The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
When you open a new book, you will see, before the text gets started, a title page. There you find things much like what you already know from the book jacket. You find the name of the author, the publisher, the publishing date, the title, etc. Unless you are needing to look up information for a proper bibliographical citation, you are likely to flip past the title page quickly in order to get to the main text, the reason you bought the book in the first place.
Starting a look at the Gospel According to Matthew, the opening verse rings in my ears. Part of this is because I have been in Genesis for weeks in sermon preparation. Part of the reason is that I have been particularly working through a study of biblical covenants. Though to many this text feels a lot like a book’s title page, it is far richer, far grander than all that.
Labeling this first little section “the book of the genealogy” reminds us of Genesis. The major sections of Genesis are headed with a similar title. We see sections on the sons of Adam, of Noah, of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, and of others. These sections track for us vital information about the people with whom God is working, the people through whom God is building the world and fulfilling his promise. And Matthew is going to show us the person who is the focus and goal of all that history, of all human history.
Jesus is called Christ. The word means anointed. Jesus, a name meaning Yahweh saves, is the Christ, the anointed one, the chosen one, the promised one from God. This is his story.
And we see that Jesus is the son of David and the son of Abraham. There Matthew highlights for us two of the key covenants that God made in the pages of the Old Testament. God told David that a descendant of his would be enthroned as king over the whole world forever. God told Abraham that he would build a nation out of his family, and that he would bless the entire world through Abraham’s offspring. With a bit of biblical knowledge, we know that in the arrival of this Jesus, this Christ, we have the one who fulfills these promises. The king has come. The offspring of Abraham has finally arrived. The king who will bring the blessing of God to the entire world has been born of the family of Abraham just as God has promised us starting in Genesis 12.
What do we do with this little line that sounds like a title page? We praise God. God is faithful. God makes and fulfills promises. God has made a massive set of promises to the world to bring one who will crush the devil (Genesis 3), bless people from every nation (Genesis 12), and reign as king forever (2 Samuel 7). This promised one will also bring the salvation of God to mankind by bringing God’s forgiveness through his own blood (Isaiah 53). That we can read the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the Son of Abraham is a miracle that tells us that God is faithful and that God has fulfilled and will fulfill all his promises.