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Sermon 1
Matthew 1:1-17




Sermon 1: Matthew 1:1-17
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
October 29, 2023

Hi, my name is Philip from Beggars Breaking Bread, and I will be reading and preaching from Matthew 1:1-17.

Scripture (Matthew 1:1-17, NLT)

This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of King David and of Abraham:


Abraham was the father of Isaac.
Isaac was the father of Jacob.
Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar).
Perez was the father of Hezron.
Hezron was the father of Ram.
Ram was the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.
Nahshon was the father of Salmon.
Salmon was the father of Boaz (his mother was Rahab).
Boaz was the father of Obed (his mother was Ruth).
Obed was the father of Jesse.
Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon (his mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).
Solomon was the father of Rehoboam.
Rehoboam was the father of Abijah.
Abijah was the father of Asaph.
Asaph was the father of Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram.
Jehoram was the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah was the father of Jotham.
Jotham was the father of Ahaz.
Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh.
Manasseh was the father of Amos.
Amos was the father of Josiah.
Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon).
After the Babylonian exile:
Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel.
Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.
Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud.
Abiud was the father of Eliakim.
Eliakim was the father of Azor.
Azor was the father of Zadok.
Zadok was the father of Akim.
Akim was the father of Eliud.
Eliud was the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar was the father of Matthan.
Matthan was the father of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Mary was the mother of Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to King David, and fourteen from David’s time to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

This is the word of the Lord.

As I speak today, it is late October. Literally, about a month away from my all-time favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.


When I was growing up, I remember the days, back when I was nine years old, of writing out the dinner menu on construction paper, feasting – to the point of suffering a severe food coma – over two to three full plates of my grandmother’s Southern home cooking (honey baked ham, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, rolls, buttermilk chess pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie and sweet tea), and watching football on the couch afterwards next to my grandfather to see who would win that day:


Dallas Cowboys or the Detroit Lions? Emmitt Smith or Barry Sanders?


Good times…


Another part of Thanksgiving for me and for millions of people in America is the coming together of families for Thanksgiving dinner. College students coming back home on holiday break. Extended family reunions taking place reuniting cousins with aunts, uncles, and grandparents. During this time, you get a much broader view of who is in your family.


Some family members you love. Some not as much.


However, what brings you together is often a shared last name or shared lineage brought together by marriages and adoptions, while also surviving through heartbreaking divorces, separations, and deaths.


What we see here to start off the Gospel of Matthew is something significant, though oftentimes, it gets glossed over because of the laundry list of often unrecognizable and hard-to-pronounce names of both significant and (seemingly) insignificant people. However, this passage sets up a valuable foundation for us to know the family tree of Jesus Christ, and where He came from.


As we dig a little deeper into His family tree, we’ll recognize some relatively good people and some relatively bad people, which, if we’re being honest with ourselves, is similar to our own individual families.


And the key for us to understand is that, as believers of Jesus Christ, we are a part of His family, which we will find out is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-cultural family of sinners and saints that includes a shared history, lineage and testament with our Jewish brothers and sisters.


The main point to understand this passage is: because of Jesus, we are all a part of a blended and dysfunctional family.

Because of Jesus Christ, we are ALL a part of a blended and dysfunctional family.

As we dig deep into this passage, there are three things for us to be thankful for:

  1. Though we cannot pick our family relatives, God still has a purpose for them for your good and for His glory.

  2. God sent His son Jesus to Earth not to make our earthly families more perfect but to call us to become part of a much bigger and eternal family, following a perfect God and Savior.

  3. Through Jesus, we have access to a blended family that includes believers of many races, languages, nations, and generations – in spite of our imperfections because of God’s great love for His people.

Let’s look at the first point: Though we cannot pick our family relatives, God still has a purpose for them for your good and for His glory.


Before we engage on this, we have to take a step back and get on the same page on what the Gospel of Matthew was all about when it was originally written.


Obviously, the Gospel of Matthew was written by…Matthew. Yet, what is not so obvious is WHY Matthew wrote this Gospel, and of course, why does he start this book with a genealogy that could put some modern-day readers to sleep?


Matthew was not only one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, but he was also a Jewish tax collector, which at that time he was not well-liked by his peers not because he was Jewish but because he was a tax collector. When Matthew wrote this eyewitness account detailing the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, he wrote this particularly to an audience of his religious peers.


He wrote this Gospel to the Jewish people primarily to prove one thing. He wanted to prove that Jesus was indeed the Messiah that the Jewish people had been historically looking for and the one that would fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament.


For over 400 years before Jesus’ birth, the Jewish people were waiting on a leader that would liberate them from Roman oppression and bring on a new kingdom for them to flourish. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah predicted in Isaiah 9:6 of the birth of the Jewish nation’s future Prince of Peace: “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.


He continued in the next verse: “The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.

When Isaiah mentioned that the Messiah would “reign on the throne of David”, he meant that the King of Kings would come from King David’s bloodline. That was a requirement for the Messiah to be the Messiah for the Jewish people. This helps us better understand why Matthew started his Gospel with a genealogy showing that Jesus not only was a direct descendant of King David, as predicted in Isaiah’s prophecy, but Jesus, the future crucified “King of the Jews” also was a direct descendant of Abraham, the father of all Jews. Matthew shared this genealogy to prove to Jewish readers that, indeed, the long-awaited Messiah has come in Jesus of Nazareth. 


What is particularly of interest while reviewing the genealogy is that verse 16 of Matthew 1 mentions of Joseph being the “husband” of Mary but not the “father” of Jesus, given all the previous lines mentioning the “father” (or “ancestor”). As Christians, we believe that Jesus was born to a virgin Mary, which also fulfills part of the Old Testament prophecy from Isaiah 7:14: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us).”  


I was intrigued to learn while reviewing the next passage (that we’ll cover next week) that upon finding out that Mary was pregnant not by him but by the Holy Spirit, Joseph was considering breaking off the engagement with Mary, which would mean that he would not be Mary’s husband, which would disrupt the genealogy connection from Abraham to David to Joseph as the husband of Mary, who is the mother of Jesus. It was an angel of the Lord, in Matthew 1:20, that appeared to Joseph in a dream and calmed his fear to move forward with marrying Mary, which he did afterwards and ultimately kept the Jewish genealogy connection intact for Jesus being the Messiah as prophesized.

Now, if we take a few moments to look through the genealogy (clearly we do not have time to go through each name listed, though I recommend you review at least a few of these names in the Old Testament), we come to find out that the genealogy of Jesus Christ is full of imperfect people, which can be seen as odd considering that the only perfect human being to walk this Earth, who is also God in the flesh, is historically connected or associated with such sinful people.


When we consider the imperfections and checkered history of some of the people listed in this royal lineage, we notice (for example) Abraham (twice lied about his wife Sarai being his sister in order to protect himself in a foreign land as well as trying to fulfill God’s promise outside of God by having a child through his servant Hagar), Isaac (repeated his father Abraham and lied that his wife Rebekah was his sister), Jacob (deceived his father and cheated his brother out of his birthright), Tamar (a disguised prostitute), Rahab (an actual prostitute), and David (was intimate with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, got her pregnant, and played a role in having Uriah killed as part of the coverup).

Why is this important for us?


When we understand the history and sinful nature behind the members of Jesus’ genealogy across over 40 generations and over 2,000 years, we can recognize that God is not limited by our failures and sins, for He can still work through ordinary people to accomplish His divine promises.


If God can use all these people to fulfill His purpose to bring Jesus into the world to save us from being enslaved to sin and from being separated from Him forever, God can use you and me too in spite of our many failures, setbacks, and sins.


Not only can God use us, but He can also use the sanctified and broken people in our earthly families...

Did you have an absent father in your life?

Maybe an overbearing and unloving mother?

How about a surprise child (or grandchild)?

A wayward brother or a sexually confused sister?

Even if you had a habitually drunk uncle or a cousin in and out of the court system...


God still has grace for each of them, as well as a purpose for their lives.


Even when it may be hard to do so, with God’s help, we can still welcome them into our family with love, grace and compassion because God is still using them for our good, their good and His glory. Besides, if we’re honest, all have fallen short from the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and we should not treat others differently simply because they sin differently than us, yet God still loves us all.


Another thing worth noting in Jesus’ genealogy: King David’s great-grandmother was Ruth. Ruth was a Moabite, whose people historically worshiped idols, and was of Hamitic descent. What is Hamitic descent? Descendants of Ham, considered by both Christians and Jews during the Middle Ages as the ancestor of all Africans, had black skin. 


What does that mean?


Jesus’ genealogy contained people of different countries of origin, races, and skin colors that passed on generationally. From the beginning in the Old Testament historically to the New Testament with Jesus’ birth and in the future as described in Revelation 7:9 where every nation, tribe, people and language will stand before the throne of Jesus, Jesus’ family was divinely destined to be one that is multi-ethnic, multiracial, and multi-national, inclusive of all people who believe.


We can find our historical, cultural and racial heritage ultimately in Jesus Christ, where He can be the great unifier amidst all the worldly division among our differences, especially in the times we live in today.

That is the beauty of following Jesus Christ as our Messiah as we reach our second point: God sent His son Jesus to Earth not to make our earthly families more perfect but to call us to become part of a much bigger and eternal family, following a perfect God and Savior.


I’ll be honest with you. I love my family. I did not choose my family. It’s not perfect.


The good news for me is more than likely, neither is yours.


At the same time, there was a point in time over the past few years that I strongly felt a need for something more than my earthly family to survive in this fallen world. I believe that my grandparents held our family together across at least three generations across the state of Tennessee. When they passed away over ten years ago, I felt our family splintering apart, and I did not have a solid and reliable foundation to hold on to when they were gone.


It makes me think back to a movie I watched when I was growing up in the late 1990s. Those were times before Netflix and streaming, where people actually rented video cassettes (not DVDs) from the local Blockbuster video store and packed the movie theaters on premiere weekend.


In the movie Soul Food (1997), popular among the African American community when it first came out, the grandmother, affectionately known as “Big Mama”, held the family together during Sunday afternoon dinners similar to how my grandmother did each Sunday after church. When Big Mama passed away, the remaining family members went their separate ways, and there was no longer something solid bringing them back together again.


When I got married over seven years ago, I was desperately seeking stability in my life the way I found it in my grandmother. Not only was my wife helpful in us becoming one where we could do life together as husband and wife, but we grew deeper within our church family, interacting with people I might normally not hang out with because we might not share the same last name, alma mater, workplace, skin color, or sports team.


However, despite our differences, my church family shared the same belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and we met together weekly to study together, worship together, fellowship together, pray together, and do life together. During my toughest moments these past few years, I needed prayer more than a pep talk. My wife and church community provided that for me.


In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul notes how believers in Jesus Christ become one body such “that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Cor. 12:25-27).

Jesus came to our fallen world to help broken people like me and you to look beyond the earthly families we have here for our limited lifetime and invite us to a much greater family reunited with God forever.


As soul food on a Sunday ultimately brought back Big Mama’s family back together again in the movie, my extended church family comes together as one body united in Christ, which feeds and nourishes us individually and collectively to become more like Jesus and to share the bread of life with others, inviting them to our family.


I pray that Jesus will be the soul food that brings my earthly family back together as well.

But how is this possible, you may ask, since we explored the Jewish genealogy of Jesus Christ?


Wouldn’t Jesus be reserved for just the Jewish people?


This brings up our final point from this passage: Through Jesus, we have access to a blended family that includes believers of many races, languages, nations, and generations – in spite of our imperfections because of God’s great love for His people.


While we started with the Jewish genealogy of Jesus Christ to prove that He is the promised Messiah as the direct descendant of both Abraham and King David, we also discover something interesting when we examine Luke 3:23-38 regarding the genealogy of Jesus Christ from His mother Mary’s side.


Beginning in verse 34, after the author Luke shares the genealogy of Jesus Christ in reverse, starting with Jesus Christ as the son of Joseph and goes back to King David and Abraham, Luke actually traces the genealogy back beyond Abraham, the father of all Jews, back to Noah (Luke 3:36) and the first Adam (Luke 3:38).


Why is this significant?


By tracing Jesus’ genealogy back to the first God-created man to walk the Earth in the Book of Genesis, it shows that Jesus is both the Son of Man and the Son of God, related to all human beings and the Savior of the whole world from original sin.


When Paul and Barnabas started to spread the Good News about Jesus after his death, burial and resurrection, they came across Jews who tried to contradict and insult them from what they were sharing in Antioch.


And the Bible says starting in Acts 13:46-47: “Paul and Barnabas boldly replied, ‘It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you [the Jews] first. Since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us [as prophesized originally in Isaiah 49:6]: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles to bring salvation to the end of the earth.’”


Even dating back to the Old Testament with Isaiah, it was clear that God had always intended as part of His plan to bring salvation to all His people.


Jesus (the Greek name corresponding to the Hebrew name Joshua which means “the Lord saves”) made it possible for us, both Jew and Gentile.


His life was part of God’s plan to redeem us from sin and reunite us back to God as part of His family of believers, regardless of nation, tribe, language, gender or race.

As Paul stated in his letter to the Galatians: “For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:27-29)


Despite our differences, on the inside and outside, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are unified as we are now one in Christ. Whether Jew or Gentile, when we accept Christ in our lives, we are part of God’s blended and beloved family as heirs to the seed of Abraham.


I am grateful that, because of Jesus, His genealogy is now part of my genealogy.

His blended family is now my blended family as part of God’s kingdom.

Now, I must ask you...

Are you a part of Jesus’ blended family?

Is His genealogy part of yours?

Are you heirs to Abraham’s seed as well?


If not, today is the perfect time to become a part of the family.


As the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:2: “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation!


If you are not a believer who has repented of your sins and placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can make a decision right now to become part of His family.


Jesus loves you.


God sent Him here to die for us, so that our many sins (past, present and future) would be forgiven, while restoring our relationship both with God and with each other.


All we have to do is ask Jesus into our hearts and make Him the Lord and Savior of our lives.


If you’re ready to take that step, would you pray this prayer with me:


Dear Jesus, I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe that you came from Heaven to Earth to live, die and rise again just for me, so that my sins may be forgiven. I trust you with my life. By faith, I make you my Lord and Savior. Thank you for your love and sacrifice. In Jesus name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, let me be the first to congratulate you on the best decision you could make in your life. Let me also welcome you to the family, as the angels in Heaven are rejoicing on your arrival. I encourage you to find a local, Bible-based church to connect with and join its community as you do life together with other believers.


If you already are a believer, and you feel that this message can be helpful to someone who does not yet know Jesus, please share this message with him or her.


Let us continue the good work ahead of us to globally spread the Good News about Jesus Christ and to welcome more into His family. God bless you for watching this. Thank you and take care.

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