READ: Matthew 1:1-17
- Genealogies are often skipped by readers. They feel like a bunch of disconnected names that merely tell ancestry. In this case, these are not just any names. This is the lineage of Jesus, the Messiah of God. This is designed to give confidence that He is the rightful heir to David’s throne, the legitimate son of Abraham, bringing the promise of God. This list of names gives Jesus the necessary roots to be considered as Savior.
People familiar with Scripture will probably recognize a lot of the names: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David. Some might note Boaz and Judah and Solomon. But most of the names are just that, names; ancestors that only those interested in family lineages would really know anything about. But these are not just any names. They are selected by Matthew for inclusion. Comparing genealogies from the Old Testament and from Luke, we see that Matthew was particular with whom he mentioned and how many he identified.
- Beyond that, there are unusual names in the list. Not just odd to us because we don’t know them, but rare in that they are not usually listed in genealogical tables. Matthew includes 5 women, ultimately ending with Mary, as though the genealogy led to her instead of Joseph. And the list includes some not so savory memories – illegitimate children, murder, and infidelity. But they are here, in the list of names.
- Why is this list so significant?
- Why do you think Matthew was so selective, and yet kept the names of some who had unsavory pasts?
- What are the implications of including men with sordid experiences and women with questionable backgrounds?
PRAY: Thank God that He doesn’t discriminate based on ancestry. Pray that we are as open to the unsavory in our church as Jesus’ lineage indicates. Ask God to help Madison Park be a welcoming community to those who might be excluded from others’ lists.