The Gospel according to Matthew is the first book in the New Testament. I wonder why “Matthew” is first, could it be because he starts with the genealogy of Jesus?
I know that whenever I meet with a new client, I usually do a family history to get background knowledge of my client. This helps me to know where they come from, and what kind of patterns they bring with them.
Matthew begins describing the ancestry of Jesus through Abraham - Who is the father of Isaac, and Isaac is the father of Jacob. Jacob is said to have wrestled with God and renamed Israel, because Israel means, “you have struggled with God and with humans, and have overcome.” This can be found in Genesis 32:28, and it represents one pattern found in the genealogy of Jesus.
Israel became the father of Judah, and on his death bed he blessed Judah with “Your brothers will praise you; Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons will bow down to you. You are a lion’s cub, Judah; You return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, Like a lioness – who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until he to whom it belongs shall come And the obedience of the nations shall be his. He will tether is donkey to a vine, His colt to the choices branch; He will wash garments in wine, His robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, His teeth whiter than milk.” Genesis 49:8-12
Fourteen generations came from Abraham to David; the shepherd boy who killed Goliath.
And David became the anointed king, after Saul defiled himself. David is described as “a man after God’s own heart” because of his desire to be obedient.
David committed many sins, mistakes that many people would never recover from. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, then made arrangements for her husband to be killed. But in the end, he repented, and believed that God forgave him. Nonetheless, there were still consequences for the committed sin, He and Bathsheba lost their first son. David cried and prayed for many days, asking for God to intervene. But God’s decision was already made, and when David realized his child was not returning, he cleaned up his face and went on with his life.
David learned the fear of the Lord, and because of this, he would not strike Saul, God’s anointed one.
Instead he trusted and believed, that the Lord would intervene for him. And that is exactly what the Lord did when the time was right for him.
Anyway, fourteen more generations passed from David to Jehoiachin. Jehoiachin was King of Judah, when God exiled Judah to Babylon. Between David and Jehoiachin, Israel became a divided nation.
The 12 tribes of Israel divided into a Northern and Southern Kingdom.
When David’s son, Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king. And when Rehoboam set high taxes, Solomon’s official, Jeroboam, resisted him. 10 tribes rejected Rehoboam and moved to the land of Shechem, Where Jacob’s well is located.
The area became known as Samaria, and it became the capital of Israel – what was known as the northern kingdom. Jeroboam made a fatal mistake by instituting a form of calf worship, and declaring that pilgrimages to Jerusalem were unnecessary. Only Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam, and they stayed in Jerusalem, also known as the City of David. And for hundreds of years, the kingdoms did not mix.
Finally, the Lord had enough. Both kingdoms were adulterous. God positioned Assyria to destroy the northern Kingdom and Samaria. Some were exiled and taken away, but most remained in the land.
The Assyrian king brought in people from other nations, to mix religions with other cultures. 100 years later the same happened with Judah, Benjamin and Jerusalem. This time by the Babylonians.
But in the case, the noble, wealthy and educated were exiled to Babylonia to be indoctrinated.
Between the birth of Jehoiachin and the birth of Jesus, another fourteen generations had past.
That’s three sets of 14 which equals 42 generations! Don’t you love how God is a God of order?
During this time, a remnant was created. Faithful servants who would be obedient. 70 years passed while Judah was in exile, During this time, they were encouraged by the prophet Jeremiah to live peaceful lives among the Babylonians while they patiently waited for the Lord to release them.
Zerubbabel was Jehoiachin’s grandson, and Ezra was a priest at that time. They were ready to lead the people back home, when the King Cyrus of Persia was told by God to release them. Between the time of temple rebuilding, and the time of the birth of Jesus, many Judeans took on a religious spirit.
Pharisees and Sadducees mixed the priests with the ways of their government. Fear of exile drove many to hold fast to the Law of Moses and tradition, while greed took over the mind of merchants.
Now onto Jesus.
To my knowledge, Jesus had no children nor was he married to any person. He spent his life forming friendships, and teaching people about the Kingdom of God.
The generations after Jesus did not grow by the flesh, but rather by Spirit of God. And those who accept Jesus as their King are impregnated by his seed. That is why Abraham is known as the Father of Faith, because it’s through his line that Jesus came. It all started with a single step of a man listening to God and leaning in, then having faith to walk away from Babylon, the home of Chaldeans.
Faith means being sure of the things we hope for, and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. It is by faith we understand that the whole world is made by God’s command, and so what we see that the natural is not the end.
Faith come by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. And faith without action is completely dead.
I just love walking with Jesus, and am so glad Holy Spirit led me to read the Gospel according to Matthew. I have a feeling the Lord is going to show me more faith patterns growing beneath the genealogy of Jesus.