2- Matthew’s genealogy outlines the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption for the world, not just the Jews. Within the royal blood line of the Messiah were four women of foreign birth: Tamar and Rahab were Canaanites (Gen. 38, Josh. 2), Ruth was a Moabitess (Ruth 1), Bathsheba was likely a Hittite (2 Sam. 1). God’s plan of salvation has always been universal in scope.
3- Matthew notes the failings of many of the fathers of Israel and uses those failings to demonstrate the need for salvation. Judah’s two sons came through his incestuous relationship with Tamar who he mistook for a prostitute. Solomon was born to David through the adulterous and murderous relationship he had with Bathsheba. In short, the bloodline of Israel’s elite was far from pure, and the record was far from spotless.
4- The genealogy is broken into three groupings for several reasons:
a. Names are left out of the genealogical table for the sake of emphasizing the symbolism found in the numbers three and seven which represent completeness all throughout the Old Testament. Matthew divides the genealogy into three groups of double sevens to show that Israel’s history is complete.
b. The genealogies are divided into three groups to distinguish the three major periods of Israel’s history and show that Jesus is the fulfillment of time and God’s redemptive plan.
The Old Testament is full of future hope. It looks beyond itself to an expected end. This forward movement, or eschatological thrust is a fundamental part of the fait of Israel. It was grounded in their experience and concept of God. God is viewed as constantly active within history for a definite purpose, working towards His desired goal for the earth and humanity. Just as Matthew has summarized Israel's history in the form of a genealogy, so he concludes his observation in v. 17 by pointing out that Israel's purpose is now achieved. The preparation is complete. The Messiah has come. In that sense, Jesus is the end.
5- Israel was chosen for a service: to bring the Messiah into the world. The real reason Israel was brought through the Babylonian captivity was so that Christ could come into the world and identified through the bloodlines of Abraham as God had promised (Rom. 9:5).
Other lessons and points could be drawn from Matthew’s genealogy (an bonus point has been provided below), but these will suffice for now. May we appreciate and take to heart the genealogy of Christ and the lessons Matthew was teaching to his generation. The genealogies are far more than a boring list of names; they are the outline of the Old Testament and the unfolding of the plan of redemption that culminated in Christ.
A Bonus Lesson:
Jechoniah, the last ruling kind before the deportation into Babylon, ruled for 90 days and also went by the name Jehoiachin. Regarding Jehoiachin’s brief rule, God swore, “Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.” The significance of God’s promise should not be overlooked or forgotten. Jesus was a descendant of Jehoiachin and as a descendant, he would never sit on the throne of David. Jesus is not going to return one day to sit on the throne of David and rule for a 1,000 years. Christ is the reigning king right now (Matt. 28:18, Mark 16:19, Heb. 10:12-14).