Let me start todays blog with a disclaimer, I think you should study the genealogies in the bible all the time. I’ll be the first to admit that they are not the most exciting passages of scripture sometimes usually due to the very hard to pronounce names and sometimes all these names don’t add up.
It is usually very normal of us to start reading the account of the birth of Christ from Matthew 1:18, even if a “Christmas” sermon is being preached, many will often start from the verse stated above. But this festive season I would like to encourage you to spend time in Matthew chapter 1 and carefully study the first 17 verses. And I am hoping the 5 reasons below will be enough motivation:
- They are the word of God. It’s easy to think of genealogies as a piece of Jewish history because they kept these records as part of their culture, but the bible tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”. All of scripture means all of it, and that includes the genealogies, don’t miss out on the blessings we can find in Matthew 1:1-17.
- God wanted the genealogies as part of scripture. This is always one of my personally encouragements when I read a part of scripture that I don’t particularly find interesting, God put it there for a reason. He just didn’t put it there to fill up space but for us it actually spend time studying the genealogies, they have a purpose and as believers it is our duty to seek that purpose out (that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work).
- The Genealogy establishes the authority of Christ as the promised messiah. In this passage of scripture, we see Matthew taking us all the way to Abraham and calling Jesus Christ the son of Abraham and son of David. The significance of this is found in Genesis 22:18 (See also Galatians 3:16), the promise that God made to Abraham as well as David in 2 Samuel 7:12 (Isaiah 11:1). How do we know if Christ indeed is the promised messiah? It’s in his account of his lineage.
- The people who actually make up Jesus’ Lineage. One of the exciting things about reading a genealogy is coming across a person you know, the excitement of being able to pronounce their name correctly or actually remembering their story. Studying the characters in the genealogy adds more depth to how we think about Christ’s ‘family’, seeing the people God chose to be part of HIS-story and how imperfect they were reminds us of God’s grace and sovereignty. Through Abraham and David (through all of them actually) we see God use even imperfect people for his purposes. In Christ’s genealogy we see WOMEN, this is not something you see often in Jewish family tree and two of those women were actually not Jewish. Seeing Rehab the prostitute and Ruth as part of Christ’s family line reminds us of how God extends salvation even to the gentiles (outsiders) and makes them his people. In Matthew 1:1-17, we see so many different personalities, some of whom we know much about others very little. I can only imagine what kind of blessing it would be to learn more about their lives and see God’s sovereignty in their life with regards to Christ being born in their line.
- This Christmas, read the genealogies because they help us see how the whole bible fits into the overall redemption story of the bible. As already mentioned, we see characters from all over the bible listed in Matthew 1, some of the stories finally come together to help us see what God was leading us towards throughout the old testament. This will be a particular encouragement for those of us who struggle to read the Old Testament, Matthew 1 is a good step to help us go back. The whole of Matthew chapter 1 is full of OT references that we must take time to study if we truly want to see how the whole is God’s story of redemption.
I hope that you will be encouraged to spend time in Matthew 1 this Christmas, my prayer is that you will spent time to read the bible and explore the fullness of the incarnation of Christ. And actually study what Christmas (The Incarnation) means for our salvation and remember 2 Timothy 3:16!