Daily Devotional

February 20, 2021

Daybreak: Matthew 1:1-25

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17)

When I was in high school in Nigeria, our school — in fact, the whole town — experienced a severe water shortage. The water table was low because there had been a shortage of rain, and eventually the problem was so acute that there was no water to cook food for the students. The whole student body had to walk over six miles in search of water, which we finally found on a man’s farm. He sold the water to us so the more than two hundred students could have lunch. 

However, that was not the end of the problem: the water that we brought back to school was very muddy and unfit for consumption. We knew the water was priceless, and that somehow we had to make it pure. So we put in a measure of alum — a crystallizing agent — and stirred the water. After a while, the water became crystal clear, and all the impurities settled in the bottom of the buckets. Next, we poured the clear water into clean containers. The meal was cooked, and served, and we had a good and memorable lunch!

As we read the genealogy of our Savior, we observe that it contained what we might think of as “impurities.” Since women were not traditionally included in a Jewish genealogy, Matthew must have deliberately presented the fact that Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba — four women of questionable background — were in Christ’s lineage: Tamar was an adulteress, Rahab was a harlot, Ruth was a Moabite Gentile and thus an enemy of Israel, and Bathsheba was the wife of another man when she conceived David’s son. How could the Savior, who had such a pure nature, allow Himself to be born from such a less-than-stellar lineage? 

Matthew’s genealogy is a beautiful demonstration of the fact that Christ took upon Himself the “likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3) when He came to earth. What better proof could there be that even great sinners, upon their repentance, are taken into the nearest relationship to Christ? The impure is made pure. The polluted is made clean. The degenerates of humanity are transformed.

As we focus on the miraculous birth of the Lord, we should also celebrate the miracle of love that made Him choose to come through the lineage of David!

Background

All the hope of Israel was focused on the birth of the Messiah. Still, though Old Testament Scriptures prophesied the circumstances that would surround His birth, people had their own ideas as to how the Savior would emerge. Amidst a backdrop of doubts and unrelenting attack from the established religious circle of the day, Matthew set out to write his Gospel to converted Jews. His primary aim was to shore up their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. 

The core of the Judaists’ assault on Christ was that He was only human, and therefore could not be the Savior. Matthew’s faith-building approach was to show that Christ was indeed divine and that His human nature was necessary and foretold. He proceeded to show the interposition of the divine and human nature of Christ.

Because a Jew’s ancestry proved his or her position as one of God’s chosen people and was, therefore, very important, Matthew began by showing that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham and David. Next, he showed how the events surrounding Christ’s birth were consistent with the holy prophecies, citing how the birth of Jesus Christ was different from that of any other known person, because He was born of a virgin. Matthew’s approach, through the unction of the Holy Spirit, helped to prove to the believing Jews that Jesus Christ was indeed the Savior. Based on Christ’s genealogy, the circumstances surrounding His birth, and the pinpoint accuracy of prophesy about Him, His divinity was unquestionable.

Matthew, in a dramatic conclusion to this genealogical record, said that the lineage of Christ and His unusual birth were a fulfillment of prophecy about the Messiah and the Name He would be given — Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.” Many Jewish boys were named Jesus, the Greek equivalent of Joshua, which means “Jehovah saves.” Emmanuel, however, portrayed the anointed One. It was a title describing the deity of the Son of God, rather than a name actually used by Him. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I.   The presentation of the King
      A.   The coming of the King
            1.   His genealogy (1:1-17)
            2.   His birth (1:18-25)
                  a.   His divine origination (1:18-23)
                  b.   His human origination (1:24-25)

A Closer Look

  1. How many generations were there between Christ and Abraham?
     
  2. Why is it necessary to make a clear distinction that Mary was a virgin?
     
  3. The name Emmanuel means “God with us.” How has this great truth impacted your life?

Conclusion

Just as God used all kinds of people to bring His Son into the world, He calls all kinds of people today to become His children and to serve Him. 

Reference Materials