This chapter gives us a glimpse into the ministry of John the Baptist and a moment when he and Jesus crossed paths – at the baptism of Christ. We then get a second version of Jesus’ genealogy.
We thank you that you did not send Jesus only to the prominent and lovable people of this world or for their sake only. Thank you that our Savior has the variety of people that he has in his family line. We see the lost, the lonely, the unloved and the despised there giving his genealogy a fair representation of the human race. The adulterer and immigrant are found alongside the kings and counselors. In some cases they are the same people.
You knew who we were and what kind of Savior we needed. Therefore, you sent us Jesus Christ, your unique, your only-begotten Son, in a way and to a people that would require him to identify with us in all of our sin and shame. Thank you furthermore for the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It through him and because of his work that we live.
Sometimes God works clearly, obviously and quickly. Sometimes he does not. Please keep reading
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon,5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah,9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah,11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
17 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.
All of those names. This can feel like a tedious passage – unless you enjoy reading the unfamiliar names of unfamiliar people. All of those names remind us that God is always quietly at work.
In Genesis 12:3 God gave a promise to Abraham that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed. And then God worked while Abraham waited. And God kept working long after Isaac was born and Abraham died. About 1000 years later he gave another promise. Maybe he just wanted to show people he was still there and hadn’t forgotten.
In 2 Samuel 7 God gave a promise to David of an offspring whose kingdom would be established. This kingdom, throne, this dynasty would be made sure forever. And then God kept working while David just went on for a while being king. And then David died, his son Solomon died, and so on. About 1000 years later we come to Matthew 1.
It can be very encouraging when God works suddenly and decisively. It is also wonderful to know that he remains faithful to his promises – to promises that can take thousands of years to fulfill. Oh how impatient I am when I want God to do something today. It took about 2000 years to get from Abraham to Christ, but how encouraging that Christ finally came.