Generations (Matthew 1:2-6)

Photo by Donald Teel on Unsplash

 After introducing us to Jesus Christ, “the son of David, the son of Abraham,” Matthew continues, “Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.”

If Matthew meant to give us a complete genealogy, he would’ve listed Adam, Seth, and everyone else listed in Genesis 11. By choosing instead to start Jesus’ genealogy with Abraham, the Gospel writer is making an assumption that the readers already know Abraham’s history. That assumption is therefore a statement – out of the box, this Gospel is a Gospel expressly for those who count Abraham as their forefather.

Of course, Abraham is the man who was declared righteous by faith. So it is that even in Jesus’ genealogy one can see how it takes faith to realize the promises of God. For Abraham waited a very long time to have his son Isaac, and Genesis 25 tells us that Isaac prayed for 20 years to see his son Jacob born. On his part, Jacob undertook hard labor for seven years before he married Leah and could begin building his family. Further, Perez and Zerah were born in scandal to Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law, and only after Tamar waited what Genesis 38:12 calls, “a long time”. 

Not only that, but Boaz met Ruth the Moabite (with whom he had Obed) only under the extraordinary circumstance of Ruth’s Jewish mother-in-law Naomi leaving Moab after both her husband and two sons died, and on account of the widow Ruth travelling with Naomi back to the land of Israel. 

One cannot help but note that the lineage of Jesus is filled with difficulty, hardship and long waits.  But that is part of what Matthew wants us to see: The realization of the promise of God does not come without the struggle of faith over time. We see that in how Jesus Christ is tied to both Abraham, to whom was promised the Messiah (Gen 12:3), and to David, to whom was promised the Messiah (Ps 89:3-4). God’s great favour was on both, but both also had to endure much time and testing of their faith to see the day Messiah was born.

What then of us? Surely God’s great favour is on us also. In one sense, much more than on David and Abraham, for the New Covenant in Christ is superior to the Old Covenant through Abraham. As Hebrews teaches us, “The ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.”  In that sense, the blessing of our adoption as God’s sons and daughters is far better than all Abraham received during his lifetime. So when we are faced with long seasons of waiting, difficulty and hardship, we too must lean on our faith, just as they did. 

Doubt not, God is about fulfilling His promise. 2Cor 1:20 says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

Sometimes when I seek Him in prayer for a long-awaited answer, I hear the sound of swords clashing. I smell the fires of war, and I know that there is much spiritual battle going on, hidden from my eyes. For God means to answer  quickly, but His answer must overcome much resistance in reaching me.


APPLICATION: Thankfulness

Thank God for His faithfulness. 

What answer/promise are you waiting for? Meditate on 2Cor 1:20.

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