Matthew's Genealogy of Jesus

Sterling Franklin


Matthew was a tax collector of Jewish descent. He wrote this Gospel with a main focus to a Jewish audience. Old Testament prophecies are mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel when the prophecies are fulfilled (He does this 9 times in this Gospel).

Parallel to some Genesis passages, Matthew starts out by giving a genealogy of Jesus. There are a lot of ‘begats’ in this chapter, but within these ‘begats’ lie some interesting people. Did you know that ‘genealogy’ and ‘birth’ both come from the Greek word ‘GENESIS’?!?!?! So the Old Testament starts with Genesis, as does the New Testament in a 

Adam was the man of imperfection who came in the Old Testament, and Jesus was the man of perfection (as some like to say, the Second Adam [Man]). The second son in a lot of the Bible is the son of promise {we will likely have a study on that later}. Some examples are Cain & Abel, where Abel was the one who pleased God with his offering, and Ishmael & Isaac, where Isaac was the son of promise.

Matthew uses symmetry of numbers, and he was fairly educated in rabbinical thinking, and if you go into the Hebrew, you can derive that the sum of the letters of David is 14. Matthew mentions that there are fourteen generations between Abraham and David, and David and the Babylonian captivity, and then the Babylonian captivity and Jesus (1:17).

Each letter in Hebrew has a numerical value as well as an alphabetic letter and sound. A great deal of mathematical significances are based on the numerical value of words, but to what extent Matthew actually is 
using this is not totally certain.

I also found this pretty cool –

- Abraham: things are getting started as God gives him a covenant (the God-given promise that Abraham’s descendants will be as numerous as the sand and that he will be a great nation), so starting from a low point, things begin to go upward.
- David: Israel reaches a sort of peak as God blesses David with numerous victories. In his reign, many nations were gained under Israelite control. Things did start to level off after David’s ordeal with Bathsheba.- Babylonian Captivity: A low point in Israel’s history, where Israel was taken under Babylonian control. This captivity lasted 70 years and was prophesied by Jeremiah (from Word of the LORD), and was lived through by Daniel and other prophets of that time period.
- Jesus: The peak of all peaks in history, where a Savior was born in the city of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:6).

Did you notice that there is a low, then high, then low, then another high? It reminds me of a sine wave! Pretty cool, eh?

Also included in this genealogy are 5 women (including Mary). It was not usual to mention women in genealogies. In this genealogy altogether are…
- Infidels such as Judah, who refused to carry on his brother’s marriage and have sons for him (although Tamar/Thamar did dupe him into having children with him by dressing as a harlot).
- Shepherds such as David (he became a king).
- Harlots such as Rahab (one of the women in this genealogy who hid Joshua’s spies even though consequences COULD have occurred).
- Kings such as Solomon (a very wise one, at that), and Solomon was begat of David by Bathsheba, the wife of Urias.
- A virtuous woman, Ruth.

Know what? Jesus died for all types of people. Whether prostitute (harlot) or virtuous, whether shepherd or king, whether servant or master, Jesus died for all types of people that they might have eternal Salvation upon believing in Him as Lord and Savior.

Joseph (husband of Mary) – Surprise, surprise! The Bible does not say, “Joseph begat Jesus.” Everyone else in this genealogy “begat” a son, except for Joseph. Something unique must have happened!

Instead, Joseph is mentioned to be the husband of Mary. Interestingly as well, the Holy Spirit through Matthew’s pen makes careful note that Mary was found with child of the Holy Ghost (1:18). Mary and Joseph 
were were engaged and had not “come together” in relationship (through marriage).

In Jewish custom back then, a couple would be “betrothed” or engaged for one year. Joseph could have divorced Mary if she were truly unfaithful to him in being an out-of-control adulterous woman, but she wasn’t! Another Jewish custom: divorce upon infidelity had to be done in front of two witnesses in private, but if she objected or ‘appealed to a higher court,’ in a sense, she would be taken in front of three rabbis (not rabbits, but rabbis) to be tried or divorced.

Honestly, think of what Joseph thought! A woman getting pregnant and yet being a virgin! This is no ordinary situation! In verse 19, his thoughts are recognized.

“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.” – Matthew 1:19

Joseph was going to “dump” Mary due to her obvious pregnancy in secret so that she wouldn’t be made a humiliation or a disgrace. In a dream, an angel of the Lord appeared to him telling him that Mary was with child of the Holy Ghost and that he should not be afraid to take Mary to be his wife (1:20).

Jesus (also called Jesus Christ) – Jesus comes from the Hebrew name Yehoshua, meaning “The LORD Saves” or “Salvation.” Christ means “Messiah” or “Anointed One.” As a name, Joshua and Hosea mean the same thing as Jesus. You could argue that Jesus’ name was more of a title since it was His identity! He was the Messiah and the Savior to the entire world!

1 John 2:2 – “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21

FULFILLED PROPHECY: verse 23, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Joseph and Mary did not have sexual union until after she brought forth Jesus (1:25), so the prophecy was fulfilled.

Jesus had to be fully man to be a perfect sacrifice FOR man (we will read a lot about that in Hebrews), and He had to be Fully God to Save those who were lost. Jesus was fully man, Fully God. Thank Him for coming to earth, because in Him is the redemption of sins.

If you want this redemption and have not yet, all you have to do is Believe and Ask. “Lord, be my Savior. Forgive my sins, I believe You are the Son of God and died and rose again to conquer the power of sin on my life. Make me clean, thank You, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.” If that is your heart’s desire, I invite you to pray that out loud right now. God bless you!

May the Lord richly bless you this week, and expect more studies soon! Praise the Lord for who He is and what He has done, is doing, and WILL do. :)

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”


Study Date: January, 2002 -

Category: Sermon

Note: Given to the "Inside Out" online Youth Group

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