“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
And David was the father of Soloman by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezikiah the father of Manesseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.”
Matthew 1: 1-17
For this first section of Matthew to be especially meaningful you have to understand Matthew’s purpose. The book of Matthew was essentially written as proof that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. It was written to persuade the Jews, many of whom had refused to believe. So Matthew really plays up the prophetic scriptures and Jewish culture and tradition.
So right of the bat, the first thing he says is “Jesus is the Messiah.” It functions almost as a thesis. I’ve made this statement, and now I’m going to prove it by-golly.
So why is Jesus’s genealogy important? Basically, as a direct descendant of David the Jewish throne was pretty much His by birthright. Even though Joseph wasn’t His biological father, Jesus would still be his heir. I remember learning that He is also descended from David on Mary’s side, though I don’t know if that’s true. So by Jewish custom Jesus was legally the King of the Jews, if He chose to be.
Also, the number fourteen is important. I don’t remember why.
To the first century Jews this first passage would have been maybe the single most convincing thing they would read. It is important for us too. We should keep in mind that Jesus was not just some guy God randomly chose. He is the Son of God, a Son of Abraham, and the Son of David. Who better to lead God’s people in … whatever it is that Jesus did?