Matthew 1

The Word Made Fresh

1Here is the ancestry of Jesus the Christ, a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Abraham:

2Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. 3Judah was the father of twins; Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Aram. 4Aram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. 5Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. 6Jesse was the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon (Uriah’s wife was his mother). 7Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa. 8Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram. Jehoram was the father of Uzziah. 9Uzziah was the father of Jotham. Jotham was the father of Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah. 10Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amon. Amon was the father of Josiah. 11Josiah was the father of Jeconiah and his brothers when they went into exile to Babylon.

12After the exile to Babylon, Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel. 13Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor. 14Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Akim. Akim was the father of Eliud. 15Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob. 16Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Christ.

17So there were fourteen generation from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

18Here is the story of how Jesus came to be born:

His mother Mary was legally engaged to Joseph, but before the wedding she was found to be pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19Joseph, however, was a kind man and did not want to publicly disgrace her, so he decided to quietly end the engagement. 20But before he could act on his decision a messenger from God came to him in a dream. “Joseph,” the messenger said. “Don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The child she carries is the work of the Holy Spirit. 21It’s a boy, and you will name him Jesus because he will save God’s people from their sins.”

22All this took place to bring about what the Lord had promised through the prophet Isaiah: 23“A virgin will give birth to a baby boy, and they will call him ‘Immanuel’” (Immanuel means “God is with us”).

24When Joseph awakened from his dream he proceeded to do what the Lord had told him to do and brought Mary into his home to be his wife. Of course, he did not have sexual relations with her until after she had given birth to a baby boy. Joseph named the baby “Jesus.”


1: The book itself does not claim to be the work of Matthew. It came to be accepted as “the gospel according to Matthew” as it circulated through the church in the early second century. It is important to Matthew’s gospel that Jesus’ lineage be traced to both David (because of the royal, or political, connection) and Abraham (because of the spiritual power of God’s covenant with the Jewish people first established with Abraham).  

2-17: He traces Jesus’ family tree from the past to the present rather than the other way around, as in Luke’s gospel (Luke 3:23-38). The two genealogies do not match, curiously becoming more and more alike the more distant the ancestor. There is no explanation for the disparities other than to say that there was more than one attempt in the early church to give Jesus an impressive pedigree. The formula of 14/14/14 also is a bit off, and the actual number of generations listed from Abraham to David to Jesus is 14/14/13. We don’t know why, other than the possibility that a name got dropped accidentally as the list was copied. In general, we can say that the first section covers the period from the call of Abraham to the establishment of the kingdom of David; the second section covers the period of the Judean monarchy, and the third section covers the period from the Babylonian exile to the birth of Jesus. Of special note is the mention of four women in the otherwise patriarchal record of lineage.

18-25: Matthew skips the angel’s annunciation to Mary and lays out the resulting situation: Mary is found to be pregnant and her betrothed, Joseph, to whom she legally belongs in the betrothal, decides on the lesser of the two solutions — divorce or death. An angel appears to him, however, and straightens him out on the matter: Mary has not violated the terms of their betrothal, God has. Joseph, rather judiciously, decides to go ahead with the marriage. Matthew is careful to note that her virgin status is preserved, insisting that there were no sexual relations between them until after the child was born, making sure we understand that neither Joseph nor any other man is the father of the child.


After centuries of punishing Israel and then reclaiming them again and again, God finally decided to personally enter the picture – as a helpless baby!

God is determined that some of us will be saved. In Matthew we will discover how God has decided to do this.