The names Matthew uses in his genealogy shows that Jesus is a Saviour for all
This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah 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 Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud 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, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
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 Messiah.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
I found it interesting to reflect on the people Matthew chose to include in his genealogy of Jesus. This is his introduction to his gospel – what he pitches to his audience as a new beginning for humankind. Therefore I’m guessing he would have weighed every word he wrote carefully.
The first thing to note is the fact that he included women (he includes five – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary). This was unusual, as descent was usually traced through men as the head of the family.
Secondly, not only is their mere inclusion noteworthy, but the particular women included is also interesting. Most of these women highlight some of the unsavoury events of the family history of Jesus. There’s some debate regarding Tamar’s character, but the fact that she pretended to be a prostitute to bear a child in the line of Judah raises some question marks. Rahab was a prostitute, but importantly she repents and is included as a hero of the faith in Hebrews. Bathsheba was taken by a King in power, while married to another man and bore a child who became King Solomon.
For me what makes this more interesting is that Matthew didn’t have to include these people but yet he highlighted some of the unsavoury moments in the family tree. He actually didn’t include everyone. He skips generations at certain points, even three at a time. There might have been a couple of reasons for this. Omitting names in a genealogy was common to make for ease of memorisation.
The fact that he could have omitted these people but chose not to is interesting, given the above. Maybe Matthew was making a point. That Jesus is a Saviour for all.
It makes me think of how to apply Matthew’s point to our context today. There are probably people today who are roughly equivalent to women in the first-century AD: people who are seen to not matter as much; people who are almost seen to be second-class citizens; people who are forgotten about.
Then on top of that, are the people who are roughly equivalent to the particular female characters in the genealogy: people who have done things they’re ashamed of; people who stick out and are different from the rest; people who have had acts of violence and pain inflicted on them.
Jesus is a Saviour for all.
Head: Have a think about how you might treat people differently, and how living out the truth of Jesus being a saviour for all might change how you treat others.
Heart: Perhaps you feel a weight of guilt and shame. Perhaps you feel odd or different to those around you. How does knowing that Jesus is a Saviour for all give you comfort and assurance?
Hands: What could you do today to love someone that might need it, and show that Jesus loves them through you?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the incredible, beautiful fact that Jesus is a saviour for all. I’m sorry for the times that I haven’t shown your indiscriminate love to others. I pray that you would change my heart to melt away my prejudices and love people as you do. In Jesus’ name, amen.
A song to listen to: You Are On Our Side
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Bible in 10 series in 2017. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.