“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.” — Matthew 1:17Read the full passage: Matthew 1:1-17
Let’s be honest. When we’re telling the Christmas story, don’t we just skip this part? Who wants to sit down and read “so and so fathered so and so” … 42 times? We want to get to the good part. To start with verse 18 where it says “now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows …” That’s where the action is. A virgin carrying the Son of the Most High and Joseph stepping up to the plate to be Jesus’s earthly father. Oh, and don’t forget about the angels and the Holy Spirit!
But our dear tax collector friend Matthew takes 17 verses to set the scene here. The opening credits of the Gospel if you will. And oh how rich these 17 verses are.
Matthew immediately brings his Jewish audience back to the line of David and all the way back to the line of Abraham. This is important. Jesus is legitimate, and Matthew proves it. He includes people like Isaac, Jacob, Boaz, Solomon, and Josiah, just to name a few of the famous ones. The Jews would have known these people and how they played such a huge role in their ancestry.
He also includes those lovely hard-to-pronounce names like Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Rehoboam, and Jehoshaphat. Don’t those roll off the tongue when you’re telling the Christmas story to your grandchildren? Like I said … we tend to skip this part.
Can you imagine your name being recorded in Scripture? Not to be a random name in a long list of Levitical priests or one of the many people Paul gives thanks to in his letters – that would be cool enough. But to be on the opening page of the entire New Testament, after 400 years of silence from God – your name is printed there … to pave the way to introduce the Messiah Himself. The One who is coming to defeat death.
This section of Scripture includes three sets of 14 generations: 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the Babylonian exile, and 14 from the exile to Christ. And that doesn’t include the thousands of faithful people along the way whose names didn’t make it into the opening pages of the New Testament.
I personally love genealogies and family history. They tell a woven story of how a perfect God uses imperfect people to bring about His perfect plan. And in His goodness, not only does God choose to work through people like King David, Abraham, Mary, and Joseph … God is working through people like you and me.
This Christmas, don’t skip the genealogy. Take the time to slow down and pronounce the names. Tell your children, your grandchildren, and your great grandchildren about the imperfect people listed in the Bible that God used in a mighty way to bring the sinless Savior into the world as a baby. God works all things together for His glory and our good, and nothing can stop God’s perfect plan.
May our names be included in the long line of faithful ones who have gone before us to reflect the goodness of our Savior.
Questions for Thought
- Is there anyone in your family who needs to know Jesus Christ personally? Lift that family member up to God today. Be bold and pray for an opportunity to share the gospel with them.
- What legacy do you hope to leave for your children? Your grandchildren? Your great-grandchildren? What is the one thing you want your family to know and remember you by?
The family line of Jesus is filled with imperfect people whom a perfect God used to bring the sinless Savior to Earth. Reflect today on Romans 8:14–17. Rest in the truth that we are children of God, adopted by the King of kings, and co-heirs with Christ.
Director of Preteens
Ashley is passionate about seeing children come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Her favorite part of children and preteen ministry is when boys and girls discover that God really is the One True God! She is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Studies and a Master’s Degree in Children’s Ministry. She and her husband, Kris, are proud parents of their daughter Avery and rescue dog Murphy.