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What passages of Scripture were instrumental in leading you to faith in Christ? For some it’s John 3:16, for others it’s one or more passages on the “Romans Road,” for others it’s one of the warnings of hell and judgment, for others it’s the gracious free offer of the Gospel given by Jesus Himself. Few people would include a genealogy. While studying Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, I read the story of a man who did.    

“During a preaching mission in India in 1969, I learned of a young Hindu man who came to Christ by reading the first chapter of Matthew. When asked what there was about the genealogy which led to his conversion, he stated that for the first time he had found a religion which is actually rooted in history in contrast to the mythology of Hinduism and Buddhism. Matthew roots his Gospel in history, beginning with the lineage of the King.” [1]  

How is it that a decidedly Jewish Messiah with a clearly Jewish lineage is accessible to former Hindus in India? Because Jesus is a global king. That’s a message the Apostle Matthew wants us to understand from the beginning of his gospel: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).  

Why does Matthew call Jesus “the son of Abraham?” On the one hand, Matthew is positioning Jesus as a part of Israel’s story. Again, Jesus is a Jewish Messiah with a  clearly Jewish lineage. But remember, God’s plan always was for Abraham to bring hope and blessing to all the nations.  

Genesis 12:1-3—Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  

Genesis 22:18—“…and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed...”

As the son of Abraham, Matthew wants us to know that Jesus is the offspring through whom all the nations will be blessed. The Apostle Paul puts it this way in Galatians 3:16, “Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ.”  

As the son of Abraham, Jesus is the offspring who will bless the nations. The promises to Abraham will reach their fulfillment in Him! Matthew hints at Jesus being a global king in the genealogy as well.  

Most who study Matthew’s record of Jesus’ family tree comment on the four women he mentions. It was not a normal practice to include moms in a family tree, so the fact that Matthew does this four times is significant. But why? Some have suggested it was Matthew highlighting Jesus’ love for the sexual sinner. After all, Tamar dressed like a prostitute to seduce her father-in-law, Rahab was a prostitute, and Bathsheba slept with a man who was not her husband (even if she had little recourse to do anything else. Now of course, Jesus does love sexual sinners. He does extend grace to them and He invites them to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). But the problem with this theory is that there is no evidence that Ruth was anything but chaste in her relationship with Boaz.  

So what unites these four women? Perhaps a better explanation is that these four women may have all been Gentiles. Rahab was a Canaanite from Jericho. Ruth was a Moabite. Bathsheba was married to a Hittite, meaning she was probably a Hittite herself. And although the Bible isn’t explicit that Tamar was a Canaanite, it seems likely that Judah would allow his son to marry a Gentile since he married a Gentile himself.  

Once again we see that “The family from which Jesus comes reveals the family for which He comes.” [2] Jesus comes for men and women. Jesus comes for the sexually promiscuous and the sexually vulnerable. Jesus comes for the Jew and the Gentile. He’s a global king.  

And that’s exactly how Matthew ends his gospel. With a glorious king standing on a mountain saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18b-20).

Long live the King.    


[1] Myron Augsburger, as told by Will Vaus, “The King’s Family Tree,”, September 8, 2015,  

[2] Patrick Schreiner, Matthew, Disciple and Scribe: The First Gospel and Its Portrait of Jesus (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2019), 181.