Such A Dramatic Opening!

Text: Matt 1:1-17

Have you ever read the opening seventeen verses of Matthew’s gospel and wondered why the New Testament would open with a genealogy? Could there not have been a more exciting and dramatic introduction? Is there not a better way to grab people’s attention that this?

At first glance, it really does seem to be such a strange beginning for the most exciting message the world could ever hear, the good news of Jesus Christ. And yet…

I remember hearing the testimony of a former Hindu, born and raised in India, who recalled his Christian conversion experience. In finding a New Testament in a hotel room drawer one day, he started reading the first page (Matthew 1) and was completed captivated by it. He explained that all the guru’s of Hinduism just suddenly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and certainly without genealogical heritage of any note. Yet here in Matthew, he read of one who could trace his ancestry for thousands of years and could confirm he was heir to the throne of David, king of Israel. This could not have been more dramatic for this man, and before the sun had set, the man had repented and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Matthew 1:1 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.

When Matthew was written, all claims of genealogy could be confirmed/denied by checking the Jewish records contained in the Temple. These records eventually were destroyed in the AD 70 but until then, were available to anyone who sought to check out Messianic claims. A side note is the fact that after the events of AD70, it would be virtually impossible for any Jewish man to be able to prove he was the Messiah.