I recently began reading the Gospel of Matthew again. If you’re pretty familiar with the Bible, you’ll know that the first chapter begins with this:
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judah and his brethren;And Judah begat Phares and Zara of Tamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;And Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab*; and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth*; and Obed begat Jesse;And Jesse begat David the king*; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Uriah*;And Solomon begat Rehoboam; and Rehoboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon*:And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.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.
Isn’t that cool? I think it is. But for a while I couldn’t figure out why God would put this into the Bible! It kind of seems pointless to just put in a family tree when there are so many things to be said in the Bible and the Bible is so long! Recently I figured it out, mainly by looking at more of the first chapters of Matthew.
If you look at a Bible when it is open to the Book of Matthew, you’ll notice that at some places there are lots of separate shorter paragraphs that are talking about a lot of random things like “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” Those are prophecies that the Messiah was supposed to fulfill that Jesus fulfilled (isn’t that cool, too?).
I’ve thought of two really good reasons that God would put all of this information into the Bible: God had a plan for how His son was going to come to Earth and wanted to prepare man for when He did come, and He wanted to show people both while and after Jesus was on Earth that Jesus was the Messiah.
With both of those reasons in mind, think about this- if you look closely at the genealogy itself, you might recognize a few names, such as Rahab, Ruth, David, and Uriah. Rahab was a heathen woman who was one of the few survivors from the destruction of Jericho in the Book of Joshua; she went from a life of sin to following the Israelites’ God and saved her whole family by hiding Israelite spies. Ruth was another heathen who, when her Jewish husband died, followed her mother-in-law Naomi to Israel and served her until she married another Jewish man Boaz. David was the second king of Israel; he was called ‘a man after God’s own heart’, but he married Bathsheba, the aforenamed wife of Uriah, after he had ordered Uriah to be killed and he already had two other wives.
I think that’s cool, too- how Jesus’ line goes through a lot of famous people in the Bible! Now I told you all that to show you that God had all of this planned out, to show you that even when you may not notice his plans at the time when they are in the working (like most of the Jews in the Bible at the time when Jesus didn’t see his plan) but that they are always there and you should trust God, and because I think that all of this stuff is pretty interesting!