MATTHEW 1:1-17

Bible study method..  methods are good .. The Bible is not a novel.. it needs to be studied, slowly.

The purpose for this podcast : Getting to see Jesus, the living breathing face of God. 

Study can bring you closer to Jesus. 


Time Travel : Journaling.. and then referencing that journal date in my bible in the margin next to the verse…     

The Soap method : scripture observation application prayer

I will be pulling some ideas from my journal.. which will contain be my own observations and some application.. and even some prayers. When I am easily distracted.. sometimes writing out my prayers helps me focus.

Matthew :  who is he ?   Jew.. tax collector .. wealthy .. well educated..  not popular in his Jewish culture… CONTEXT ..  recruited by Jesus.. a disciple aka a student or apprentice  who .. becomes an apostle..  but saying all that.. he was a man and a human…  Like us .. let that sink in..   he is not a mythical being or fictional character in a novel.

Why does the first book of the New Testament bare his name ?   Eye Witness.. He wrote things down.. Journaled.. maybe.. 

What is he trying to do .. ?  Tell The story .. God’s story.. we love story … story is what reaches past our intellect and gets to our hearts.. where the only possibility of real change can take place. Information can and is helpful.. but the real goal in view is transformation our transformation.  As Jesus will say “ you must be born again “ .. a metaphor or way of speaking in word picture to say .. your old way of living will cease .. it will be in the past.. you will begin your life over again.. this time with Me as your savior and friend, your Father and God. 

So what’s with the family history..?     A game I played as a kid in the back of my grandfathers car. Connecting the dots..  historical context.. 

Matthew is going to make a point .. he is going to remind his audience.. mostly Jews.. about their heritage  their story.. and God’s plan. Then he is going to show them how Jesus completes that plan.. and completes us at the same time. 

We are in this story as well..   if your eyes are open to see it.. you will see yourself. The problems of men and women from the first century are no different ours.. We are all created in the image of God .. and He called that good !  At our foundation.. we are good but we are a lot like a beautiful mountain stream that has become polluted and toxic in many ways.  Jesus promises to restore us to the pure and clean way we were created to be. 

As you will notice, Jesus doesn’t teach much in the way of exact practical does and don’t. He uses metaphor and parable and analogy to teach a principle which is then able to applied to real life situations that we all encounter in our own human experience. 

Matthew is going to give us the background context.

For the most part, I want avoid complex and unfamiliar words from the commentaries i study but there is one for sure I want to use .. it’s the word. : pericope .. it refers to an extracted section of scripture that has a well defined topic or relevance. Almost all of the commentaries I read are built around the study of a specific pericope. 

The first pericope in Matthew contains verses 1 through 17.   Commentators like to take the liberty of giving their own titles to these pericope. Eugene Peterson calls this one. : The family Tree of Jesus Christ. William Barclay called it : The Lineage of the King. The ESV translation calls it : The Genealogy of Jesus Christ. I call it : The upside Down Kingdom.

These pericope or well defined sections are a great way to study. You can park there for as long as it takes for you to fully understand what it says and what it has to say directly to you.  Remembering again.. the point isn’t as much to know what it says.. but to let it speak to you. 

Ok here we go..  ( read 1-17 ) from the message interpretation. 

“The family tree of Jesus Christ, David’s son, Abraham’s son:

Abraham had Isaac, Isaac had Jacob, Jacob had Judah and his brothers, Judah had Perez and Zerah (the mother was Tamar), Perez had Hezron, Hezron had Aram, Aram had Amminadab, Amminadab had Nahshon, Nahshon had Salmon, Salmon had Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Boaz had Obed (Ruth was the mother), Obed had Jesse, Jesse had David, and David became king. David had Solomon (Uriah’s wife was the mother), Solomon had Rehoboam, Rehoboam had Abijah, Abijah had Asa, Asa had Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat had Joram, Joram had Uzziah, Uzziah had Jotham, Jotham had Ahaz, Ahaz had Hezekiah, Hezekiah had Manasseh, Manasseh had Amon, Amon had Josiah, Josiah had Jehoiachin and his brothers, and then the people were taken into the Babylonian exile.

When the Babylonian exile ended, Jeconiah had Shealtiel, Shealtiel had Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel had Abiud, Abiud had Eliakim, Eliakim had Azor, Azor had Zadok, Zadok had Achim, Achim had Eliud, Eliud had Eleazar, Eleazar had Matthan, Matthan had Jacob, Jacob had Joseph, Mary’s husband, the Mary who gave birth to Jesus, the Jesus who was called Christ.

There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, another fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and yet another fourteen from the Babylonian exile to Christ.”

Matthew 1:1-17 MSG … the Jews are interested in genealogy .. a famous Jewish historian named Josephus began his own autobiography with his pedigree. Matthew must agreed. The book starts with scandal.. Abraham has Isaac.. what about Ishmael ? The half brother from a fling Abraham had with the maid..?

Jacob steals his brothers birth rite.. using deception at his mother’s recommendation..

Tamar pretends to be a prostitute.. to sleep with and get pregnant by the father in law..?

Rahab was a prostitute..

David.. well there was this thing with.. Bathsheba.. a bath tub .. and her husband he murdered..  more scandal ..

So the biblical hall of fame starts with this.. 

It would appear that God’s plan includes real people doing all the normal stuff history has recorded. The list is pretty complete.  A version of this is on TV pretty much every evening either in the news or programming..

The individual stories are all detailed in the Old Testament.. and they serve a purpose. They are all pointing to something.. someone. His name is Jesus.. God is using the circumstances of the world in an elaborate plan to reclaim his lost children. Us. 

To the Jews reading this.. they would have gotten the message loud and clear. This was their history.. their heritage.. their nation .. their family. They were living in the context. .. we do not. If you are an American.. you likely have a similar experience to theirs by just hearing the name Christopher Columbus, George Washington or Martin Luther King. 

A single name brings a flood of understanding. Context and perspective are everything. Moving forward we will see things are never exactly what they appear to be.

So in a way, this genealogy is saying to the Jews..the story isn’t over.. here is a new addition, the original promise made to Abraham so long ago has arrived. In 17 verses, he brings them up to speed.

Some of my journal observations : 

Out of chaos.. God brings order..  out of what looks like a completely dysfunctional family tree.. comes Jesus..  This gives me hope. For myself.. my family, friends and the world at large.. There is certainly enough chaos around for God to work with.. (that’s supposed to be funny.) 

Sometimes life is like a hot sticky spilled syrup can.. impossible to clean up.. or so it would seem.. then Jesus enters the picture.. and everything changes.

Matthew did not hide from the messiness of life.. he put it right out there.. He was called to be a witness of what he saw. What he saw was Jesus ! And that changed everything and every one around him. Matthew got a glimpse behind the curtain ( another metaphor that does not need a lot of explanation to most Americans ).. and is this that not what we all need and are looking for ?  CS Lewis was quoted to say : “does not the hunger in our bellies prove the existence of food. “  

So the fight to see past the cultural and historical boundaries is worth it. You wont find the kind of nourishment your soul craves without a little intensional effort. 

The commentaries I have gotten have really helped to open the door to understanding the culture, the history and the real meaning of words often misunderstood.

My prayer for you and myself is that our eyes and ears be open to hear what the Spirit of God is wanting to teach us.. and to be changed internally by that knowing. 

Thanks for listening. If this was helpful to you, share it with a friend. I hope to do this as often as I can. You can find links, notes and references on the website :

I am Gene.. and you’ve been listening to COMMON MAN COMMENTARY.