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What If?Sample

What If?

DAY 1 OF 4

What If Jesus Came From Abraham?

If you have ever dated someone, you know something happens when you meet your partner’s family. Certain mannerisms, sayings, and points of view of your partner begin to make more sense. You see where some of what makes them them came from.

The same is true for the genealogies in Scripture. For us, they can seem like a long list of names that might not seem to carry much meaning, but in the ancient world, your lineage was a big deal. It established your heritage, inheritance, legitimacy and social status in your community, and even your legal rights.

Matthew 1 is the genealogy of Jesus. Of course, it is not an exhaustive list, but is structured the way it is, with the names that are included, for a reason. Matthew began his genealogy by explaining that Jesus is from two of the biggest characters in the Old Testament: Abraham and King David. However, even Adam is implied. How? Well, you could literally translate “an account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ” as “the book of Genesis of Jesus Christ.” Matthew’s genealogy says that what started with Adam and Eve and continued through the covenants God made with humanity, beginning with Abraham, and through the messianic royal line of David, we get Jesus.

Matthew’s genealogy shows us that the Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. His genealogy is broken up into three groups with 14 names each. While it is not an exhaustive list of Jesus’ entire lineage, Matthew structured his genealogy this way to make a point. Seven is a significant number in the Scriptures, representing completeness. Three sets of 14 equals six “sevens” (three times 14 is 42; 42 divided by 7 is 6). Matthew did this to put Jesus in the time of the “seventh” era. The time of total completion had come.

Another reason for groups of 14? Because of how the Hebrew language, the language of the Old Testament, is written. Within the written language of ancient Hebrew, letters are also used as numbers and so each letter is assigned a numerical value. The name of David in Hebrew is “דוד.” The numerical value of the first and third letter “ד” (dalet) is 4. The middle letter “ו” (waw) has a numerical value of 6. Added together, (4+6+4=14) fourteen is the numerical value of the name of “David.”

Matthew structured the genealogy to link Jesus to David both explicitly and in the very literary design of the list. In fact, Matthew wanted to highlight this “14 = David” idea so much that he intentionally left out multiple generations of the line of David (three, to be exact) to make the numbers work.

Another significant feature of Matthew’s genealogy is that it includes 5 women. While this might not seem like a big deal to us, in an ancient patriarchal society it would have been. Since everything legally ran through the father/husband, many in the ancient world would see the inclusion of women in a genealogy as irrelevant, with the exception of including one’s mother. Matthew’s genealogy includes four women, besides Jesus’ mother. Tamar (v3), Rahab (v5), Ruth (v5), Uriah’s wife = Bathsheba (v6). Not only women, but not all of them were even Israelites. Why did Matthew do this?

One thing I think this does is show us that if you don’t think you belong in the family of God, you’re not the only one. Here is the reality; acceptance into God’s family is not based on what you have done, but on what Jesus has done for you. It does not matter where you came from or what has been done to you, Jesus’ lineage includes men and women who made bad decisions at times, yet they were still included in his family tree.

What Matthew has communicated with this genealogy is that if Jesus came from Abraham, his promises are true. It is through the lineage of Abraham leading to Jesus that all the nations can be blessed. No matter what your background might look like, you are invited into the family of God.

Day 2

About this Plan

What If?

In this 4-part devotional, Pastor Dylan Dodson asks, “what if some of the big promises in Scripture are actually true?” This plan will encourage you as you see that Scripture is a unified story that finds its fulfillment...

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We would like to thank New City Church for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: https://www.dylandodson.com/

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