I want to draw attention to three observations from the genealogy of Jesus recorded in Matthew 1:1-17. While a list of fathers and sons might seem dry and boring, these verses are anything but. They stand as a reminder that God is intentional, God is gracious, and God is faithful.

God is Intentional.

First, the passage opens by drawing attention to the fact that Jesus is “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (1:1). The story that begins here at the beginning of Matthew is not really the beginning. If we read Matthew without an understanding of the Old Testament, it is like watching the original Star Wars movies without knowing the back story. We might understand what is going on, but we would have a greater appreciation if we took the time to learn about what happened first.

If we go back and read Genesis (especially chapters 12, 15, and 17), we find out pretty quickly that God made promises to Abraham that among other things nations would be blessed through him and kings would come forth from him. Then in 2 Samuel 7 we see God making promises to David about a future kingdom for his offspring. The idea of a coming King did no begin with the Gospels it began with Genesis.

God is Gracious.

The genealogy of Jesus is not just dipped but drenched in grace. Take Abraham for instance. He was a pagan from the land of Ur when God called him and told him to go to a foreign land (Genesis 12). Then there is Judah who engages in prostitution (Genesis 38) and David who participated in adultery with the wife of Uriah. Yet despite these moral imperfections we seem them used by God to preserve the Messianic line.

At the same time, from Rehoboam on the throne of Israel is occupied by one bad king after another.  That is not to say that all the kings were evil, but a general reading of 1st & 2nd Kings or 1st & 2nd Chronicles reveals the general tenor of the kings as evil in the eyes of God and prone to idolatry. It is a wonder that God continued to bear with the sons of David as long as he did. Even after the deportation, God continue to preserve the line of David.

God is faithful.

The genealogy ends with “Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ” (1:16). After generations of waiting for the promises to Abraham and David to be fulfilled, the long await Messiah had come. While some may have thought God had forgotten about his promise, the reality is that God was simply waiting for the appropriate time to bring forth the One who would save his people from their sins.