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Matthew divides Jesus’ genealogy into three sections: Abraham to David, David to exile, and exile to Joseph. His goal in doing this is to show that Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (that the savior would be Jewish) and that Jesus is the fulfilment of the promise to David (he is from the line of Jerusalem’s king).
With that background, its interesting that the first third of the genealogy (Abraham to David) is doing more than simply establishing that Jesus is Jewish. Matthew uses the genealogy to subtly provide a response to Jesus’ enemies. Jesus was opposed by the Pharisees for many reasons, but Matthew preempts their objections by opening with the genealogy, and by structuring as he does.
Pharisees - Message - Salvation - Apart - Works
The Pharisees objected to the message of salvation by faith apart from works. But salvation by faith alone is a theme in the first third of the genealogy (and we looked at that here). The Pharisees also objected to the global nature of the gospel message, and were troubled that Jesus took his message to gentiles. But Matthew intentionally highlighted famous/infamous gentile women in his genealogy (and we looked at that here).
A third objection from the Jews toward Jesus ministry was related to his birth. They could not stand that he was from Galilee in general or Nazareth in particular. While he was from the tribe of Judah, Joseph and Mary apparently had no friends or family there. Moreover, there were obviously “problems” in his birth story. Who exactly was his father anyway (John 6:19, 41)?
Truth - Third - Jesus - Genealogy - Birth
But the truth is, the first third of Jesus’ genealogy should prepare us for an unusual birth. Anyone even remotely familiar with the Patriarchs should recognize that a theme runs through their lives—their manner of becoming fathers was unusual, and the method of passing...
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Measuring his life out one teaspoon at a time.