Genealogy of Jesus

The passage

(Mat 1:1-17 NIV)  A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: {2} Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, {3} Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, {4} Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, {5} Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, {6} and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, {7} Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, {8} Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, {9} Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, {10} Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, {11} and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. {12} After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, {13} Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, {14} Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud, {15} Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, {16} and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. {17} Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.

Jesus emptied Himself and came as a man

Matthew Henry in his commentary wrote, “while we read the names in his genealogy, we should not forget how low the Lord of glory stooped to save the human race.”

Paul says the same thing in his letter to the Philipian church.

(Phil 2:5-8 NIV)  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: {6} Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, {7} but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. {8} And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

Jesus was not ashamed to come down as a man. He was not ashamed to be stripped and humiliated on the cross because of His love for us. The love we have for Him should compel us to do things that we deem humiliating.

(Acts 5:41-42 NIV)  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. {42} Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

God’s acceptance of everyone including sinners

Verse 3 tells us that Jesus’ ancestors included Tamar. She disguised herself as a prostitute in order to become pregnant by her father-in-law. Verse 5 mentions Rahab, the harlot. Verse 6 talks about Solomon and emphasized that he was the son of David’s affair with a woman who had been Uriah’s wife.

One would think that God would only accept the “best” of peoples to be ancestors of His only Son incarnate. But through the genealogy, God demonstrated that “sinners” are accepted as well.

This was against the religious thought of that day. The Pharisees reprimanded Jesus for spending time with “sinners”.

(Mat 9:10-13 NIV)  While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. {11} When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" {12} On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. {13} But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Some people think that they cannot approach God until they have got their lives straightened out. I have good news for them. God came to call sinners, not people like the Pharisees who think they do not need repentance.

I remember an experience shared by a speaker in our pulpit. He shared that one day, as he was ministering at the altar, he saw a pregnant woman crying profusely. At that moment God prompted him to pray for that woman and to call her specifically by name. God revealed the woman’s name to this minister. When the minister approached her and called her name, she was shocked. The minister was taken aback and said, “If that is not your name, I apologize.” The woman replied, “I am pregnant with a child that is not my husband’s. And I was telling God ‘Do you even know my name?’ This woman felt her sin was so serious God would not want to have anything to do with her. How wrong she was. God knows her by name.

God accepts everyone including sinners.

God turns the bad into good

Tamar and Rahab both practiced prostitution and Solomon was conceived out of an illicit affair. Yet Jesus Christ, the Son of God, descended from them. This shows that God is able to turn bad into good.

A good example of this is in the life of Joseph. His brothers did evil when they sold him as a slave. But God could even work in that evil situation and turn it for His good. Joseph was used mightily by God to preserve many lives when he organized to store food for famine years. Joseph himself understood this and told this to his brothers.

(Gen 50:20 NIV)  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

We may feel that we have messed up in life and there is nothing good that God can use us for. The examples in the Bible prove us wrong. God can use even the bad things we have done and turn them into good. The important thing for us to do is to repent and commit the situation to God and ask him to turn the evil for his good purpose.

Remember the credentials of Jesus

God started the New Testament with a genealogy of Jesus because the ancestry of Jesus is such as important aspect of His credentials as our High Priest (Heb 7:17).

In the days of Nehemiah some men could not become priests because they failed to prove that they descended from the priestly line.

(Neh 7:61-64 NIV)  The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel: {62} the descendants of Delaiah, Tobiah and Nekoda 642 {63} And from among the priests: the descendants of Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai (a man who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name). {64} These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.

When God wanted to introduce Jesus to us in the very start of the New Testament, He did the most logical thing – He introduced the credentials of Jesus.

God did the same thing at the start of Jesus’ ministry. During the baptism of Jesus, God the Father declared publicly the credentials of His Son.

(Mat 3:16-17 NIV)  As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. {17} And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

When we introduce Jesus to our friends, it is important to introduce to them the credentials of Jesus.

What makes Jesus so special compared to the founders of other religions? He is special because He is the only one who proved His claim to be the Son of God by rising from the dead. Many founders of religions made claims, died and stay dead. How do we know whether what they claim is true of not? Read more.

Jesus, through His life, proved that He is no normal human being. Encourage your non-Christian friends to read the gospels for themselves and they will see the credentials of Jesus.

Jesus is no ordinary prophet. There are numerous prophecies written about Him before He was even born. Read more.