How is it possible to find leadership that combines the traits we know we need? Leaders who are just but also know how to be merciful, who are wise but know when to act, who understand love but pursue truth. The opening verses of Matthew’s gospel were politically subversive when they were first published because they give the lineage of the final King promised to David’s line. Daringly, Matthew co-opts the opening verses of Genesis 2 to announce that this King is also the beginning of the new creation springing out of the old. He writes of the return of the King, the leader we’ve longed for.
Matthew 1.1-17 | Generations
A new beginning (v1)
A political thriller
A curriculum vitae of the King
– The women
– The legal father (v16)
So, why did Luke do it?
– that you may know the certainty of the things you have heard
– the legal royal line | the blood and inheritance line?
The return of the King
– days of grace
For further thought
Q: If we were a first century Hebrew person who opened up Matthew’s gospel the first two words alone would trouble you deeply. They are a quote from Genesis 2. Matthew is co-opting Genesis to say… here is a new beginning, here is a new creation coming not from outside of the old creation to destroy it but growing from within the old creation. Why has Matthew written this genealogy as a political commentary?
Q: What is the significance of the women (who are Hebrew and non-Hebrew) who are named amongst the Kings in Matthew’s list? What qualified them to be included in the line of the Messiah?
Q: Matthew presents the legal line of Kings and Luke appears to present the legal property line of Joseph – who is the legal father of Jesus (notice the careful way Matthew describes Jesus’ relationship to Joseph). At the time of Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels appearing, the Hebrew lineage records still existed and these two accounts were found to be convincing not contradictory. In smaller communities where cousins were able to marry cousins, is it possible to imagine both records of Jesus’ royal lineage and his legal property rights being acceptable?
Q: When we later read Matthew’s description of Jesus how does he combine all the traits we long for in the best of our leaders? Why do we long for someone who can lead us well?