Jesus’ Generations in Matthew

The first two chapters of Matthew are part of the Christmas story.  Matthew wrote his Gospel for Hebrew Christians, and something important for them was their genealogy.  Two millennia later we may not understand all of this but being able to prove your roots would have connected to the priesthood and land ownership.  One thing that Matthew included in this list of family members, were some of the women who played important roles in the family of Judah.  Tradition has Matthew’s list as belonging to Joseph and the one in Luke’s Gospel belongs to Mary.  Even though it was not unusual, this list has five women it.  Matthew used something that would appeal to his audience, and that was highlighting three sets of fourteen generations.  The first two sets can be found in 1 Chronicles Chapters 1 through 3.  These people may have meant more to the first audience than they do to us, but there are many lessons here for us too.  (See Fourteen in the Bible)

The first overall lesson is seen by the first and last person in these three lists – Abraham and Jesus Christ.  Abraham represents faith, in a God, he did not know, while the ins and outs of the family tree lead to salvation.  I will set before you three lessons, and acknowledge that there are more truths in these first sixteen verses in Matthew.  We will look at these three generations by themselves and as a group.

  1. Generation 1 is verse 2 – 6a and shows Abraham to David, or faith to pleasing God.
  2. Generation 2 is verse 6b – 11 and shows David to Jehoiachin or the Exile; these represent pleasing God to judgment.
  3. Generation 3 is verse 12 – 16 and shows Jehoiachin to Jesus through Joseph; these people take us from judgment to mercy.

My hope is that you will build these other views of this genealogy keeping the previous views in mind.  Please be patient and read through my entire attempt before you make up your mind.

This possible view is using the Trinity.

  1. Generation 1 is the “Father Generation,” and like Him, it is well documented in 1 Chronicles 2. This generation followed God by faith, received the Law, endured the Judges, and had to fight to have and settle the Land.
  2. Generation 2 is the “Son Generation,” and it is recorded in 1 Chronicles 3. 2 Chronicles and 1 & 2 Kings are the telling of their stories and of their times as rulers.  This generation is the royal family, and they were all over the place spiritually.  There were Hezekiah and Josiah but there was also Manasseh and Zedekiah.
  3. Generation 3 is the “Holy Spirit Generation,” this generation is a bit of a mystery, but they lead us to Jesus. 1 Chronicles 3: 17 records the royal line starting with Jehoiachin but it does not match up with the list in Matthew or Luke. Zerubbabel is the major common name; he was the governor of the Land when the Second Temple was built.  The men in Matthew were real, they lived and did their work without a lot of fanfare.  The Holy Spirit, we know was and is present, He was sent on the Day of Pentecost, and He is still doing His part in the story of the Gospel.

I will give these three generations a different name in this last viewing, and I will use the women present in each to help build my thoughts for the story.

  1. Generation 1 is the generation of “Roots.” Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth are the three women in this generation.  Each “added” a trait into the Root of Jesse for the Branch.  Tamar the rejected daughter-in-law who was determined to have a child.  Rahab was the woman who hid Joshua’s spies because she feared God.  Ruth was the loving faithful daughter-in-law who had determined not to leave Namoi.  These three women add to this Root generation rejection, determination, the fear of God, and faithfulness.
  2. Generation 2 is the generation of “Religion.” Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, is the woman connected with kings of Judah.  You cannot condone her unfaithfulness toward her husband, both she and David were punished for it.  Since she outlived David she probably saw some of the spiritual unfaithfulnesses of Solomon.  The royal line would vacillate between God and demons until God ended that part of the genealogy at the Exile.  With all of that said, her addition into the story was dissatisfaction.

Bathsheba’s grandchildren changed their “religion” frequently because they were not satisfied with what David had.  Unrest can be for the good or bad.  Even in modern times, the different sects within Christianity rise and fall because people are not satisfied with something or someone.

Generation 3 is the generation of “Receive.” Mary’s position in her genealogy is different than the other women, she is at the end of her segment, not the beginning.  Of course, her trait of being “willing” is what allowed her to be the mother of Jesus.  The addition of that trait into David’s line is easily seen in Jesus’ life in the Garden, He was willing to receive the “Cup” that brought our salvation.

Christmas Verses – The First Coming

This Advent I will list SOME of the verses that relate to the First Coming of Jesus.  There are others and some of them overlap or are repeats.  There are First Coming verses that connect directly to the Cross or some aspect of His life, so I may have not included them or the entire reference.  I did not include many of the “births” of characters in the Bible even though some of them are shadows of Jesus.  I tried to keep close to the number of days that are in Advent, which this year (2017) is twenty-one, there are four Sundays which is one way to count the days for this season.

Christmas Characters – Zechariah

Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, has two scenes in the first chapter of Luke but is still important in the life and mission of Jesus.  The good doctor Luke begins the Christmas story with him.  Not just as the father of John but as a time reference.  He is performing the priestly duties of the division of Abijah during the time of Herod.  We really are not sure when this was but Theophilus could have figured it out.

David in 1 Chronicles 24 assigned the two priestly families months when they would serve at the Tabernacle.  (For a small discussion of the families go to Samuel – Priest.)  These assignments would have held until the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem by the Babylonians.   This concept is applied again by Nehemiah when he was governor (12:17).  Abijah is one of the four names that are in both lists.

There are some loose comparisons between Zechariah and Abraham, but the notable difference is that he did not believe the news about a child being born.  Just for fun I reviewed the writings of the Prophet Zechariah and found a few light comparisons; mostly that the prophet also had angelic visits.  Zechariah’s (father of John) prophesy in Luke 1: 67 – 79 does carry some of the themes in the Book of Zechariah.

The fear Zechariah had while burning the incense (Exodus 30) possibly came from the incense_stickthought that he had done something wrong and was not worthy to be performing that duty. This fear started with the death of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10 and Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16.  I have read in a variety of places that the priest would have a rope tied to his ankle just in case he messed up and was struck down behind the curtain.

His reaction to Gabriel’s heavenly message was just one of unbelief, not a happy surprise; he challenged the reality that it would happen.  There could be many reasons for Gabriel stopping Zechariah from speaking, but stopping the spread of his doubt seems the best.  Also, his total silence for nine months adds to the importance of his real inclusion in this story, the birth of John.  The other three Gospels include John and his mission, but it is interesting that the only non-Jewish writer included the miracles and signs associated with his birth.

I have tried to connect Zachariah’s service with the birth of Jesus in the Post – The Day of Atonement, Passover, and Epiphany.  The results are not what I expected about the birth time of Jesus.  The legend/history is better than I thought.

Nine months of silence and a visit from Mary prepared Zachariah for his final scene in birth-of-johnLuke when he confirmed the angelic message by naming his child John.  He joined the small group of people who are recorded in the pre-Pentecost time as having been filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is worthy to note that his prophesy started with the news of Jesus and then went to his son John.  That part of his utterance carries the words of Gabriel and Malachi 3:1.

Besides fathering John, Zachariah was the link to the priesthood informing them that something great was about to happen!  They choose not to accept!