Matthew 1:1-17 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Genealogy of Jesus
Comments for Study 1

Matthew 1:1-17
Memory Verse: 1


I. Jesus Christ, the Son of David, and of Abraham (1,2)

>1. What title does Matthew give to Jesus? (1) Why is it important for him to identify Jesus in this way? Who are the three main pillars in God's history?

Matthew 1:1 "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham."

* "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ" -Matthew is an apostle of Jesus. He was a Jew. In writing this he was mainly interested in showing that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the King of the Jews. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises that God made to both David and Abraham, the greatest men in the Jewish lineage to any Jew in Matthew's day. God promised that the Messiah would come through them. Therefore, the first order of business for Matthew was to show that Jesus is a descendant of both Abraham and David.
Jesus, being Messiah, is the true King of the Jews and Father of Faith. Thus, Matthew pointed out that Jesus, like Abraham and David, is one of the three main pillars in God's history. Indeed, he is the main pillar.

* "genealogy" -The Greek word here means "genesis" or "origins" or "study of origins".

Milky Way

>2. Who is Abraham? What did God promise him? (Genesis 12:2,3; 17:3-5) How did Abraham respond to God's promises? (Genesis 15:5,6; 22:18; Romans 4:1-8) In light of God's redemptive work, what is the significance of God's promise to Abraham? (Genesis 22:17,18)

* "the son of Abraham" -Abraham is the patriarch of faith for Jews (Isaiah. 51:2). He was the beginning of their nation. Genesis 12:2,3 records one of God's promises to Abraham, "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 17:3-5 records another, "Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 'As for me, this is my covenant with you; You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.'"

When Abraham was on the earth he really wasn't a blessing to all people on earth, everywhere. So, the promise was a spiritual reference, or can be called "a promise by God of the Messiah." "Father of many nations" can only refer to fulfillment through Jesus the Messiah, for Abraham could not be the father of the Gentiles. Esau was a nation for a while, as was Isaac. But these are the only two nations Abraham is known to be the father of. He was not the father of many nations through his physical descendants.

Genesis 15:5-6 records a third promise of God to Abraham. It records, "He took him outside and said, 'Look up at the heavens and count the stars -if indeed you can count them.' Then he said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.' Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.'" Genesis 22:18 records a fourth, "'and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.'" In Romans 4:1-8 Paul addresses these promises, "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about -but not before God. What does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works; 'Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.'"

Abraham's life can be summed up by saying, "He believed, obeyed, and trusted God." Abraham didn't understand everything or knew how God would fulfill all these words of promise to him. But Abraham "trusted God" would do something to keep his word.

Genesis 22:17-18 is another promise of God to Abraham; it is similar to others. It says, "'I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.'" (See a picture of a beach on the Sea of Galilee to the right.) I point this out again to bring up the fact that "offspring" is singular. Galatians 3:15-16 confirms this.

Sea of Galilee Beach

>3. Who is David? What did God promise him? (2 Samuel 7:12-16) Why was God pleased with him (Acts 13:22; 1Sa 17:37,45,47)? How else did he show his faith in God (Romans 4:5-8; Psalms 51:12)?

>4. What promise did God make concerning Jesus? (Matthew 1:21) How is Jesus the "prefecture" of our faith? (Hebrews 12:2)

* "the son of David" -David was the second king of Israel. He was the youngest son of Jesse. 2 Samuel 7:12-16 records a promise of God to David. It says, "'When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.'" David's human son who became a king was Solomon, but the promise does not refer to Solomon. His kingdom did not last forever, nor was it as good as David's kingdom (which itself was not perfect). Solomon put many of the Israelites into forced labor. Obviously, God's promise in 2 Samuel 7 refers to the Messiah. To prove this I point out that as in Genesis 22:17-18, "offspring" is singular. Therefore, the promise is mainly about the Messiah, Jesus.

However, many have pointed out that 2 Samuel 7:12-16 refers to many things; Solomon, Israel, the Messiah, the church, and even individuals. They says, "Each can receive this promise." I am not so sure. One thing is for sure, because of Jesus we are blessed in many ways.

Acts 13:22 says, "After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him; 'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'" 1 Samuel 17:37 says, "'The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.'" 1 Samuel 17:45 says, "David said to the Philistine, 'You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.'" 1 Samuel 17:47 says, "'All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's and he will give all of you into our hands.'" All these point out David's faith in the LORD, the God of Israel. David was a man of faith.

David wasn't perfect. But he knew the heart of God's will, even when he sinned, even when he was blessed, even in his sufferings and misery, even in joy and victory. David glorified God, not his own victory. He was willing to do what ever God wanted him to. He obeyed from his heart. He believed the Lord would concur the giant Goliath. He was a man of faith and courage. He was a man after God's own heart.

In Romans 4:5-8 Paul addresses God's work in and through David. It says, "However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works; 'Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.'" In Psalm 51:12 David recorded this faith. He said, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

David had faith in God's love and forgiveness even after a terrible sin and a deep pit of sins. Through the forgiveness of sins, David grew to learn God more personally. The invisible Goliath, sin, was a harder opponent for David to overcome. He did overcome by repenting. Then David received God's disciplines. God worked with imperfect people by their faith.

crown of gold and silver

II. Women of Faith (3-17)

>5. Find the five women in Jesus' genealogy. (3,5,6b,16) What is peculiar about these women being recorded in this genealogy? What does this tell us about the nature of God and his redemptive work?

Matthew 1:3-6 "Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,"

Matthew 1:16 "and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."

* This genealogy was to establish Jesus is the fulfillment of God's promise. Therefore, only the men would be needed to be recorded. However, five women are also recorded. In the Jewish society of Jesus' day, a woman's genealogy did not matter that much. Yet, all of these women are listed because they learned of God's grace and accepted it by faith. They all had a fatalistic element of life and overcame through faith in God. Each had to act in faith in a critical time. Sometimes they expressed their faith in unusual ways. God and his redemptive work is based on those who have faith not weather the are men or women.

>6. Who was Tamar? (Genesis 38:1-30) How did she show herself to be a faithful woman?

* "Tamar" -Judah, Jacob's son, was the father of her children. She was a Canaanite who showed faith in God. She wanted to stay a part of God's history and be faithful to her husband even though her father-in-law was not kind to her. She could have left Judah's family anytime in the period of waiting for Judah's youngest son to come of age. But she kept Judah's words and promise. It was not easy to do so. The waiting period was many years and her human family and neighbors was very sinful during this time. But she wore a mourners clothing and kept pure against the world's way. It is also important to note that Judah's sons were not that noble of men to have children by. Finally, to help Judah keep his word, she did what was not easy, dressing as a prostitute.

Because of Judah's lie Joseph went into Egypt as a slave. But because of this woman's faith Judah repented and became a man of responsibility. The grace of God is the point of her life that is meant for us to learn. It is not to tell us that immoral practices are right if the end is right. What she did was the best idea she could do in her situation to do what was right.

Tower of Jericho

>7. Who was Rahab? (Joshua 2) What did she believe? How did God use her? How did he bless her? (Hebrews 11:31)

* "Rahab" -Joshua 2:1 says, "Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim, 'Go, look over the land,' he said, 'especially Jericho.' So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.'" Rahab was a Canaanite. She believed that God was going to hand over Jericho to the Israelites. She risked her life in believing this. Because of her act of faith in hiding the spies, her life changed. God used her to hid the spies. Later, she married a great man of faith and bore children by him.

Hebrews 11:31 says, "By faith the prostitute, Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient." She was not killed with the rest of the people in Jericho, even though all living things were to die. She married one of the spies and was a very prominent women in Israel.

* See a picture of a tower unearth at Jericho that dates back to before Abraham's time.

>8. Who was Ruth? (Ruth 1:4,16; 4:13,17) How did she show her faithfulness? How did God bless her?

* "Ruth" -Ruth 1:4 says, "They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years,..." Ruth 1:16 says, "But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." Ruth 4:13 says, "So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son." Ruth 4:17 says, "The women living there said, "Naomi has a son." And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David."

Moabites were not to enter Israel's assembly. (Duet. 23:3-6) They were a cursed people. But she was not because she believed.

Later, she married a man of God because she wanted to stay with God's people. She was faithful to her mother-in-law. She obeyed and loved her because she believed God's plan and sovereignty to help her unusual situation. She married Boaz by faith. She was more interested in spiritual things, rather than finding a husband. She overcame her fatalistic life by faith in God's sovereignty and love.

Thus, God blessed her. She was the great grandmother of David. She was added to the lineage of Jesus.

Tower of Jericho

* See a picture to the right. After almost three thousand years of oblivion, and in the course of excavations which have often presented the archaeologists with considerable difficulties, these meager and insignificant-looking fragments of walls are all that have so far come to light from the time when David captured Jerusalem and his son Solomon built its temple. On the east side of the "city of David" lie side by side the remains of the Jebusite fortress and a square tower dating from Solomon's day-venerable mementoes of Jerusalem in the time of the monarchy. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>9. How did Matthew refer to Solomon's mother? What event does this recall? (2 Samuel 11:1-4; 12:13) How does this reflect God's grace? How did Bathsheba show faith in the time of crisis? (1 Kings 1:11-17, 28-31)

* "Solomon's mother" -Who is this mother? Matthew 1:6 does not say her name but says, "David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife." She was probably a Hittite because Uriah was Hittite. Also, her name, which can be found in the Old Testament, is a Hittite name.

2 Samuel 11:1-4 says, "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 2 Samuel 12:13 says, "Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die."

God used David and Bathsheba in spite of the sin. She could have told David that she was married. But she didn't. Why would she? David already knew who her husband was. She was enticed by sin and the moment, as David was, she went through with the act. thus it says, "She had purified herself from her uncleanness".

Later, in life she acted in faith. 1 Kings 1:11-17 says, "Then Nathan asked Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, "Have you not heard that Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king without our lord David's knowing it? Now then, let me advise you how you can save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go in to King David and say to him, 'My lord the king, did you not swear to me your servant: "Surely Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne"? Why then has Adonijah become king?' While you are still there talking to the king, I will come in and confirm what you have said." So Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room, where Abishag the Shunammite was attending him. Bathsheba bowed low and knelt before the king. "What is it you want?" the king asked. She said to him, "My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant by the LORD your God: 'Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne.'"

1 Kings 1:28-31 says, "Then King David said, "Call in Bathsheba." So she came into the king's presence and stood before him. The king then took an oath: "As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, I will surely carry out today what I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place." Then Bathsheba bowed low with her face to the ground and, kneeling before the king, said, "May my lord King David live forever!"" She acknowledged David as God's servant, in spit of his earlier sin, wickedness, and failures. This was not easy for her to do. Yet, she helped David keep his word. Her life was not easy after the sin. She could have ran away. But she didn't. Thus, by her faith she was added to the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah.

Matthew 1:7-15 "Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,"

* This is a long history that includes a lot of God's work, of which I will not get into.

Matthew 1:16 "and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."

* "Mary" -Mary is the fifth woman in the Genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah. I comment on her faith in the next lesson.

>10. How would you characterize the generations from Abraham to David? (17) From David to the Babylonian exile? From the Babylonian exile to Jesus? How did the hope of the Messiah grow in the midst of the rising and waning of the kingdom of Israel?

Matthew 1:17 "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."