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1. Genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17)
12 After the exile to Babylon, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel became the father of Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel became the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim. Eliakim became the father of Azor. 14 Azor became the father of Sadoc. Sadoc became the father of Achim. Achim became the father of Eliud. 15 Eliud became the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan. Matthan became the father of Jacob. 16 Jacob became the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
The Jews that were made captives and carried away to Babylon were exceedingly afraid. They thought that God protected them because of his covenant with them and that his presence in the temple ensured them definite victory. But, after that, they experienced God's demand for sanctification and keeping of his law in love. He was not content with their repeated, meaningless rituals, ceremonies, and prayers because his aim was not to establish a theocracy. He sought to change the hearts and make them broken and humble before him. He also sought to renew their minds and turn them into a new creation.
God does not get angry forever. He offers the nations and the individuals a second chance to repent. As such in 538 BC, two men went back to Jerusalem with broken hearts and with great hope. Their names were Zerubbabel of Davidic descent, and Jeshua the son of the former high priest. They, as well as their people, were allowed to go back home, because the Persians defeated the Babylonians and Cyrus, the king, allowed the Jews to go back home if they wished. So a small part of them went back joyously, but they found Jerusalem and its neighborhood destroyed and poor. Despite the bad situation, they took steps to rebuild the Temple, knowing that their past decline was due to their lack of faith and twisted conduct. They knew that God did not have in view a political kingdom. He demanded spiritual services, faithful worship and a pure life.
We do not know much about the men mentioned in the last third of the genealogy of Jesus. Yet, in view of the fact that the power moved from the Persians to the Greek, then to the Maccabees, and thereafter to the Romans, they lived almost continuously under the dominance of strangers. Therefore the Jewish region remained an unimportant isolated district in political history.
We are astonished when we find that the genealogy of Jesus ends with Joseph who is not a father to Jesus according to the flesh. But the Jewish understanding of genealogy at that time depended upon legitimate rights and engagements, not upon race and blood relation. Thus Jesus was grafted in with the sons of David through Joseph who adopted him. Additionally, because of a Roman census, he was born in the city of David and not in Nazareth, as Joseph was obliged to go back to the house of his ancestors according to Roman law.
Matthew testified of the importance of the title of Jesus, Son of Mary. He is the promised Christ. Matthew was not the only man who observed the Messiahship of Jesus. Many people of the Old Testament and millions of nations until now have joyfully observed that the kingdom of God came near with the birth of Jesus Christ. His love, spiritual power and humility are the signs of his supernatural kingship. Our declining world is not in need of new kingdoms and principalities since weapons and revolutions cannot change hearts; it is only the reconciliation to God through Christ and his divine peace that can renew individuals and situations. Therefore we pray with all our hearts, "Your kingdom come" in these last days.
PRAYER: O Lord Jesus, you are my king. You did not require me to pay taxes or to perform ordinances, but you gave your life for me, and delivered me from my passing hopes for political honor, economic security and the desire for revenge. You change me continuously into a person of love, giving me eternal life that I may not die when I pass away (John 11:25-26), but have eternal life.
- Why does the genealogy of Jesus end with Joseph who is not his father according to the flesh?