Descent of the Messiah (part 1)

From the devotional Day by Day in the Gospel of Matthew by Chuck Gianotti.

Matthew 1:1-4

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon.

The Gospel According to Matthew is the first of four biographies of Jesus Christ in the New Testament (NT). Portraying Jesus as the promised King, the Messiah of the Jewish people, and Savior of the world, this book is rich in prophetic fulfillment. Being Jewish in flavor, it begins with Jesus Christ’s all-important genealogy. (Note, the term Messiah is a Hebrew word, the translation of which is Christos in the Greek language, transliterated “Christ” in English. Both words mean “anointed one.” English translations vary over which term is used.)

For the Jews, genealogy was a source of authentication, establishing one’s tribal connection and any ancestral link to a great historical personage that might be claimed. In the first four verses, Jesus is linked to two of the three greatest names in Jewish history, namely Abraham and David (Moses being the third). The first, the father of the Jewish nation, demonstrated the epitome of faith. The second, the greatest king of the monarchy, was the supreme model of godly loyalty. 

Also included are those of less admirable character, like Tamar, a direct ancestor of our Lord. She was the widowed daughter-in-law of Judah (one of the twelve sons of Jacob and thus the patriarch of the tribe named after him). After her husband died, leaving her childless, she posed as a prostitute to trick her father-in-law into impregnating her. Judah, unaware of her identity, fell for the ruse. The result was two children, one of whom was this Perez through whom God ultimately brought Jesus into the world! This is one of a number of “blemishes” in the ancestral line from Abraham down to Jesus Christ. Most people would avoid such associations in their backgrounds, but He was not ashamed of being connected with “sinners.” In fact, Jesus was characteristically called “a friend of sinners” (11:19), and He is recorded by the writer of Hebrews as not being ashamed to call anyone "brother” whom God has set apart and made “one” with Him (Heb. 2:11). 


Thank you, Lord, that even though I am a sinner, You are not ashamed to associate with me and call me friend (John 15:14) and brother.

 



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