Matthew 1




The Genealogy of Jesus (1:1-17)

(Luke 3:23-38)

1 Matthew, the APOSTLE who wrote this Gospel, was himself a JEW. One of Matthew’s purposes in writing his Gospel was to show other Jews that Jesus was the Christ,4 that is, the Messiah. He calls Christ the son of DAVID, because according to the prophecies written in the Old Testament, the Messiah was to be descended from King David, the greatest king of the Jews (2 Samuel 7:12-14; Psalm 89:3-4; 132:11; Mark 10:47-48). Therefore, Matthew outlines Christ’s genealogy in verses 2-17 in order to prove that Christ was indeed descended from King David and also from ABRAHAM, the first Jew (Genesis 12:1-3).

The names in this genealogy are all mentioned in the Old Testament (Ruth 4:18-22; 1 Chronicles 2:1-15; 3:10-16). However, Matthew does not give the complete genealogy; there are three names missing between Abraham (verse 2) and David (verse 6). There are also three names missing between Joram and Uzziah in verse 8 (1 Chronicles 3:11-12).

2-17 When Matthew’s genealogy of Christ is compared with the genealogy in Luke 3:23-38, two major differences can be seen. First, Luke’s genealogy goes back before Abraham’s time; it goes all the way back to Adam,5 the very first man that God created on earth. Luke was not a Jew; his purpose was to show that Christ was not only the Messiah of the Jews, but also the Savior of the whole world, both Jews and GENTILES. For this reason, he started his genealogy with Adam.

Second, between David and Christ the genealogy in Luke is completely different from Matthew’s genealogy. Only two names, Shealtiel and Zerubbabel (verse 12), are the same. The common explanation for this difference is that Matthew has given the legal genealogy of Joseph, who was Jesus’ legal father according to marriage. But, because Joseph was not Jesus’ natural father (the Holy Spirit was Jesus’ real father), Luke has given the genealogy not of Joseph but of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This, of course, was different from Joseph’s genealogy. But the interesting fact is that both Joseph and Mary were descended from King David.6 Therefore, both Matthew and Luke prove by different means that Jesus was the son of David, the Messiah.7

The exile to Babylon (modern Iraq) mentioned in verses 11,17 refers to the defeat of Jerusalem and the surrounding province of Judea by the Babylonians in 587 B.C., at which time the Jews were made prisoners and taken into exile in Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-12). This brought the earthly kingdom of David and his descendants to an end.


The Birth of Jesus Christ (1:18-25)

18 Jesus had no human father. Other men mentioned in the Bible, such as Isaac and John the Baptist, were conceived by the supernatural power of God, but they all had human fathers (Genesis 18:10-14; Luke 1:5-7,11-13,18-19). But Mary, Jesus’ mother, had never slept with a man before Jesus’ birth; she was a virgin. Jesus’ father was the HOLY SPIRIT (see Luke 1:26-35 and comment).

19 In Joseph’s mind, Mary had committed adultery. According to Jewish custom, anyone pledged to be married who was then unfaithful was considered to be an adulterer. Whenever an engagement was broken off, a formal divorce was necessary. Joseph planned to divorce Mary quietly in the presence of two witnesses. He was a merciful and righteous man, and did not want to shame Mary in public.

20 An ANGEL told Joseph in a dream that Mary had not committed adultery with another man, but that the father of her child was the Holy Spirit Himself.

21 The angel told Joseph to name the child Jesus, which is the Greek form of the name Joshua, which means “the Lord saves.” Jesus is the Savior because He saves his people from their sins. He saves them from the punishment of sin, which is eternal death (see John 3:16-17; Romans 6:23 and comments). And He saves them from the power of sin through the working of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:1-2 and comment).

22-23 Matthew then quotes from Isaiah the PROPHET to show that Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus is also called Immanuel, or “God with us,” because in Jesus God came to earth and dwelt among men. And in Christ, God is with us always (Matthew 28:20).

24-25 Many Christians believe that Mary and Joseph had other children after Jesus. The brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in Mark 6:3 and John 7:3-5 are probably children of Mary. However, other Christians believe that Mary remained a virgin. They say that the brothers and sisters mentioned above were sons of Joseph by a previous marriage.

For a further description of Jesus’ birth, see Luke 2:17 and comment.