Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Sermon / Homily on St. Matthew 1:1-17

Beginning and Hope

by Stephen Michaud

Matthew's genealogy teaches us to trust the Lord's plans, to know that even the smallest among us may be useful to advancing the Kingdom of God, and to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

Why does the New Testament start with a list of names?

Matthew's gospel begins with "the book of the beginnings" of Jesus Christ.
Matthew's genealogy shows the golden thread connecting Our Lord, David, Abraham, and ultimately Adam.
Matthew's gospel begins with the affirmation that Jesus Christ is both the son of David, and the son of Abraham.
Matthew's genealogy shows that the time of fulfillment had come

Problems with the genealogy

Gaps: other Biblical genealogies present gaps. Ezra 7:1-5 omits 6 generations of the priesthood. Compare with 1Chr 6:3-15.
Matthew is less interested in chronology than in Christology.
Luke's genealogy is different, ascending rather than descending, and building to Adam. The line of Mary.

Helpfulness of the genealogy.

There are no biblical records of the post-captivity genealogies of the Jews.
Joseph, who is Jesus' legal father, is shown to be a legal descendant of King David.
The list of names that begin the NT show that this Jesus is the descendant of David who is prophesied throughout the OT. He is the Messiah.
The genealogy introduces the unique birth of Christ.

Verse 16: Husband defined by woman, contrast with woman defined by husband in verse 6.
"Of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.": the birth of Christ is defined with respect to Mary alone, not Joseph.

A striking verb change was born...
A striking title: Jesus who is called Christ.

The continuing importance to us of Matthew Chapter One.

The genealogy of the Lord contains the names of people who were not holy and not pure in life, and yet who were of service to the Lord in moving his plan forward in history.
Four women are mentioned before Mary.
Kings Joram, Ahaz, Amon, and Manasseh

The genealogy of the Lord contains the names of people who were unknown (and who remain that way) yet who were useful to the Lord in moving his plan forward in history.
Hezron and Ram; see Romans 16, God does great things through little people, through little churches.

By the time of Christ, Israel was reduced to a small state in the Roman Empire, but God used it to bless the whole world.
The genealogy of Jesus Christ assures us that salvation has come into the world through him.

Matthew's gospel ends with Jesus' royal proclamation of the extent and nature of his kingdom.

See Also:

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for the Sunday Before Christmas (Genealogy of Jesus Christ)

Malankara World Christmas Supplement (additional Sermons, articles, devotionals, etc. on Christmas)

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