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This is the story of Jesus the Son of David, the Anointed One, as told by Matthew, a disciple of the Lord. Now this account has been recorded for all those children of Abraham who have become followers of the true heir of the line of David so that they may know in whom they have believed. Because of the common Jewish heritage, Jesus of Nazareth can be understood—His miraculous healings, countless teachings filled with parables, righteous life, and lineage traced back to Abraham—as the One the prophets have spoken of since the early days.

This same Jesus is the One whom the Jews have been waiting for all these years. From the time when John was ritually cleansing people through baptism in the Jordan, as a sign of rethinking their lives of sin, to the wonderfully inspired teaching on the mountain in Galilee, throughout His parables, in His horrible death, and after His marvelous resurrection just days later, Jesus Himself is the King of the kingdom of heaven whom He taught about. There is no one like Jesus. The prophets of old looked for Him, David sang of Him, and Jewish leaders feared Him. He is the great King, the Teacher of wisdom, and the Prophet that Moses said was coming into the world.

The story begins with the lineage that establishes Jesus as the true Son of David.

This is the family history, the genealogy, of Jesus the Anointed, the coming King. You will see in this history that Jesus is descended from King David, and that He is also descended from Abraham.

It begins with Abraham, whom God called into a special, chosen, covenanted relationship, and who was the founding father of the nation of Israel.

Abraham was the father of Isaac; Isaac was the father of Jacob; Jacob was the father of Judah and of Judah’s 11 brothers; Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (and Perez and Zerah’s mother was Tamar);

Tamar was Judah’s widowed daughter-in-law; she dressed up like a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law, all so she could keep this very family line alive.

Perez was the father of Hezron; Hezron was the father of Ram; Ram was the father of Amminadab; Amminadab was the father of Nahshon; Nahshon was the father of Salmon; Salmon was the father of Boaz (and Boaz’s mother was Rahab);

Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute who heroically hid Israelite spies from hostile authorities who wanted to kill them.

Boaz was the father of Obed (his mother was Ruth, a Moabite woman who converted to the Hebrew faith); Obed was the father of Jesse; and Jesse was the father of David, who was the king of the nation of Israel. David was the father of Solomon (his mother was Bathsheba, and she was married to a man named Uriah);

Solomon’s mother was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, a soldier in David’s army. She was bathing in her courtyard one evening when David spied her and became interested in her. Later Bathsheba got pregnant during an adulterous liaison with David, so David had Uriah killed in battle and then married his widow. David and Bathsheba’s first baby died, but later Bathsheba got pregnant again and gave birth to Solomon.

Solomon was the father of Rehoboam; Rehoboam was the father of Abijah; Abijah was the father of Asa; Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat; Jehoshaphat was the father of Joram; Joram was the father of Uzziah; Uzziah was the father of Jotham; Jotham was the father of Ahaz; Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah; 10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh; Manasseh was the father of Amon; Amon was the father of Josiah; 11 Josiah was the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, and Josiah’s family lived at the time when God’s chosen people of Israel were deported from the promised land to Babylon.

12 After the deportation to Babylon, Jeconiah had a son, Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel; 13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud; Abiud was the father of Eliakim; Eliakim was the father of Azor; 14 Azor was the father of Zadok; Zadok was the father of Achim; Achim was the father of Eliud; 15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar; Eleazar was the father of Matthan; Matthan was the father of Jacob; 16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, who married a woman named Mary. It was Mary who gave birth to Jesus, and it is Jesus who is the Savior, the Anointed One.

17 Abraham and David were linked with 14 generations, 14 generations link David to the Babylonian exile, and 14 more take us from the exile to the birth of the Anointed.

This long genealogy is given for a good reason: to show how this Jesus fulfills the prophecies that tell us the Anointed One will be a descendant of Abraham and of David.

Some of the women in Jesus’ line are given to show how God is gracious to everyone, even to prostitutes and adulterers. Because some of the women listed weren’t Israelites, but were strangers and foreigners, they foreshadow all the foreigners God will adopt into His church through Jesus. Some of the children in God’s family are conceived under strange circumstances (like Tamar’s twins being conceived as she played the harlot, and like King Solomon being born to adulterous parents). Now that it has been established this is an unusual family, what happens next shouldn’t be a surprise—the conception of a baby under very strange circumstances.

18 So here, finally, is the story of the birth of Jesus the Anointed[a] (it is quite a remarkable story):

Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, son of David. They hadn’t married. And yet, some time well before their wedding date, Mary learned that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, because he was kind and upstanding and honorable, wanted to spare Mary shame. He did not wish to cause her more embarrassment than necessary.

This is remarkable, because Mary has never had sex. She and Joseph have not even spent very much time alone, but they are pledged to each other and their wedding feast has been planned.

She has never even kissed a man. She is a virgin, yet she is pregnant. Miraculous! On the other hand, Joseph suspects that Mary has cheated on him and had sex with another man. He knows he will have to break their engagement, but he decides to do this quietly. Mary understands that it is God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, who has made her pregnant.

20 Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream.

Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else—rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonderworking of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus, which means “the Lord saves, because this Jesus is the person who will save all of His people from sin.

24 Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife 25 (though he did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born). And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Savior.[b]

22 Years and years ago, Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, foretold the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus:

23     A virgin will conceive and bear a Son,
        and His name will be Immanuel

(which is a Hebrew name that means “God with us”).[c]

Footnotes

  1. 1:18 “Christ” and “Messiah” are translated as “Anointed” or “the Anointed One.”
  2. 1:25 Verses 24 and 25 have been moved before verse 22 to help the reader understand the continuity of the passage.
  3. 1:23 Isaiah 7:14