The Mission of Genealogies
Matthew 1:1
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.…

The Gospels contain two genealogies of Jesus the Messiah. Both relate to Joseph the reputed father of Jesus, and to Mary by virtue of her relation as wife, or her family relation, to him. Matthew's is the transcript of the public record, and traces the family line in a descending scale from Abraham; Luke's is the private family genealogy, and it traces the family line in an ascending scale up to Adam. Matthew takes the point of view of a Jew; Luke sees in Messiah a Saviour for humanity. It has been suggested that the Jew bore two names - what may be called a religious name, which would be used in the sacred records; and what may be called a secular name, which would be used in the civil lists. This may account for diversity in the forms of the names in these two genealogies.

I. THE COMMON MISSION OF GENEALOGIES. Everybody does not jealously guard the family records. But some do. They are felt to be important:

1. When there is family property. This is illustrated in the case of the Israelites. The land of Canaan was divinely allotted to the families, and it was inalienable (see the year of jubilee, and Naboth's refusal to give up his garden). Any one claiming land in Canaan was bound to show the family register.

2. When there were class privileges. Illustrate by the inability of some, in the time of the restoration, to prove their priestly or Levitical connections. See the jealousy with which membership in Indian castes is preserved.

3. When any one becomes famous. At once we want to know who he is; what are his belongings; who are his "forbears. An idea that no man is a distinct and separate individual. We are all products. We all belong to the past. Those who have been live over again in their sons. So in a biography we always want to know a man's ancestry. Show that there is this common interest in Jesus, and it is fully met, and met in such a way as to secure a supreme interest in him.

II. THE SACRED MISSION OF GENEALOGIES. They become proofs of the Messiahship of Jesus. Prophecy fixed one condition. Messiah would belong to the royal house of David. Now, observe that during Christ's life this was never once disputed. The Sanhedrin kept the public archives; and though Herod the Great sought out and burnt all the family registers he could, the enemies of Christ never attempted to disprove his claim to belong to the royal race. Evidently the public genealogies confronted them and served this sacred purpose. Ulla, a rabbi of the third century, says, Jesus was treated in an exceptional way, because he was of the royal race." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

WEB: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

The Lessons of Christ's Genealogy
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