The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, 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 etc. etc. (Matthew 1:1-2)
Why does the New Testament start with a genealogy? What kind of ‘religious’ book begins with a genealogy? What has ancient lineage got to do with anything? On one level the answer is easy. There is a popular TV show called ‘Who do you think you are?’ The idea is that ‘celebrities’ trace their family tree and discover who some of their ancestors were. In so doing they get a better idea of who they are. In the same way we get a lineage of Jesus because it shows who He really is. Jesus is the rightful King in the line of David. All His genealogical credentials are there and in order. But there’s another reason. When we zoom out a bit and take a bird’s eye view of the Bible it is remarkable that the New Testament starts with a genealogy. Here’s why: the Old Testament ends with a genealogy. The last book of the Jewish Bible is Chronicles and it also begins with a genealogy centred on David the King. But the story of the Old Testament doesn’t end well. Sadly, Chronicles shows the catastrophic failure of David’s line. Chronicles ends the Old Testament telling us there is no King who can usher in God’s reign on earth. This means that the Old Testament is an unfinished story! The purpose of the book of Chronicles is to cry out for the promised Davidic King who will finally establish the Kingdom of God on earth. God still has work to do. The Old Testament is a story desperate for a good ending. Matthew deliberately starts with a genealogy to show us that the story is about to be completed. Jesus Christ, born in the same town as His great ancestor David, and in his line too, is the answer to the Old Testament. This is such good news. First of all, it means Jesus has come to finish God’s unfinished story. This is great news. It means that God finishes what He starts. It means that there is a good ending to the story of earth. This is true even if we have to wait for it. There is a gap of four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments. God is not in a rush. It is also good news because where human rulers fail, even rulers in the notable lineage of David, God steps in with His own Son to succeed. Jesus is the Christ, which means God’s long promised, chosen King. The genealogy of Jesus shows us all this. PRAY and ask God that today you may come under the rule and reign of David’s Greater Son, the One True Rightful Ruler of everything. Trust God that He will finish what He has begun despite human failure.