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.
- Generation 1 is verse 2 – 6a and shows Abraham to David, or faith to pleasing God.
- Generation 2 is verse 6b – 11 and shows David to Jehoiachin or the Exile; these represent pleasing God to judgment.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.