The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1
Welcome to the first day and the first week of our 2020 Advent Devotional Guide. We will work our way through Matthew 1-2 in the next four weeks, one section at a time. May the Lord bless, teach and encourage you as read and reflect.
As we look at the first 17 verses of the book of Matthew this week, you might have two questions: Why? How? Why would I want to spend a week looking at a genealogy?! How could there be any spiritual significance for me in these verses? Those are natural questions, and good ones. At the end of this week I would encourage you to consider what you learned from these 17 verses about the identity of Jesus.
The best place to start is to think of these verses like a résumé. A résumé is a short account of one’s career and qualifications, according to Merriam-Webster. The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew is a short account of his qualifications, qualifications that existed before his birth. Jews kept genealogical résumés to establish a person’s heritage, inheritance, legitimacy, and rights, according to the Jewish historian Josephus.
Matt. 1:1-17 is Jesus’ résumé, a legal document to establish Jesus’ legitimacy. Someone who made the claims that Jesus makes could not just appear from nowhere, he had to have legitimate background to establish his identity. Instead of asking yourself Why? or How? when you read the verses, the question that Matthew is answering in these verses is Who? Who is this Jesus? “The whole gospel of Matthew asks and the whole gospel of Matthew tells who this is” (Daniel Doriani).
Who is Jesus? How would you answer that question for yourself? Matthew wrote for everyone who would read this book, this gospel, after him, to help us answer that question. He wrote for you and me, which is so amazing! We learn truth about Jesus starting with verse 1. Do you believe the truth of this gospel? Has it changed you? I hope that you are changed through these short thoughts each day. Allow God to change you, even through a genealogy!