What Does Matthew 1:1 Mean?

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Matthew 1:1(NASB)

Verse of the Day

From the very first verse in Matthew's Gospel to the closing statement in John's Apocalypse, the focal figure of the New Testament is Jesus Christ... and the thrilling testimony is salvation by grace through faith to all who believe. From the opening verse of his Gospel, Matthew begins to open our understanding that Jesus Christ is the promised Seed of Abraham through Whom all the families of the earth will be blessed. 

Matthew begins his Gospel with Christ's genealogy, which traces His ancestry back many centuries. He starts by rattling off a long list of Jesus' descendants, taking us back over centuries of time - to Solomon and David - to Jacob and Abraham. Matthew opens his book with the words, "This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham."

Although this catalogue of forebears, which includes some difficult to pronounce names, may appear to be rather meaningless or somewhat superfluous, it date-stamps legitimacy on the authority, authenticity, and ancestry of Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary who was married to Joseph, the carpenter.

There are two chronologies of Jesus Christ's ancestry. The Gospel of Luke takes the lineage of Jesus back through David and Abraham to, "Adam, the son of God," while Matthew's genealogy places its foundational root firmly in Israel - the chosen people of God.

It was through the nation of Israel that the promised Messiah was to be born; it was Israel that was promised, "a Star would come forth out of Jacob, and a Ruler would rise out of Israel," and it was from Abraham, the patriarch of Israel, that Matthew begins to list Christ's Jewish ancestry.

The significance of David and Abraham being the two identifying descendants of Christ are unprecedented, in this opening verse of New Testament Scripture. They are two of the greatest patriarchs of Israel.

Unless Christ is able to be traced back as the promised Seed of Abraham, through the royal line of King David, every other prophecy of His first and second comings would be null and void.

Christ was certainly to be the Seed of the woman as promised to Adam in the idyllic garden, but His ancestry must also be traced through Abraham's promised Seed, and through the royal line of David, Israel's great shepherd-king.

Matthew traces Jesus' Jewish genealogy, His royal line through David and Solomon, to Joseph, the husband of Mary. Joseph was chosen by God to be the adoptive father of Jesus, the Son of God, for we read, "and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, to whom was born Jesus, Who is called Christ."

Luke's lineage, however, brings us from David through Heli - the father of Mary - who was married to Joseph the carpenter. The alternative but equally legitimate lineage, traced by Luke, starts with Adam, the first created man. We see Christ's ancestry being traced through Abraham to Nathan - a second son of the great king David, rather than King Solomon - his son and heir.

Matthew tells us that Jesus was of the house of David and also of the lineage of David. So Matthew's Gospel authenticates both Christ's legal right to the throne, as well as His ancestral connection. Although the lineage of Christ as a descendent of David was certainly evident in both Matthew and Luke's genealogies, only Matthew is able to provide the legal status for Jesus to be anointed as the legitimate King of Israel.

Like her husband Joseph, Mary was indeed a true blood descendent of the line of David, as the prophets foretold, but Jewish law dictated that the legal right to the throne of David, must pass through the father to the son. Through Joseph, His adoptive father, Jesus could legitimately claim to be the prophesied King of Israel. 

Mary was a virgin when she conceived the Lord Jesus. However, Joseph took Mary to be his lawfully wedded wife and in so doing, Jesus became Joseph's lawfully adopted son. The marriage union of Mary and Joseph gave legitimacy to Christ's claim to be Israel's Messiah-King.

JESUS - the unique Son of the living God was born into the human race as Jesus - the immaculately conceived Son of Man. He was, "the son of David and son of Abraham," Who was born of Mary and gained regal legitimacy through Joseph. The ways of God are beyond our understanding but His plans and purposes are perfect.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, as I read Your Word and consider the truths that it contains, I see that Your ways are so much greater than man can imagine. You gave Your Son to be born as Son of Man - just as the prophets of old foretold. Thank You that Your plans and purposes, which were made in eternity past, can never be changed and that one day Jesus is returning as King of kings, to sit on the throne of David, where He will reign in righteousness, and rule in justice. Thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.

Choose a Verse from Matthew 1