December 17, 2018
Today’s Gospel from Matthew details the genealogy of Jesus, which might lead to the question: Why are the genealogies of Christ important?
I came across this perspective on the Answers in Genesis website:
In our modern culture—especially in America—many families have little sense of heritage. We may have some family traditions, but most Americans don’t even know the names of their great, great grandparents or care where they lived, what they did, etc. Modern genealogy is primarily reserved for hobbyists. In contrast, genealogies were a deeply integral part of Jewish society at the time of Jesus. Land was inherited based on family lines, and those who could not prove their ancestry in Israel were considered outsiders.
Because of this difference, modern readers usually skip right over the genealogies in Scripture. The “begats” may not be fascinating reading, but don’t disregard them. God had reasons for inspiring every part of the Bible—even the genealogies of Christ.
Imagine accurately tracing your ancestry back 4,000 years. As incredible as it sounds, the biblical lineage of Jesus does just that. His genealogy is recorded all the way back to the first man, Adam. This is not an insignificant detail; it is a crucial fulfillment of prophecy. Adam’s sin brought judgment and death into the world, but a Savior was promised—the Seed of the woman who would strike the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). Jesus Christ is the “Last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), the promised Seed of the woman, which Paul summarized:
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (Romans 5:18)
Jesus is the Savior who was promised throughout history. The genealogies in Matthew and Luke show Him as the descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and eventually David—men to whom these prophecies were made. God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his offspring, which was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:7-9, 16)
By reading these genealogies, we also see that Jesus was a direct descendent of King David. This is also a fulfillment of many Old Testament promises, which today’s passage demonstrates. The promised Messiah would be the descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12-14) and would one day rule on David’s throne (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Jesus Christ has fulfilled these and will eventually fulfill every messianic prophecy in Scripture. He is the promised Messiah—the descendant of Abraham and David, our Savior—who gave His life to redeem us from our sins.