Matthew 1:1

We are tempted to pass by the string of names with which the New Testament opens, as though it had no moral significance, as though it were only a relic of Jewish domestic annals. But even the genealogies in Genesis are eloquent in lessons on human life - its brevity, its changes, its succession, its unity in the midst of diversity; and the genealogy of our Lord has its own peculiar importance, reminding us of many facts.

I. CHRIST IS TRULY HUMAN. It will be a great mistake if we so conceive of his Divinity as in any way to diminish our idea of his humanity. He was as true a man as if he had not been more than a man. The Divinity in him overflows the humanity, fills it and surrounds it, but does not destroy it. Christ is not a demi-god - half-way between man and God. Perfectly one with his Father on the Divine side of his nature, he is equally one with us on the human.

II. CHRIST HAS CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER MEN. He does not descend out of the sky like an angel, or suddenly appear at our tent-door as the "three men" appeared to Abraham (Genesis 18:2). He comes in the line of a known household, and takes his place in the family tree. This family tree suggests kinship. A family is more than a collection of men, women, and children, more or less closely associated together like the grains of sand on the seashore. There is blood-relationship in it The solidarity of the human race makes one man to be the brother of all men. But the family relationship is even closer. Our Lord extends his own closest kinship to all who do the will of God (Matthew 12:50).

III. THE PAST LEADS UP TO CHRIST. He has his roots in the ages. Those dim, sorrowful years did not come and go in vain. They were all laying the foundation on which, in the fulness of time, God would build his glorious temple. Yet the men whose names are immortalized in this list knew not of their high destiny. We live for a future that is beyond our vision.

IV. CHRIST IS NOT ACCOUNTED FOR BY HIS ANCESTRY. Some people are proud of a noble pedigree. Yet it is possible to be the worthless scion of a glorious house, for families often degenerate. On the other hand, many of the best men have emerged out of obscurity. We may believe in "blood" to a certain extent, but heredity will not explain the most striking phenomena of human life. Most assuredly it will not explain the marvellous nature and character of Christ. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" (Job 14:4). Christ is not the product of such lives as those of his ancestors here given. His unique glory is not of this world, as a comparison of his life with his genealogy should show us.

V. CHRIST SUMS UP THE GLORIES OF THE PAST. All that is great and good in his ancestors is contained in Christ and surpassed by him.

1. The Jewish faith. Christ's pedigree goes back to Abraham, the friend of God; and in Christ Abraham's faith and piety are perfected, and the promises to Abraham are fulfilled.

2. The Jewish throne. Christ is David's heir. He inherits David's kingship anti he exceeds it, realizing in fact what David imperfectly foreshadowed in type. - W.F.A.

The book of the generation.
1. It is a proof of the reality of Christ's humanity.

2. It suggests the relation of Christ's work to the whole human race.

3. It marks the importance of the birth of Christ as a historical epoch. Let it remind us also

(1)Of the shortness of human life;

(2)Of the subserviency of persons of every class and character to the purposes of God's moral government.

(G. Brooks.)

1. A profane use for ostentation.

2. A holy use

(1)For the observing of judicial laws;

(2)For the distinguishing the church from those without;

(3)For the setting forth the pedigree of the Messiah, lest it should be thought that he were some obscure or secret person.

(R. Ward.)

The first record is the book of the generation of Jesus Christ. What does this signify?

1. A man's beginnings, a man's ancestors, have something to do with both his character and his life.

2. Christ was the sacred heir of all the ancient world.

3. The genealogy reminds us how all the past was preparing for Jesus.

4. But more than all, the generations of Jesus Christ show us the birth of the new world, and the new time, and the new institutions, which are to end in the perfect glory of the Father and the perfect blessedness of the race.

(W. H. Davison.)

1. There is much in good lineage.

2. Sin has tainted the blood of the best races of men, and frequently makes itself manifest.

3. God's grace can flow through very crooked human channels.

4. No man stands alone.

1. This table of our Lord's genealogy, inserted in the beginning of the gospel, invests the book with an air of naturalness and reality, which probably nothing else could have done so well. No man writing fiction would have ventured to preface it with a dry list of obscure names.

2. It connects Jesus and His teachings with all God's revelations and promises which had been given before. It binds up, as in one sheaf, all generations of the church in one uniform moral system.

3. The Lord's ancestral roll serves to identify Him in closer connection and sympathy with the race whom, as their God, lie came to redeem.

4. The account of those who were Christ's ancestry before His first advent suggest the anxious inquiry, whether our names are written in the Book of Life as members of His spiritual family.

(J. B. Owen, M. A.)

1. He is a man.

2. He is a Jew.

3. He is a king.

(1)God's purpose is to bless by a man;

(2)To teach by a man;

(3)To judge by a man;

(4)To rule by a man;

(5)To link earth and heaven together by a man.

(Dr. Bonar.)The text appears at first sight like a valley of dry bones without any life or fertility, or a rugged pass that leads to green pastures. Nevertheless, there are important lessons in it respecting the human race and its relation to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. It shows THE COMMON ORIGIN OF THE RACE. St. Luke traces the ancestry of Jesus to Adam — the head of the race.

II. THE PHYSICAL CONNECTION OF THE RACE. Having sprung from a common head, there must be a physical connection between the various members.

(1)War seems doubly barbarous and unnatural.

(2)Men ought to sympathize with and promote one another's welfare apart from Christianity, etc.


IV. THE MORAL DISTINCTION OF THE RACE. What a mixture of good and bad there is in the genealogy!

(W. Edwards.)

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