Genealogy of Jesus

Genealogy Of Jesus

The Genealogy of Jesus

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Chapter 4

SUBJECT: The Genealogy of Jesus

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 1:1-17

TEXT: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons." Galatians 4:4-5)

INTRODUCTION: History has experienced no greater event than the coming of Christ. The course of all history has been shaped largely under the influence of the lowly Nazarene.

I. Importance of Genealogy:

A. To provide proof of a pure lineage (For A Jew)

B. To appreciate the 'Personalism' of the Bible (For A Christian)

II. Symbolism of Genealogy

A. Three sections in the genealogy

B. Symbolic meaning of the three stages

III. Significance of Genealogy

A. The barriers between male and female are down

B. The barriers between saint and sinner are down

C. The barriers between Jew and Gentile are down

CONCLUSION: The genealogy is important for it establishes the fact that Jesus is the Son of David and thus emphasizes the Messiahship of Jesus – the Promised Seed of David and the Hope of Israel. It also shows the 'personalism' of the Bible, that God is interested in individuals as well as crowds, which Jesus' life demonstrated.

The three sections of the genealogy symbolically demonstrate the three stages of human history: (1) "Man was born for greatness", (2) "Man lost his greatness", (3) "Man can regain his greatness".

This genealogy is mainly significant in that it shows the universality of the Gospel. Christ is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Salvation is offered to both male and female, to both Jew and gentile, and even to the despised outcast.

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SUBJECT: The Genealogy of Jesus

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 1:1-17

TEXT: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons." Galatians 4:4-5)

INTRODUCTION: History has experienced no greater event than the coming of Christ. Historians acknowledge the greatness of Christ by choosing Christ's birth as the dividing point in history. An event is either dated as B.C. or A.D., thus showing that Christ is the focus of all history. The course of all history has been shaped largely under the influence of the lowly Nazarene. More books have been written about Christ than any other character.

The world is deeply indebted to the Gospel writers – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It is Matthew and Luke that tell us about Jesus' birth and early childhood. Matthew tells us that it is to the world that the Christ child was given.

PROPOSITION: Let us look at the very opening account of Matthew's Gospel and seek to better understand the life and ministry of Christ, who came as a mere babe of lowly birth. Matthew's opening genealogy has something to teach us. Let us look at it in terms of (1) The Importance of the Genealogy, (2) The Symbolism of the Genealogy, (3) The Significance of the Genealogy.

I. Importance of Genealogy:

A. To provide proof of a pure lineage (For A Jew)

To an American reader, a book would be considered dull and drab if it began with a long list of names, telling the genealogy of the main character. "But," says Barclay, "to a Jew this was the most natural, and the most interesting, and indeed the most essential way to begin the story of any man's life … The reason for this interest in pedigrees was that the Jews set the greatest possible store on purity of lineage. If in any man there was the slightest admixture of foreign blood, he lost his right to be called a Jew, and a member of the people of God." (Matthew, page 1,2)

Because the book of Matthew was originally written mainly for Jewish readers, it was important to establish the pure Jewish lineage of Jesus and to trace his genealogy back to Abraham. The uniqueness and greatness of Jesus'

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genealogy is seen in the fact that King David was one of Jesus' ancestors. This is significant because David was the greatest of all Israelite kings and his kingdom was considered to be the ideal kingdom in Israel's history. At the time Jesus was born, the Jews were expecting God to send a Deliverer to restore to Israel the glory which she once knew under the rule of David.

Israel's oppression, defeat, and captivity did not stamp out Israel's hope of eventual and ultimate victory over her enemies. Comments Barclay, "It was the dream of the common people that into this world there would come a descendant of David who would lead them to the glory which they believed to be theirs by right." (Matthew, page 6) Jesus' genealogy is traced back to David and thus seeks to present Jesus as the long-looked-for Messiah, Deliverer, and 'Anointed One' who would restore to Israel her lost glory. This genealogy points to Jesus as the Christ – the Hope of Israel.

B. To appreciate the 'Personalism' of the Bible (For A Christian)

Barclay quotes from Dr. Paul Toumier who has a paragraph in one of his books on what he calls the personalism of the Bible. "God says to Moses, 'I know thy name' (Exodus 33:17). He says to Cyrus, 'I am the Lord which call thee by thy name' (Isaiah 45:3). These texts express the essence of the personalism of the Bible. One is struck on reading the Bible, by the importance in it of personal names. Whole chapters are devoted to long genealogies. When I was young I used to think that they could well have been dropped from the Biblical Canon. But, I have since realized that these series of proper names bear witness to the fact that, in the Biblical perspective, man is neither a thing nor an abstraction, neither a species nor an idea, that he is not a fraction of the mass, as the Marxists see him, but that he is a person." (Barclay's Hebrews, pp.60, 61)

Throughout Jesus' ministry, he was always concerned with individuals. It is true that He was moved with compassion for the multitudes, but His compassion went beyond the multitudes to the lone individual. He saw each person as unique and worthy of His personal attention. Even in the midst of the crowd, He took time for the individual. In the midst of a crowd, Jesus healed the woman who was sick of an incurable disease for twelve years. Jesus spotted the curious Zacchaeus even when the crowds thronged him, and Zacchaeus became the object of Jesus' special attention and love within the privacy of Zacchaeus' home. The healing of a blind man near Jericho vividly shows Christ's personal compassion. "And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David

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have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him, that he should be brought unto him." (Luke 18:35, Luke 18:40)

There is no problem too small, but what Jesus is interested in it. Jesus' heart is touched for your grief. He does care when the nights are long and the days are fraught with care. He cares for each individual and desires to fold you to His loving bosom. It is important for us to know that Jesus cares for individuals, and the genealogy of Jesus helps us to realize the 'personalism' of Jesus.

II. Symbolism of Genealogy

A. Three sections in the genealogy

Barclay notes the three stages in Jesus' genealogy. "The first section takes the story of history up to David. David was the man who welded Israel into a nation, and who made the Jews a power in the world. The first section takes the story up to the rise of Israel's greatest king. The second section takes the story down to the exile to Babylon. It is the section which tells of the nation's shame, and tragedy, and disaster. The third section takes the story down to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the person who liberated men from their slavery, who rescued them from their disaster, and in whom the tragedy was turned into triumph." (Matthew, page 5)

B. Symbolic meaning of the three stages

Each of the three sections in the genealogy symbolically represents one of the three stages in the history of humanity and, indeed, the history of every individual.

1. First Stage – The first section of the genealogy which is from Abraham to David is the section of Israel's greatness. It represents the first stage in man's history – the stage of man's greatness. As Barclay says, "Man was born for greatness." Man was created in God's own image, and as such was made only for greatness and fellowship. Man had sweet and blessed communion with his Creator and was meant to enjoy His presence forever. Innocence, uprightness, strength, and obedience characterized man's beginning. God communed with man in the coolness of the day. As the crown of

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God's creation, God gave man superior intelligence and permitted man to subdue the earth. Man's body was strong, his mind was superb, and his spirit was unblemished.

2. Second Stage – The second section of this genealogy is from Solomon to the exile and portrays Israel's decline and decay. It represents the second stage of man's history – the Fall. "Man was born for greatness" but "Man lost his greatness." As Billy Graham says, "The Bible presents man as being in rebellion against God. This began when in an overt act of self-will; our first parents rebelled against divine law. In this experience man ruined his divine image, became alienated from God, and started on a course of action that produced civilizations and cultures saturated with crime, lust, hate, greed, and war. The earth is a planet in rebellion." (World Aflame, pg. xv) G. K. Chesterton once said of man, "Whatever else is true of man, man is not what he was meant to be." (Barclay's Matthew, page 4) Man fell from the height of splendor to the depth of despair, from the beauty of perfection to the vileness of distortion, from the joy of fellowship to the anguish of separation, from the freedom of innocency to the bondage of guilt, from the strength of health to the weakness of disease, from the glory of life to the corruptness of death, from the richness of an heir to the poorness of an outcast, from the fullness of knowledge to the shamefulness of ignorance.

Man is an estranged creature, haunted by loneliness and paralyzed by fear. Man is alienated from God, from his fellowman, and from himself. Man was made for greatness but is wallowing in despair. Man was made for communion, but is plagued by feelings of separation and rejection. Man was made to only enjoy peace, but hears constantly the clamor of disharmony. Man was made for love, but is too often a creature of hate. Man was made to be integrated, but is a bundle of frayed nerves. Man was made for God, but is a rebel in rebellion against God's perfect will. When man rebelled against God's commandments, man died. Man's sensitivity to fellowship became annulled by sin. Man's innocence became blemished by guilt, and his capacity for nobility became shriveled by self-centeredness. Man's nature is corrupted by sin. Every area of man's activity feels the pollution of sin. Man's will is rendered so weak that he is unable to subdue the passions of his flesh. Man's knowledge is so inadequate that he is unable to discover and pursue the pathway which leads to righteousness. Man's nature is warped, twisted, and corrupted.

3. Third Stage – The third section of this genealogy is from after the

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exile to the corning of Christ. Christ is the one by whom Israel could have regained her true greatness. This section represents the third stage of man's history – Redemption and Reconciliation. "Man can regain his greatness." (Barclay's Matthew, page 4) Christ is merciful and full of grace, and therefore seeks to make the undeserving child of hell a child of heaven. Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 10:10) He came to rescue the perishing, to restore the downtrodden, to befriend the lonely, and to heal the sick in soul. He came not to condemn, but instead to save (John 1:17). He came to "save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21) The Just One died for unjust, fallen humanity, that He might make man righteous. Christ came to make an integrated life out of a shattered life, to make a strong character out of a shallow life, to make a confident and radiant life out of a guilt-ridden life. Through Christ man can come once again to know greatness.

Says Barclay in summary, "In his genealogy Matthew shows us the royalty of kingship gained; the tragedy of freedom lost; the glory of liberty restored. And that, in the mercy of God, is the story of mankind, and of each individual man." (Barclay's Matthew, page 4)

III. Significance of Genealogy

This genealogy is particularly interesting since the name of four women appear in it. It is even more interesting to note the character and circumstances of these women. Rahab was a harlot of Jericho, Ruth was a Moabite and not a Jewess, Thamar was an adulteress, and Bathsheba was the woman whom David seduced and took from Uriah through murder.

The appearance of these names in Jesus' genealogy shows something very significant and foreshadows what was accomplished through Christ's ministry. (Barclay notes the significance in his comments in Matthew, volume 1; page 7,8)

A. The barriers between male and female are down

During the day in which we live there is little public discrimination between male and female. However, during Jesus' day this was not so. The Jews had a very low estimate of women. Every morning each Jewish man thanked God in his prayers that God had not made him "a Gentile, a slave or a woman." A woman was the sole property of her husband or father and was not treated as a person but rather as a thing to be used for her husband's advantage. She was almost the same as a slave, and could be quickly and easily divorced by her

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husband for almost no reason. She had no legal rights, and thus could not herself get a divorce.

The appearance of women in Jesus' genealogy shows that God considers women important, so important that women are named in the ancestry of the Son of God! Jesus came to destroy the despicable attitude of contempt that the ancient world manifested toward women. We can see the tenderness of Jesus as he wept with Mary and Martha over the death of Lazarus. We can see the winning love of Jesus which He patiently manifested to the despised Samaritan woman. We can see the heart of compassion as we see Jesus restore to life the son of the woman of Nain. Jesus cared for all- both male and female – and was not influenced by the hostile and indifferent attitudes towards women of his day.

Barclay notes that "A. W. Verrale, the great classical scholar, once said that one of the chief diseases of which ancient civilization died was a low view of women. Christ introduced a new and noble view towards women. He made no discrimination. Paul reflected Christ's attitude when he wrote, 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus!" (Galatians 3:28)

B. The barriers between saint and sinner are down

The religious rulers of Jesus' day prided themselves in their righteousness and looked upon publicans and sinners as the untouchable filth of the world. This high wall of discrimination between saint and sinner was shattered by the life and message of Christ. Christ said that He came to seek and to save the lost and that He came not to heal the healthy but to heal the diseased. Said Jesus, "Likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Luke 15:7)

Christ takes the despised woman of Samaria and makes her an honored messenger of love. Christ takes a demon-possessed outcast, and makes him a respectable citizen. Christ takes a high-browed Pharisee and makes him a humble and faithful follower. Christ takes a doubting Thomas and makes him a flaming evangelist. Christ takes a thieving Onesimus and makes him a faithful servant. Christ takes an adulterous outcast and makes her a pure and respectable lady. Christ takes the dying thief and makes him a son of paradise. He takes the guilt-ridden publican and makes him a free and justified believer. Christ restores a wandering prodigal to the stature of full sonship. Christ breaks the shackles of sin and sets the prisoner free. Christ seeks and finds the lost sheep. He applies his healing salve to the sores of sin, and

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restores the downtrodden to wholeness and health. Christ came to seek and to save the lost. "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17)

C. The barriers between Jew and Gentile are down

Christ came to break down all racial barriers. Let it be noted that not all in Christ's genealogy were Jews. Ruth was a Moabite and the law laid it down, "An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever." (Deuteronomy 23:3)

The Jews hated all Gentiles and considered them only good as "fuel for hell". When Paul addressed the Gentile Christians in Ephesus he reminds them what Gentile people were considered before the time of Christ. "Do not lose sight of the fact that you were born 'gentiles', known by those whose bodies were circumcised as 'the uncircumcised'. You were without Christ; you were utter strangers to God's chosen community, Israel, and you had no knowledge of, or right to, the promised agreements. You had nothing to look forward to and no God to whom you could turn." (Ephesians 2:11-12)

This dividing wall of hostility and enmity was brought to an end by the cross of Christ. Says Paul about Christ: "For Christ is our living peace. He has made a unity between us. By this sacrifice he removed the hostility of the Law, with all its commandments and rules, and made in himself out of the two, Jew and Gentile, one new man, thus producing peace. For he reconciled both to God by the sacrifice of one body on the cross, and by this act made utterly irrelevant the antagonism between them. Then he came and told both you who were far from God and us who were near that the war was over. And it is through him that both of us now can approach the Father in the one Spirit." (Ephesians 2:14-18, Phillips)

CONCLUSION: The genealogy is important for it establishes the fact that Jesus is the Son of David and thus emphasizes the Messiahship of Jesus – the Promised Seed of David and the Hope of Israel It also shows the 'personalism' of the Bible, that God is interested in individuals as well as crowds, which Jesus' life demonstrated.

The three sections of the genealogy symbolically demonstrate the three stages of human history: (1) "Man was born for greatness", (2) "Man lost his greatness", (3) "Man can regain his greatness".

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This genealogy is mainly significant in that it shows the universality of the Gospel. Christ is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Salvation is offered to both male and female, to both Jew and gentile, and even to the despised outcast.

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THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS

QUESTIONS

  1. Why, to a Jew, is genealogy so very important?

  2. What significance did the fact that King David was one of Jesus' ancestors, have for Matthew's readers?

  3. For a Christian reader, what significance do Biblical genealogical lists have?

  4. What evidence is there from Scripture that, in spite of the vast multitudes of human beings in our world today, Jesus Christ cares personally for you and wishes to minister to your own personal burdens and hurts? (Note Luke 8:40-48; Luke 18:35 -43; Luke 19:1-10)

  5. What are the three sections in Jesus' genealogy, as recorded by Matthew in Matthew 1:1-17, and what do each of these three sections symbolize?

  6. Who, according to your understanding, is responsible for the "Fall of Man" in the Garden of Eden – Man or God? Give your reaction to the following statement: "Whatever else is true of man, man is not what he was meant to be."

  7. What evidence is there from Scripture that "Man can regain his greatness" which he lost in the Garden of Eden? (Note Romans 5:8-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

  8. How does the appearance of the names of Rahab, Ruth, Thamar, and Bathsheba foreshadow what was accomplished through Christ's ministry?

  9. Describe the popular attitude towards women, and how women generally were treated, during the time of Jesus.

  10. In contrast to the contemptible attitude towards women in New Testament times, what was Jesus' attitude toward women? (Note John 11:1-45; John 4:1-39; John 8:1-11, Luke 7:11-16; Luke 7:36-50; John 19:25-27; John 20:11-18).

  11. What is your personal reaction to abuses and to discriminations against women in our modem-day world, both in and outside of the Church?

    • Your reaction to wife abuse in cases of domestic violence?

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    • Your reaction to single mothers, whose inadequate income as single parent, brings great financial hardships in raising several small children?

    • Your reaction to men who have divorced their wives, and who neglect or refuse to pay "child support" to their former wives who are raising their children?

    • Your reaction to women whose husbands have died, and who, as widows, are very lonesome and in need of fellowship and of material relief?

    • Your reaction to young unwed mothers who are being "counseled" to abort their babies?

    • Your reaction to women who have gravely sinned by aborting their children, and who are now full of guilt and shame and who are deeply depressed?

    • Your reaction to professionally trained women whose employers refuse to give them salaries which are equal to those which are paid to equally trained and experienced male employees?

    • Your reaction to those crude and lust-filled men who find "delight" and "fun" and "sport" in sexually harassing women who work for them?

    • Your reaction to ecclesiastical officials and denominational leaders who refuse to ordain dedicated Christian ladies who have definitely sensed a divine call to preach and to pastor a local Church?

  12. What responsibility do Christian men in general and Christian husbands in particular have, in protecting and defending and ennobling women in the general public and women specifically within the Christian Church and Christian Family?

  13. What, according to the New Testament Gospels, is Jesus' attitude towards "down- and-out", despised sinners? (Luke 15:7; John 3:17)

  14. What significance do you attach to the fact that not all in Jesus' genealogy were of the Jewish race?

  15. How is the lot and place of Gentile persons described, before Jesus' coming, according to Ephesians 2:11-12 ?

  16. What hope did Gentile people (non-Jews) find, as a result of the coming and the ministry of Jesus Christ? (Note Ephesians 2:14-18)

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