Matthew 1:1
The Pedigree of the King THE book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. This verse gives us a clue to the special drift of Matthew's gospel. He was moved of the Holy Spirit to write of our Lord Jesus Christ as King-" the son of David." He is to be spoken of as specially reigning over the true seed of Abraham; hence he is called "the son of Abraham." Lord Jesus, make us each one to call thee, "My God and King!" As we read this wonderful Gospel of the Kingdom, may we be full of loyal obedience, and pay thee humble homage! Thou art both a King and a king's Son. The portion before us looks like a string of names, and we might fancy that it would yield us little spiritual food; but we may not think lightly of any line of the inspired volume. Here the Spirit sets before us the pedigree of Jesus, and sketches the family tree of "the King of the Jews." Marvellous condescension, that he should be a man, and have a genealogy, even HE who "was in the beginning with God", and "thought it not robbery to be equal with God"! Let us read each line of "The book of the generation" with adoring gratitude that we have a King who is one with us in our nature: "in ties of blood with sinners one." Mat 1:2. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren, With Abraham was the covenant made, that in his seed should all the nations of the earth be blessed. The line ran not in Ishmael, the offspring of the flesh, but in Isaac, who was born after the promise; and by the divine purpose it flowed in elect Jacob, and not in the firstborn, Esau. Let us observe and admire the sovereignty of God. Our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which tribe nothing is said concerning the priesthood, that it might be clear that his priesthood is "not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life." Yet comes he of Judah's royal tribe; for he is King. Mat 1:3-4. And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Pharea begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; and Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon. Observe the dash of unclean blood which enters the stream through Judah's incest with Thamar. O Lord, thou art the sinner's Friend! Mat 1:5. And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse. We note that two women are mentioned in this fifth verse: a Canaanite and a Moabitess. Thus Gentile blood mingled with the Hebrew strain. Our King has come to break down the partition wall. As Gentiles we rejoice in this. Jesus is heir of a line in which flows the blood of the harlot Rahab, and of the rustic Ruth; he is akin to the fallen and to the lowly, and he will show his love even to the poorest and most obscure. I, too, may have a part and lot in him. Mat 1:6-9. And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; and Solomon begat Roboam; and Moboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; and Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; and Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias. Well may our hearts melt at the memory of David and Bathsheba! The fruit of their unholy union died; but, after repentance, she who "had been the wife of Urias "became the wife of David, and the mother of Solomon. Signal was the grace of God in this case, that the line should be continued in this once guilty pair; but, oh, what kinship with fallen humanity does this indicate in our Lord! We will not pry into the mystery of the incarnation, but we must wonder at the condescending grace which appointed our Lord such a pedigree. Mat 1:10. And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias. A line of kings of a mixed character; not one of them perfect, and some of them as bad as bad could be. Three are left out altogether: even sinners who were only fit to be forgotten were in the line of this succession; and this shows how little can be made of being born of the will of man, or of the will of the flesh. In this special line of descent, salvation was not of blood, nor of birth. Specially let us think of such a one as Manasses being among the ancestors of our Lord, as if to hint that, in the line which comes after him, there would be some of the chief of sinners who would be miracles of mercy. Again we say, how near does Jesus come to our fallen race by this his genealogy! Mat 1:11. And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried aioay to Babylon. Poor captives, and those who are bound with the fetters of sin, may see some like themselves in this famous ancestry. They are prisoners of hope, now that the Christ is born of a race which was once "carried away to Babylon." Mat 1:12-16. And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; and Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; and Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; and Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. With one or two exceptions these are names of persons of little or no note. The later ones were persons altogether obscure and insignificant. Our Lord was "a root out of dry ground"; a shoot from the withered stem of Jesse. He set small store by earthly greatness. He must needs be of human race; but he comes to a family which was of low estate, and there finds his reputed father, Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth. He is the poor man's King. He will not disdain any of us though our father's house be little in Israel. He will condescend to men of low estate. Wonder surpassing all wonders; the Word by whom all things were made, was himself made flesh, and dwelt among us! He was born of a human mother, even of the lowly virgin, Mary. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." Our hearts would anoint with sweet perfume of love and praise the blessed head of him "who is called Christ", the Anointed One. Mat 1:17. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. The Holy Ghost led his servant Matthew to adopt a rough and simple method to help weak memories. Here are three fourteens. Let us learn from this to make ourselves familiar with our Lord's pedigree, and think much of his being born into our world. Specially let us see that he was literally of the house of David, and of the seed of Abraham; for many prophecies in the Old Testament pointed to this fact. He is truly the Messiah, the Prince, which was to come.