1:1-25 The Genealogy And Birth Of Jesus
Memory Verse: Matthew 1:21
1:1-17 The Genealogy Of Jesus According To Joseph
- 1:1, 16c The gospel record of Matthew opens with “the book of the generation of Jesus.” Matthew wants us to know that Jesus is a real person with a heritage that is traceable. His Jewish roots will help us identify who Jesus really is. First, Matthew says he is the Christ—the anointed One, the Messiah, the promised Saviour of the World. Second, he says Jesus is the son of David—meaning He is the promised son of David who will establish an eternal kingdom. Third, he says Jesus is the son of Abraham—meaning he would be the Blessing by which all families of the earth would be blessed. Matthew is going to reveal to us that it is Jesus alone who can fulfill the promises of God, all other human efforts (King Solomon, Israel, etc.) have failed, but God will remain faithful to His word.
Genesis 12:1-3; 2 Samuel 7:25; Acts 2:29-36
- 1:17 Matthew gives us the list of forty-two generations to show that Jesus is of true Jewish lineage. He breaks it up into three sections with each including fourteen generations. The list is not to show an unbroken line of ancestors, but to show Jesus is of the lineage of the Jews founder, Abraham, and the great king David. The list includes women, which is isn’t normal for Jewish culture, and people who committed great sins, or didn’t have a good reputation—showing that God will accomplish His will even though man has failed.
- 1:2-6 The first group—from Abraham to David: Abraham (1) begat Isaac (2) whom begat Jacob (3) whom begat Judas (4) and his brethren. Judas begat Phares (5) and Zara of Thamar. Phares begat Esrom (6) whom begat Aram (7) whom begat Aminadab (8) whom begat Naasson (9) whom begat Salmon (10) whom begat Booz (11) of Rachab whom begat Obed (12) of Ruth whom begat Jesse (13) whom begat David (14) the king.
- 1:7-11 The second group—from David until the carrying away into Babylon: David the king whom begat Solomon (15) of her that had been the wife of Urias. Solomon begat Roboam (16) whom begat Abia (17) whom begat Asa (18) whom begat Josaphat (19) whom begat Joram (20) whom begat Ozias (21) whom begat Joatham (22) whom begat Achaz (23) whom begat Ezekias (24) whom begat Manasses (25) whom begat Amon (26) whom begat Josias (27) whom begat Jechonias (28) and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
- 1:12-16 The third group—from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ: After they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias (29) begat Salathiel (30) whom begat Zorobabel (31) whom begat Abiud (32) whom begat Eliakim (33) whom begat Azor (34) whom begat Sadoc (35) whom begat Achim (36) whom begat Eliud (37) whom begat Eleazar (38) whom begat Matthan (39) whom begat Jacob (40) whom begat Joseph (41) the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus (42), who is called Christ.
- 1:16b Before the list concludes with Jesus, we are introduced to Jesus’ parents. But the list never says that Joseph begat Jesus like it does with the other father and son relationships. This is because Jesus’ birth was supernatural. Joseph never had sexual relations with Mary to produce the child Jesus. Instead, as we will learn in the coming verses, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. This means Jesus was not Joseph’s literal, physical offspring—but Jesus was Joseph’s legal offspring because Joseph was Jesus’ step-father, making Jesus part of this important lineage (thus fulfilling prophecy).
1:18-25 The Birth Of Jesus From Joseph’s Perspective
- 1:18 After presenting Jesus’ royal and important lineage, Matthew now turns to explain how Jesus was born. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was espoused to Joseph—which in Jewish culture was a one-year engagement only breakable by divorce. During this time they were not permitted to sexually come together, but must wait until after the official marriage ceremony had taken place. Therefore, it was during this time of the engagement and before they came together sexually that Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Mary was a virgin (as noted in Luke’s Gospel)—meaning God supernaturally caused Mary to become pregnant with Jesus without the natural means of procreation between humans.
- 1:19 Joseph was a just and righteous man. He believed, worshipped and served God. Thus, when Mary told him the news of her miraculous conception he had to be shocked and confused. The news was that an angel told Mary she was going to supernatural conceive a child who would be the Son of God. Knowing he never had sex with her and not understanding how his wife could become pregnant except for the only other option he could think of which would mean she had sexual intercourse with another man, he decided to divorce her. The third, and supernatural option, of her conception was unthinkable. He loved her, but how was he to believe her? Joseph knew the punishment for adultery according to the law was death by stoning, but he didn’t want to make her a public example or put her to shame, so he decide he would just do a private divorce.
Luke 1:28-38; Deuteronomy 22:23-24
- 1:20-21 While Joseph thought about everything the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream. The angel addressed Joseph by name and as the “son of David”—emphasizing his royal lineage. He told Joseph not to fear but to take Mary as his wife. He took away all doubts about how Mary conceived the child, explaining that the baby in her womb truly was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Mary was still a virgin and had never committed adultery, this truly was a miracle. The angel then explains the baby will be male and they are to name him JESUS, which means “God Saves,” and as the angel reveals, that is exactly what He is going to do “save his people from their sins.” Jesus’ virgin birth would mean he would the first person born in human history without sin. This was required for salvation to be possible, which is Jesus’ mission in coming to earth.
- 1:22-23 Everything that was done fulfilled what was spoken of the Lord by the prophet Isaiah: (1) A virgin will be with child, (2) she will bring forth a son, and (3) they will call his name Emmanuel, which means, “God with us.” God’s word is the authority from which we know truth. He promised a Saviour would come. This birth marked His coming. His word verified how he would come. Everything points to Jesus as the Saviour of the World.
Isaiah 7:14; Philippians 2:5-11
- 1:24-25 Joseph woke up and did as the angel said. He took Mary as his wife instead of divorcing her. Also, he did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to the child (probably to keep anyone from doubting). Finally, Joseph named the child, “JESUS.”
- Why is knowing Jesus’ genealogy important?
- What is the difference when we are introduced to Jesus’ parents in the genealogy?
- Why was Joseph going to divorce Mary?
- Why didn’t Joseph divorce Mary?
- Why was Jesus birth a miracle and what does it point to?