Matthew 1:1-17 Commentary
Is the genealogy of Jesus filled with righteous or wicked men? The answer to this question depends on your perspective. Since the genealogy begins with Abraham, are we to think of Abraham as the coward who told Sarah to lie twice or as the coward who feared for his life and forgot the great promises of God? Or are we to think of Abraham as the great man of faith who passed the ultimate faith test on Mount Moriah?
And what are we to think of Judah? Do we think of him as the murderous young man who sold Joseph into slavery with his brothers, or as the penitent man who groveled before the powerful Joseph and offered up his life in exchange for his brother Benjamin?
What about David? Do we think about David’s conspiracy to murder Uriah and commit adultery with his wife Bathsheba, or do we remind ourselves that Scripture calls him a “man after God’s own heart” despite his many sins?
Scripture confronts us with these difficult questions: How will you look at this line? Will you judge these men with a earthly eye or with heavenly one? Will you look at them through the lens of faith or through the lens of the law?
It is no accident that Matthew’s genealogical line begins with Abraham. Abraham is revered in the Old Testament as a man of great faith. We are told over and over again in the New Testament that “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
And each of the men in Jesus’ genealogy believed God and put their trust in him. Despite their sins, even great sins, each of them are honored in Christ’s line.
Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises of God made in the Old Testament. He is the anchor of all his truths and bridge to all the covenants between God and Israel. And Jesus is the hope that these men looked to – that though they were spiritually dead on account of their own wickedness under the Law, they were made alive through faith in the unseen Christ whose blood washed their sins away!