“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.” Matthew 1:1–3
I begin today with an apology for suddenly shifting from the gospel of Mark to Matthew. A few days ago when I began Mark I’d forgotten that more than a year and a half ago I’d already covered this gospel and not wanting to duplicate books already covered I made the switch. I’m sorry if this disappoints any of you.
Matthew begins his gospel with a genealogy listing ancestors of Jesus from Abraham through Joseph. The main reason for this is to establish that Jesus had fulfilled prophecy and come into this world through the line of Judah. Matthew’s mistake in doing this was to track that line through Joseph who was not actually Jesus’ father. Luke makes it very clear that Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit and not Joseph which is why he includes Jesus’ genealogy tracking his ancestry through Mary.
Notwithstanding the technical error, Matthew’s list of ancestors does demonstrate one powerful reality regarding Christ. He was not just a Jewish Savior he’s Savior to the world.
Five women are listed in Matthew’s genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Many commentators have discussed the actual and apparent moral failings of these four ladies demonstrating that God wasn’t cherry picking antecedents for Christ when he selected the family his Son would call his own. However, given the presence of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, in the line up I don’t think Matthew needed these ladies to establish that fact; after all he did apostatize, worship idols, and kill the prophet Isaiah by having him stuffed into a log and then sawn in half. I think there’s a more significant reason for the inclusion of these women.
Consideration of the first four women reveals a definite un-Jewish connection. We don’t know who Tamar’s father was but it’s possible, perhaps even probable, that he was Canaanite. Rahab was definitely Canaanite. We know that Ruth was Moabite. Bathsheba is believed to have been Jewish but her legitimate husband was a Hittite.
Matthew’s intentional association of Jesus with nonJewish ancestors firmly establishes Jesus’ connection to those who cannot claim to have descended from Abraham, of whom I am one.
Jesus, the son of Mary, the Son of God, was truly the Son of Man. As Savior to the world no wonder that his favorite way of referring to himself was by the title Son of Man. He hadn’t come to this earth to save one single family line. He’d come for all. As creator he claims every son and daughter of Adam as his own and as Messiah his chosen pedigree demonstrates that he’s not ashamed to connect himself to anyone