The genealogy that opens Matthew’s Gospel begins with the formula, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). Beginning with Abraham, it ends with Joseph, “the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (Matthew 1:16). Although the subsequent text makes it clear that the infant Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, Joseph accepted full responsibility for Jesus Christ, as illustrated by his formal naming of the baby in Matthew 1:25. This act constituted legal recognition of Jesus as Joseph’s son and helps explain the prominence of Joseph in Matthew’s infancy narrative-as compared to Luke’s, where Mary takes the more central role.
The Matthean genealogy is broken into three sets of fourteen generations. These divisions stretch from Abraham to David, from David to the exile, and from the exile to Jesus Christ. The first of these periods was roughly 750 years, the second 400, and the third 600, making it unlikely that each period actually consisted of fourteen generations. By being selective about which names he included in the list, Matthew was able to stress the significance of the number fourteen, the numerical equivalent of the name David, emphasizing the Gospel theme that Jesus Christ was the rightful son of David.
The emphasis on Jesus’ descent from Abraham suggest another, often overlooked, theme-that Jesus Christ was the seed of Abraham through which all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). In addition to Mary-and rather than the expected four matriarchs of Genesis (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah)-the genealogy surprisingly includes four different women, all with colorful histories: Thamar (Tamar, Genesis 38), Rachab (Rahab, Joshua 2); Ruth (Ruth 2-4); and the wife of Uriah (Bathsheba, 2 Samuel 11-12). These women acted instead of being acted upon. Furthermore, because they were foreigners or outsiders, their positions in the ancestry of Jesus Christ may symbolize that everyone has a part in Christ.
Living out a great season of my life, thanks to Jesus Christ, and two wonderful daughters, a great life's work. Loving this opportunity to share faith online... I'm a single Mom, convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, second-gen Italian, from the East coast originally. Love the fine arts, dance, frozen yogurt, temples, scriptures, writing, jazz, helping others reach their potential, king salmon, ....and not in that order. God is good. I feel it deeply when people have a misconception of Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ, His Son, that lessens or cheapens Them and blinds one's ability to feel His presence or to trust in an ultimately good eternal end to life's circumstances.