So, all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. (Matthew 1:17)
I never really thought there was much in this last verse of the passage that we are looking at this week. It seemed to me that Matthew was just summarizing for us what he said over the first sixteen verses in order to bring this section to a close, and that’s all. Often, though, a summary can bring to light what is hidden in all the details. Matthew does that here.
Matthew highlights here three important eras and points in history: Abraham to David, David to the exile, the exile to Christ. Frederick Dale Bruner helpfully suggests that we look at this history like the shape of the letter “N.” Just like the shape of the letter N, history heads upward from Abraham to David, then it heads downward from David to the Babylonian exile, and then it heads upward again to Jesus.
Jesus came just at the right time, when history was made new. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Douglas Sean O’donnell said that God designed history around the coming of Jesus. Everything, even the direction that history was heading, pointed toward Jesus.
The time when Jesus came was a dark, hopeless period in history. The Jews had not heard from God for over 400 hundred years. Then God invaded time in an entirely unique, special and planned way. Just as each name leads to the next in this list, so time moved forward to its appointed climax in Jesus.
We are in a similarly hopeless time, it seems. Time is moving forward to a purposeful end, the coming of Jesus again. As we reflect back over this genealogy, we see that God was moving and working, bringing history to its appointed new beginning in Jesus. We can have hope, because in a dark and difficult time to ours, God was still at work.
Where are you at in your genealogy? What is your influence on eternity and future generations through Jesus? Pray and reflect. Ask God to help you love God, love others, and serve the world more faithfully, for future generations.