Matthew 1

1 Genealogy was very important in the organization of Israel. The family groups formed natural divisions within the nation. Family groups were given special positions and functions as commanded by God.

In reference to Jesus, the Old Testament gives many hints that a special Person would be a descendent of Abraham through the tribe of Judah, and a descendent of King David. This Man would have Divine characteristics and would save Israel and people from other nations from the curse of sin. Thus, the primary reason for this genealogy is to establish Jesus as being the rightful descendent of King David, who himself was descended from Abraham.

Abraham was given the promise of having a descendent that would be a blessing to the world. David was promised a descendent that would rule forever. In many prophecies this Descendant is called the "anointed One" (a.k.a. the Messiah or Christ).

2 This genealogy begins with Abraham because he received the original blessing and promise from God. The lineage is traced down through Judah. Though Jacob (a.k.a. Israel) blessed Joseph's sons, Judah became the ruling tribe among his brothers.
3 Tamar's story is told in Gen 38:6-30. Though her life was blemished by scandal, God demonstrates that He can use sinful people to accomplish His plan.

Women were not often included in lineages, but four are mentioned in Jesus' lineage. Two were Gentiles who believed in God, and two were Israelite women.

5 This verse shows that God can use outsiders within his plan. Rahab, a Canaanite, was spared the fate of Jericho because of her faith in God. Ruth was a Moabite that also trusted God. Both these women became part of Israel and part of the royal lineage.
6 The first grouping of ancestors were the patriarchs of the Promise. Beginning with David, we have the kings of the Promise. Matthew leaves out the names of Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, and Johoiakim. He may have done this to make it easier to remember the "fourteen generations" (Mat 1:17).

David was Israel's second and greatest king. He was the prototype of the Messiah who was to come after him. David was a man of God, but his most notorious sin was with Bathsheba who became the mother of Solomon. Despite David's mistakes, God still used him in His plans.

11 After a number of kings, some good, and others bad, Israel's sins had accumulated and led to punishment from God. The Temple and the nation were destroyed by Babylon, and the people were sent into exile. According to Wycliffe, the Jews consider Josiah their last king.
12 The last group of generations was neither a theocracy nor a monarchy. For about 600 years, Israel was ruled by Gentiles. After Jeconiah, none of these other descendants is listed in the Old Testament. However, it would seem natural that the royal lineage would continue to keep their genealogical records. Genealogy was important to all the tribes of Israel because their inheritance depended on being able to prove their lineage.
16 The wording of this verse changes. In the previous verses, it speaks of the descendants coming from the man. Here it changes so that it is clear that Jesus was born of Mary, not Joseph. Mary's lineage is given in Luke 3:23-38. It shows that Mary was a descendant of David, but her lineage does not follow through the royal line. Genetically, Jesus was a descendant of David (although in light of the virgin birth, God obviously created some if not all of Jesus' DNA), but it was His adoption by Joseph that gave Him legal right to David's throne.
17 Actually, there are only 41 names listed. Matthew may have counted David twice, Jeconiah twice, the exile as one, or a name may have been accidentally omitted in an early copy.
18 In those days, the engagement period was as binding as the actual marriage. The difference is that during this time, the couple did not live together, nor did they have sex. Thus, when Mary became pregnant, the implications were scandalous. However, what people could not see was that God was using a unique event (the virgin birth) to do His work.
19 Joseph also concluded that Mary must have been unfaithful to him and had sex with another man. However, he loved Mary and did not want her to be disgraced by a public divorce. The Law of Moses would have had her punished by stoning (Deu 22:20-21), but the Roman authorities of the time held exclusive right to capital punishment (John 18:31).
20 Before Joseph could divorce his fiancGod intervened and told him what was happening. Many times, we do not have all the information we need to make a good decision. We can only take time to think and pray about these things. God will intervene at the appropriate time and keep us from making mistakes. Only very rarely does God appear and speak to us, but when we follow Him with complete obedience, He will lead us the right way.

God is very interested in the family unit. Although Jesus was the Son of God, not the son of Joseph, it was still important that a human father figure be present in the household. It was also important that Mary had a husband to support them. Although Jesus was fully God, He became as helpless as a baby and required the parental support of Mary and Joseph as He grew.

21 Quite frequently in Scripture, a child's name is significant, and will often be a commemoration to an event or a foreshadowing of what is to happen. "Jesus" is the English translation of the Greek translation of the Hebrew name "Joshua." It was a common name, but God specified this name for His Child because He would be the absolute fulfillment of what that name means -- "Jehovah saves."
22 Those who feel that the Old Testament is irrelevant or fanciful should note that God often refers back to it. In fact, the New Testament can not make sense without the Old Testament. When God speaks, He means it, and we should not ignore it. God looks back hundreds of years to words He spoke through His prophet, Isaiah (Isa 7:14). He pronounces that now, the promise will be fulfilled. For the person who has not read the Old Testament, this passage has no meaning.
23 Some Bible critics look at this prophecy in Isaiah and note that the word used for "virgin" simply meant "young woman." They use this argument to claim that Mary did not have to be a virgin to give birth. This is popular among those who either do not believe in God, or would prefer to have a god who is powerless to do this. However, one should note that the Greek word used here means "virgin" as we use it today, that is, a woman who has not had sex during her lifetime. Thus, it was understood that Mary was a virgin when she conceived, and that there was no conflict seen in this translation from the original language.

"God with us" does not mean that God has been absent. He has always been an integral part of His creation. However, the meaning is that God became an actual component within His creation, and limited Himself to the constraints of time and space, like His creation. Truly, this is a profound concept, and God deserves praise for going to such lengths to save us from sin.

24 Joseph obeyed God, although this would make him an object of mocking and ridicule. God's work does not often make us popular or respected in a selfish and self-righteous world.
25 Joseph did not defile Mary's womb by having sex with her until after Jesus was born. From the time of Adam, sin and corruption would pass from mother and father to child. This is not to say that all sex is sin, but that sin is just an inherent part of who we are as descendents of Adam. Some would object, and insist that a baby or and unborn child must be innocent because he has not done anything yet, either good or bad. However, we are each born separated from God simply because of the sinful circumstances of this world. It is our responsibility as we grow and learn to come to acknowledge God and learn to trust Him for our salvation.

Jesus was not to be like other children, though. He was to be a pure sacrifice untainted by sin. Thus, it was necessary to have His conception and birth happen this way. Jesus would remain untouched by sin (both external and internal) for His entire life. Only in this way would He be a sufficient sacrifice for sin.

Joseph remained faithful to the command of God and named his Son Jesus, as commanded.

Joseph's abstinence also lays rest to any question of Jesus' miraculous virgin birth.