I, along with probably most of you who are reading this probably am less than excited when I start reading anything concerning genealogy in the Bible, but it does have a purpose. Just as we are often identified to others by whose children we are and more than likely eventually by whose parents we are genealogy was important and still is important. The following genealogy, as listed in the book of Matthew highlights three important people; Jesus, David, and Abraham. As Christian’s we are heirs of the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ. Our actual genealogy is less important for salvation’s sake because if we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior then we are in fact sons and daughters of God, but for the Jewish people the genealogy of Abraham and David are very important because being their ancestor meant that your life was bestowed with a certain promise or blessing. Before we look at what those blessings and promises were let’s first take a look at today’s Scripture.
(Matthew 1:1-17, ESV)
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
In the beginning of the genealogy we are given three people of importance starting with most recent, Jesus who is the son of David and of Abraham. Being a son of Abraham was of utmost importance, especially to the Jewish people. God had blessed Abraham with a son, Isaac, when he was a hundred years old, just as He had promised. When Isaac was older God tested Abraham’s faithfulness when He instructed Him to sacrifice his only son. God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Abraham remained faithful and did just as God had instructed him to do and when Abraham got to the mountain Abraham and Isaac gathered the wood and Abraham built the altar in the place in which he was instructed. Then in faith Abraham bound Isaac, laid him on the altar on top of the wood and just as he was about to kill his only son God called out to him and provided for him a ram that was caught by his horns in a thicket (Gen. 22:1-13).
Abraham was faithful in following God and because of this God told Abraham, “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” (Gen. 22:17-18).
God bestowed a special blessing upon Abraham and an everlasting covenant with him and his descendants. With this blessing and covenant Abraham became who many call the Father of the Jews. It was upon his bloodline that God had promised to multiply the earth and to bless the nations. For the Jewish people it was extremely important for them to be able to trace their ancestry back to Abraham, it showed that they were children of God.
Being a child of God is a little bit different for most of us today, because through Jesus Christ we have direct access to God. Through Jesus we have become the branch that has been grafted into the tree.
If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree!
Being a child of God through Abraham was very important for the Jewish people and still is; however, Jesus came so that whoever would believe in Him would have eternal life (Rom. 6:23). It is through acceptance of and faith in Jesus that we are saved and without which we are lost. For just as those who were naturally God’s children, the Israelites, were able to be cut off and the unnatural were able to be grafted in, the Gentiles, we all have a choice to make. We all have a choice whether to believe in Jesus Christ, to hold firm in our faith, and to follow Him or we can choose the path that leads to death.
Being a descendant of David was important as well because of what God had told David when He said, “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:16). Likewise in Isaiah the birth of Jesus and the recognition of the David covenant is reaffirmed. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing an upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this” (Is. 9:6-7).
Being a descendant of David and the promise of David’s throne enduring forever meant that the family of David would be blessed and taken care of. This was something that every descendant of David was looking forward to and in the book of Luke the angel, Gabriel, went to Nazareth to see Mary, a virgin, to tell her that she would give birth to a son even though she had never been with a man. The birth that Gabriel was about to tell her about was the promised birth of the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. Gabriel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (Lk. 1:30-33).
Genealogy might not be high on our list of things that we look at today, but it is important because the Bible is very clear in saying that we are either Children of God or we are Children of Satan. Isn’t it great to know that our salvation is not reliant upon being a part of a family line, that all we have to do is to believe in Jesus and follow Him and as a result we will have life. God fulfilled His promise to both Abraham and David when He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins. We are royalty and part of a great genealogy because we have chosen to follow Jesus and the Good News is that we can bring others with us. God desires each and every one of us to follow Him and to abide in Him. He wants to take care of us and bless us, but it has to be our decision.
Living life for God means that we must make that decision to follow Him and trust in Him every day and when we do we will be filled evermore with His Holy Spirit. When we abide in Him we begin to see transformation in our lives and restoration of our past. The things that we did in the past are removed and we are made pure white. It is our choice to follow or not to follow and we will reap the consequences of our decision. If we choose life we will see our lives changing and being made new, but if we chose not to follow we will see our life begin to fade away. What will you chose? Who will you follow? God’s free gift is waiting for you and for your neighbors. All you have to do is say yes and follow Him and He will do the rest. Through acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we have been grafted into the vine that gives eternal life and we have entered into the family line of Abraham and David.