Welcome to the New Testament!
Matthew opens with the family tree of Jesus Christ. Have you ever created your family tree? It may have been an assignment when you were in grade school. You asked your parents about your grandparents and great-grandparents and so on. Many of us may not have gotten past two or three generations. Now special internet sites can help us to search back further, even using DNA testing to find out what regions and countries we’re really from.
During Bible times, every Israelite knew their family tree back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then through their specific tribe and finally their family group. Throughout the Bible, family trees are listed in various places. Sadly, I tend to find them a tedious list of names I have no idea how to pronounce or what the true significance is for me today. But I have always found the family tree for Jesus to be different. I still cannot pronounce many of the names, but there is much that I glean from it.
First, God proclaimed through the prophets that the Messiah would come at the appointed time in history. Matthew 1:17 says, “There are fourteen generations from Abraham to David, another fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and yet another fourteen from the Babylonian exile to Christ.” (The Message Bible) This is just another example that God is a God of order, especially in the plan of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ, which was designed before this earth was even created.
Next, I love that so many women are included in this list. This is especially significant given the time period in which this was written and that the women included are not all Jews. Tamar, having been cruelly denied a kinsman-redeemer after the death of her husband, takes desperate measures to guarantee the continuation of her husband’s family name. Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute in Jericho, risks all to help the Israelite spies, thus saving all her family. She marries Salmon, from the tribe of Judah, and is the mother of Boaz. Boaz in turn, becomes the kinsman-redeemer for Ruth, a Moabitess widow who is faithful to God and Naomi, her mother-in-law. Ruth is King David’s great-grandmother! What incredible stories David must have heard as he was growing up. God honors these three woman for following Him, whether they were Hebrew or not, by being listed among the ancestors of Jesus. The last woman listed is interestingly referred to as “Uriah’s wife” rather than by her name, Bathsheba. In His great forgiveness, God chooses her son, Solomon, to be the one to continue the line of Judah to the Messiah.
Finally, the stories of these women clearly show God’s love and acceptance to all whether Hebrew or Gentile, male or female, old or young, including those with less than desirable backgrounds or deeds. What they all did show was a willingness to repent and follow God.
The Bible says that when we choose to follow Him, we are adopted into God’s family as His sons and daughters, thus we continue the lineage of Jesus Christ. May our lives honor our heavenly heritage.
enjoys life with her husband Gary, daughter Kate and dog Symon. She graduated from Rio Lindo Academy, Walla Walla College, and Loma Linda University. She taught at Enterprise and Milo Academies before becoming a Health Educator with San Bernardino and Sacramento Counties and the State of California. She enjoys reading, singing, playing the piano, and traveling the world with her family.
The Word of Promise audio Bible is used by permission. For more information and to purchase the complete audio Bible go to https://www.wordofpromiseapp.com/.
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king.
David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. 8 Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. 9 Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. 11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. 14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. 15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
Christ Born of Mary
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Wise Men from the East
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
The Flight into Egypt
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Massacre of the Innocents
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”
The Home in Nazareth
19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
An Appeal for Israel’s Repentance
To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of Asaph.
1 Sing aloud to God our strength;
Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob.
2 Raise a song and strike the timbrel,
The pleasant harp with the lute.
3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.
4 For this is a statute for Israel,
A law of the God of Jacob.
5 This He established in Joseph as a testimony,
When He went throughout the land of Egypt,
Where I heard a language I did not understand.
6 “I removed his shoulder from the burden;
His hands were freed from the baskets.
7 You called in trouble, and I delivered you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
8 “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you!
O Israel, if you will listen to Me!
9 There shall be no foreign god among you;
Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
10 I am the Lord your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
11 “But My people would not heed My voice,
And Israel would have none of Me.
12 So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart,
To walk in their own counsels.
13 “Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
14 I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn My hand against their adversaries.
15 The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him,
But their fate would endure forever.
16 He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”