Advent Meditation: Why did Matthew trace genealogy of Jesus to Joseph? He wasn't his father.
Why does Matthew bother with tying the genealogy of Jesus to Joseph who was NOT the paternal seed of Jesus? Why trace back the line of Joseph’s ancestry if he was not at all responsible for the birth of Jesus? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. Something to meditate on. Will you quickly “google” it, or will you challenge yourself to meditate with the help of the Holy Spirit?
Most people would say reading through the beginning of Matthew is tedious and a bit confusing. It is one of two genealogies of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. Both the book of Matthew and the book of Luke trace the beginnings of Jesus’ messianic lineage. Luke gives great detail about the birth of Jesus as a miracle in Chapter 1; as seen in the image above. And in chapter 3 Luke details an ancestry believed to be the lineage of Mary which makes sense because her DNA was in him. But Matthew takes 16 verses listing ancestral ties that link Joseph to Jesus. He starts out referencing King David and Abraham seemingly to tie covenant promises to the genealogy he is about to pen. Since Matthew’s audience was mainly Jewish, readers would have recognized he was immediately wanting to emphasize Jesus was the promised Messiah through his father.
What were some of those promises that started off with Abraham? Many Christians know that God told Abraham that ALL peoples on earth would be blessed through him, Genesis 12:3. God told Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky, Genesis 15:5. He told him that he would not only give him an everlasting possession of a promised land; but would also give it to his descendants, Genesis 17:8. He promised Abraham that through his descendants all nations on earth will be blessed; because he obeyed God, Genesis 22:18.
Sometimes when we “know” biblical details and hear them again, they can become dull and uninspiring. We have a reaction of “Oh yeah, heard that, know that.” But, oh what we lose when we don’t let what we already “know” take us deeper! There is so much more to revelation if we press in! Don’t you want a renewed sense of awe and wonder? He’s there if you are willing!
I admit I tend to quickly skim or skip right over long lists of names in the Bible. But I didn’t in reading Matthew’s list this time. Instead I was stopped really; and was struck in verses 2 and 3 by the miracles, power, and redemptive character of God that Matthew wants to reveal to his readers. I’ve missed it before! But this time I laughed when I saw it. God was so insistent on working through the impossible!
Romans 4:17b- He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed- the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
Abraham was old, like wayyyy old. Abraham knew his fertile seed was long dried up. Even further, Hebrews 11 says that he counted himself as good as dead! Maybe that means he thought he would keel over at any time. Add Sarah his wife to the impossible equation; and we know that not only was she also old, but her womb was dead, and further still she had always been barren! Yet God insists to Abraham during a few critical times (spanning 25 years!) that he and Sarah would indeed have a child from their old, dead reproductive systems! Ha! At the time designated by God, Isaac comes through the dead loins of Abraham and the dead womb of Sarah. Isaac the promised son, the one whose name means laughter! Who says that God is boring? Laugh with him! His promises bring joy! Nothing shall be impossible with God!
And then not to be over and done with miracles that start the Messianic line, God pairs Isaac with Rebekah, who is also barren.
Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.- Genesis 25:21
Divine promises, children from barren wombs, answered prayer. This is the lineage of our Savior!
So far in verse 2 we have Abraham and Sarah miraculously birthing Isaac. Isaac and Rebekah miraculously birthing Jacob. Who’s next? It’s Judah and he did not come about as a miracle. He came about from a wife that was unloved by her husband Jacob. The unloved one was named Leah, Genesis 29:31,35.
Choosing the one who is unloved. This is the heart of our God!
The next generation takes a wild and salacious turn! Judah has his own sons by marriage; but the Messiah doesn’t come from any of these sons by marriage. Instead the Messianic line continues through his act of sleeping with his daughter-in-law Tamar! She had deceived him into sleeping with her by dressing up as a shrine prostitute. She did this because Judah deceived her, denying her his youngest son to produce off-spring. So, if she wouldn’t be paired with the son who was left, she set her sights on daddy-o to secure her “rights”. If you aren’t familiar with the story, read Genesis chapter 38.
Choosing the ones who are calculating, scandalous, and self-preserving. This is the redemptive work of our Savior!
There would be so much more to say in the list of names presented by Matthew! More drama unfolds through Rahab, Ruth, King David and Bathsheba! But the death knell comes when a curse is placed on Jeconiah (aka Jehoiachin)! In Jeremiah 22:24-30, God declares that none of his offspring will sit on the throne of David. That is not explicitly said in Matthew. But that is where the digging into treasure comes! If you take that long list of “boring” names and trace them back to Old Testament accounts, you discover the hidden messages.
This is what the LORD says: "Record this man (see his name in verse 28) as if childless, a man
who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah."- Jeremiah 22:30
So we have to wonder what gives Matthew? Why keep going with names in the genealogy of Jesus if all hope was cut off at Jeconiah, Matthew 1:11?
And like the blog started off, why bother with it at all since this is a genealogy of Joseph who was NOT the paternal seed of Jesus? Why trace back the line of Joseph if he was not at all responsible for the birth of Jesus?
Why do you think Matthew did that? Meditate upon it. Commentaries don’t always have the full revelation. Challenge yourself to not immediately search out truth that way. Pray about it, look for the clues in scripture. Ask God to help you. The LORD gave us the Holy Spirit who he promised would teach us all things! Ask God to open your eyes to show you great and mighty things that you do not know, Jeremiah 33:3! See the hand of God in his divine plan! Experience joy as you dig for treasure with your Savior, meditating on the WORD that became flesh and dwelt here on earth among us! May His Word become flesh in you! May His Word come alive to you this season leading to an adventure with Him in 2020!
Tomorrow night 12/15 we are holding another HOPE session for this advent season. Will you stop and pray for those that will participate, that their investment in time with Jesus would return 100 fold?! May you be a part of the next session in 2020! A January session will be announced soon! May you be moved to worship the One wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger this season. May He overshadow you and produce the fullness of the Holy One through you! Blessings!
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Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!