THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS
December 17, 2011
Today’s gospel: Matthew 1:1-17
Every year this passage in Matthew on the genealogy of Jesus
is read. The total number of generations (Mt 1:17) is 14 +
14 + 14 = 42, right?
time I decided to actually count it. So from Abraham to David
is 14. From David to the Babylonian exile (Jechoniah) is 15.
From Jechoniah to Jesus is 14. So 14 + 15 + 14 = 43.
David and Jechoniah are double-counted. So 43 - 2 = 41.
it 42, 43 or 41?
None of the above, because it is actually more. The genealogy
is not strict history. The first set of generations is accurate
(after the patriarchs, see the next generations in Ruth 4:18-22).
The second set of generations, however, omitted Ahaziah, Joash
and Amaziah (or was it Joash, Amaziah and Azariah?) and also
Jehoiakim (see 1 Chronicles 3:10-16). Then, for the third
set of generations, 1 Chronicles 3:17ff mentions only Jeconiah,
Shealtiel and Zerubbabel and from there the lineage to Abiud
and following is lost (not in any Old Testament list).
list is actually about salvation history. The promise to Abraham
(heading the first set of generations) is being fulfilled
(Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18). The promise to David (heading the
second set of generations) is being fulfilled (2 Samuel 7:8-16).
How about Jechoniah (heading the third set of generations)?
From the Babylonian captivity, God promises the restoration
of Israel (Jeremiah 27:22; 28:4; 29:10-14). Jesus is the fulfillment
of God's promises in the Old Testament.
But God is not done with salvation history. The fullness of
salvation comes with the return of Jesus in glory, where we
can finally enter into our eternal reward in heaven. In the
meantime, people are still being lost. Jesus has already won
salvation for all, but they need to accept that salvation
through repentance and faith in him.
can that happen? It happens when people are sent by God to
preach the good news, people hear and believe and call upon
the name of the Lord, thus they are saved (Rom 10:13-15a).
Those who are sent are all Christ’s disciples, including
ourselves. Or ourselves as CFC-FFL even more so, because we
belong to an evangelistic and missionary community, whose
reason for existence is to help people meet Christ, live Christ
(discipleship and holiness) and share Christ (become evangelizers
The history of salvation is still being written. There were
generations before Jesus, and there are generations after
in Matthew’s list are unknown to us. May you continue
to do your work even in anonymity and without looking to earthly
in Matthew’s list are people whom some today might not
think worthy to be in Jesus’ genealogy. There were Tamar
the harlot, David the adulterer and murderer, and Solomon
who turned to strange gods. We too are unworthy, being sinners.
But God extends to us His forgiveness, and still chooses to
use us as His instruments. May you respond with gratitude
and humility to God’s call.
So go and do your share in bringing God’s salvation
to others. I pray that your name, and those of your lineage,
will be included among the generations that will be part of
God’s wonderful work.