Strange Introduction

Scott Hoezee

Read: Matthew 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (v. 1)

If you were reading the Bible for the first time and turned the page from Malachi at the end of the Old Testament to Matthew at the head of the New Testament, surely you’d wonder what Matthew had been thinking. Is this the most gripping way to begin a whole new section of the Bible? A family tree? A list of names? Boring! Preachers know that you have only a brief few moments either to hook your listeners or lose them right off the bat. Introductions are important. So what is up with this unexciting family tree?

Matthew was writing to a largely Jewish reading audience. He wanted to confirm the faith of those who had already embraced Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah and to entice into the faith any who were not yet convinced. But for the Jews, the first item of business would be to affirm that this Jesus is a true descendant of David. There was no better way to do that than a genealogy or family tree.

But it was more than that. As we will see in the next couple days, Matthew is up to something pretty important here. We might all be tempted to skip down to verse 18 where we think the real story begins. But don’t. Read the family tree. It will tell you a lot about the Jesus whose birth we celebrate this month. —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: Open our eyes, Lord, to see hidden truths that reveal a precious grace. Amen.