Jesus’ Genealogy: Matthew 1:1-17
The genealogy is found in Matthew 1:1-17. Technically, the first verse is actually an introduction or title, in which Matthew summarized his main point, namely, that Jesus is the messianic King of Israel. Matthew 1:1 reads as follows:
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.
From the very beginning, Matthew placed special emphasis on David the King of Israel, and on Abraham the father of the Jewish people.
Following this introductory statement, the genealogy itself begins in verse 2. According to Matthew 1:17, the genealogy is arranged in three segments, each containing fourteen generations. The first began with God’s covenant with Abraham, in which Abraham was promised that his descendants would rule the world.
The second segment begins with King David and with God’s promise to fulfill his covenant with Abraham by establishing David’s dynasty forever. This second segment ends with God’s people being exiled from the Promised Land because of their sin and covenant breaking.
The third segment of the genealogy runs from the exile to the birth of Jesus. Israel had broken God’s covenant and fallen under his covenant curses. But God still intended to bless Israel by fulfilling the promises he had made to Abraham and David. The past kings of Israel had failed. But now the last King of Israel, the one who would fulfill Israel’s destiny, had finally come.
The list of Jesus’ ancestors ends in Matthew 1:16, where we read these words:
Jacob [was] the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ (Matthew 1:16).
In this way, Matthew proved that Jesus had a fully legal claim to David’s throne through his father Joseph.