (Gen. 38:24; Josh. 2:1), Ruth was a foreigner, a Moabitess (Ruth 1:4), and Bathsheba committed adultery (2 Sam. 11:2-5). The lesson is that God can still make use of anyone. Everything is by His grace. Always pray for His grace every day.
After listing the names of these imperfect women, Matthew also inserts the name of Mary. In the Jewish culture, they do not count women. Therefore, the inclusion of these imperfect women which ends with Mary has a message for us.
One can say that Only the Blessed Virgin Mary is different from all of the women listed in the genealogy, because she was noted to live a holy and virtuous life. She gave birth to Jesus.
The wisdom of the genealogy here points that human history has imperfections but always perfected by God.
Therefore, just like the genealogy or the journey of messiah-ship, the journey of our salvation can have a history of many imperfection.
At last, only through Jesus can we have perfections. As we struggle towards our salvation, there may be series of mistakes, but do not give up.
Our journey is a journey of imperfections to perfection at last. The coming of Jesus is make all things perfect. He makes all things well. Even when you are undergoing crisis, always cling on to Jesus, He makes all things well. Everything is by His grace.
May God be with us today and may His promises in your life come to fulfillment despite whatever you are passing through. Amen