Act 2 – The Genealogy of Jesus
Scene 1 – The Genealogy of The Messiah
- The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:
- Abraham was the father of Isaac,
- Isaac the father of Jacob,
- and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
- Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar,
- Perez was the father of Hezron,
- and Hezron the father of Ram.
- Ram was the father of Amminadab,
- Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
- and Nahshon the father of Salmon.
- Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab,
- Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth,
- and Obed the father of Jesse.
- Jesse was the father of David the King.
- David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba, who had been the wife of Uriah.
- Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,
- Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
- and Abijah the father of Asa.
- Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,
- Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
- and Joram the father of Uzziah.
- Uzziah was the father of Jotham,
- Jotham the father of Ahaz,
- and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
- Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,
- Manasseh the father of Amon,
- and Amon the father of Josiah.
- Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
- After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel,
- and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel.
- Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud,
- Abihud the father of Eliakim,
- and Eliakim the father of Azor.
- Azor was the father of Zadok,
- Zadok the father of Achim,
- and Achim the father of Eliud.
- Eliud was the father of Eleazar,
- Eleazar the father of Matthan,
- and Matthan the father of Jacob.
- Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
- So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations;
- from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations;
- and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.
In this third post of the Scenes of The Synoptic Gospel a new Act begins, entitled, The Genealogy of Jesus. You can probably guess what this Scene is about…
This Scene is taken entirely from the Gospel of Matthew, where verse 1 begins with, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, …”
It is interesting to note that the name “Jesus” is the first and also the last name that is mentioned in the New Testament, so that He is like the book-ends that hold the entire cannon together. And this means that the New Testament is clearly about Jesus Christ.
This record has usually been considered to be through Joseph, the “father” of Jesus, and it represents a royal lineage which mentions many of the Kings of Israel, as opposed to the genealogy that is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, which has traditionally been seen as listing a more priestly lineage through His mother Mary, and we will examine that in the next post, on the commentary of Scene 022.
It is not uncommon for the story of a great man to open with his ancestry – at least a note of who his father and mother were, with a few other ancestors, if they were important. A genealogy listing one’s ancestors gives credibility to the individual, as our background and upbringing is an indication about who we might be.
Few people are aware of any great ancestors in their own lineage – but for Jesus, there is a whole line of kings, including the great King David. And this link to David is important, as the Messiah was to sit on the throne of David (Luke 1:32) as the King of Israel. In fact king David is one of the few names that appears on both this genealogical list of Matthew’s, and also on Luke’s list.
The Hebrew word Meshiach (English: Messiah) means the “anointed One”. Anointed means to pour oil (usually olive oil) over the head and shoulders of the anointee. The word Meshiach was translated into the Greek of the New Testament as Khristos, which is Christ in English.
The oil represents the Holy Spirit of God, and the pouring of the oil symbolizes the conference of the Holy Spirit upon an individual, and this is done to empower them to perform the official duties of their office. Normally, this type of anointing is done to a king or a prophet or a priest when they assume their office, as part of the coronation or swearing-in ceremony, when they assume their title. And this poured oil of the Holy Spirit is symbolic of God being over the mind and heart of the individual, to guide and protect them in the performance of their duties.
Of course, the one that does the anointing must himself already have been anointed, and in this way, the transmission of the power or Spirit of the anointing is conferred in an unbroken line, from one individual to another.
Jesus will become the Messiah, and officially take His office, when He is baptized by his relative John “the Baptist”, in the Jordan River, which will happen after Jesus’ 30th birthday.
The opening of Matthew’s Gospel continues, “… the son of David, the son of Abraham.: …” (Matthew 1:1)
Although King David and Abraham are separated in time by almost 900 years, they are mentioned as two men to whom God made great promises, and this genealogy is mentioning them to show that in Jesus the Messiah (the Christ) many of the promises made to Abraham and David are to be fulfilled. Abraham is the beginning of the people of the nation of Israel, and he represents faith in God, and David represents kingship, or even an ideal King, as one who sought the guidance and assistance of God in all matters.
David is mentioned here in the genealogy to show that Jesus is the rightful heir to sit on the “throne of David”. David represents the end of the patriarchs of Israel who are descended from Abraham, and the beginning of the line of the kings of Israel – although David was actually the second king of Israel, after the first king, Saul.
Matthew divided the people listed in his genealogy into three groups of 14 men, for a total of 42 (verses 41-43). The first group of men listed by Matthew is from Abraham to King David (the patriarchs); the second group is from David to the Babylonian deportation (the kings); and the third group are people who returned to Israel from the Babylonian captivity (c. 605-539 BCE), until the birth of Jesus.
To make the number of men equal 42 – a multiple of 7 times 6 – Matthew omitted the names of five of the especially wicked kings of Israel, including Ahaziah, Jehoash, Amaziah and Jehoikim.
Interestingly for a genealogical record, the names of five women are also mentioned, beside the man with whom they had a child. Briefly, they are Tamar (verse 5), Rahab (verse 11), Ruth (v. 12), Bathsheba (v. 15), and Mary, the mother of Jesus (v. 40).
There has always been a lot of speculation as to why these particular women are mentioned, and it is noted that two of these women were Gentiles (non-Israelite/Jewish): Rahab (a Canaanite), and Ruth (from Moab).
It is also of interest to note that three of these women are listed in the Bible as “sinners”; Tamar (incest), Rahab (a prostitute), and Bathsheba (adultery – with King David).
Perhaps the point that Matthew is making is that God uses Gentiles and even sinners – men and woman – to fulfill His Divine purpose for humanity here on the earth. The inclusion of these women in the list also indicates that Jesus was descended from Gentiles, or people who were not Israelites or Jews.
From this one could say that it doesn’t really matter who your family are, or who you are descended from, because God can use anyone, and even turn sin into righteousness.
And the names of these women are likely mentioned here to show that Jesus was the Savior of not only the Jewish peoples, but also of the Gentiles, and even of sinners – thus making Jesus the Messiah the Savior of all of humanity!
At the end of Matthew’s list, Joseph is mentioned as “the husband of Mary”. It is likely that Joseph is listed in this way because he was not the actual, physical (genealogical) father of Jesus, because Jesus was begotten by the Holy Spirit of God (Luke 1:35). And this was likely in part due to the fact that King Jeconiah was so wicked that God cursed him so that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne of David (Jeremiah 22:24-30), and thus Jesus could not sit on the throne of David if Joseph were his biological father.
Next Commentary – Scene 022 – The Genealogy of the Son of God, taken from Luke’s Gospel.