1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. 4 Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon.
The Gospel According to Matthew is the first of four biographies of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Portraying Jesus as the promised King, the Messiah of the Jewish people, and Savior of the world, this book is rich in prophetic fulfillment. Being Jewish in flavor, it begins with His all-important genealogy. (Note the term “Messiah” is a Hebrew word, the translation of which is “Christ” in the Greek language – both words mean “anointed one.” English translations vary over which term is used.)
For the Jews, genealogy was a source of authenticity, establishing one’s tribal connection and what great historical personage might be claimed in one’s ancestry. In the first four verses, Jesus is linked to two of the three greatest names in Jewish history, namely Abraham and David (Moses being the third). The first, the father of the Jewish nation, provided the epitome of faith, and the second, the greatest king of the monarchy, was the supreme model of godly loyalty.
Also included, however, are those of less admirable character, like Tamar, a direct ancestor of our Lord. She was the widowed daughter-in-law of Judah (one of the 12 sons of Jacob and thus the patriarch of the tribe named after him). After her husband had died leaving her childless, she posed as a prostitute to trick her father-in-law into impregnating her. Judah (unaware of her identity) falls for the ruse and the result was two children, one of whom was Perez (verse 3) through whom God ultimately brought Jesus into the world! This is one of a number of “blemishes” in the ancestral line from Abraham down to Christ. While most would want to avoid such associations in their backgrounds, the Lord Jesus Christ is not ashamed of connecting with “sinners.” In fact, He was characteristically called “a friend of sinners” (Matt 11:19). The writer of the book of Hebrews points out that He is not ashamed to call anyone “brother” who comes to Him by faith (Heb 2:11).
Thank you Lord that even though I am a sinner, You are not ashamed to associate with me and call me friend (John 15:14) and brother.