Red Letter Year: 3/6

Matthew 1:1-25

This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of 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 (whose 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 (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse.

Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).

Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa.

Asa 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.

10  Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amon. Amon was the father of Josiah.

11 Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon).

12 After the Babylonian exile: Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.

13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor.

14 Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Akim. Akim was the father of Eliud.

15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob.

16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

17 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.



If you’ve been doing this all along, way to go, we’ve made it through Mark. Turning to the second Gospel written, Matthew, we immediately find… a list of names. That can seem pretty boring, like reading the phone book (back when we had those), but a couple of things are worth noting. First of all, this is Matthew’s way of letting us know up front that Jesus is a descendent of David, which is a big deal, because the Messiah the prophets foretold was going to be the one to fulfill God’s promise to David that his descendent would reign forever. Mark didn’t bring this up at all, so right away we see Matthew adding in important details. Second, you may have noticed that I underlined parts of the list of ancestors. Those are places where Jesus’ ancestral story is particularly sordid and/or evil. The sort of thing you might expect one to clean up. But Matthew goes out of his way to remind us of these incidents. That is not on accident. From the outset of his Incarnation, Jesus is the spotless lamb who takes on the sin of the whole world and this is nowhere more evident than in highlighting the sins of his own human family juxtaposed with his own virgin birth. Jesus comes fully embedded in the human story and also comes with a unique purity.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

the Father loves his children: a way to read the Bible

Jesus calls God “Father,” and teaches us to do the same (see: the Lord’s prayer). This means that the basic defining relationship between us and God is that of a Father and his children. Which is the same relationship God had with the children of Israel. This means that what was relationally true of the people in the OT is also true of us. How God interacts with them is how God interacts with us. How God feels about them is how God feel about us.

It is also true that we often respond just as they did. We read the NT and wonder how the disciples could be so thick-headed, how the Pharisees could be so blinded by their religion. We read the OT and we wonder how the Israelities could so easily run back to idolatry, how even someone like David could turn and do something so evil as to steal a man’s wife and then have him murdered. But we are just like all of them. We are the thick-headed disciples. We are the blinded-by-religion Pharisees. We are the faithless Israelites worshipping a golden cow, with the memory of the parted sea still fresh in our minds. We are David, whose lust can overwhelm us, even if we are a man after God’s own heart.

The Bible is full of human weakness and failings. The more we can identify with that and see it in ourselves, the more we will have an accurate picture of ourselves and our sinfulness. The Bible is also full of the love, mercy, and grace of a Father God who knows all this and loves His children anyway. If we can learn to see ourselves in all those relationships between God and humans in the Bible, we will get, not only a more accurate picture of ourselves, but a more accurate picture of oursevles as God sees us, as a Father who loves His children.