Who Is Jesus?

December 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

The first 17 verses of the first chapter in the Gospel of Matthew does not make for the most exciting reading material.  It is a long list of names in Jesus’ genealogy leading up to Jesus’ birth narrative that starts in verse 18.  Matthew’s list is not even complete with quite a number of omissions occurring, and it differs significantly from the other list provided in the Gospel of Luke.  The reason for the difference with Luke has to do with the different audiences that they were writing for.  While Luke was writing for a Gentile audience, Matthew wrote for a Jewish audience.  That also tells us that the primary purpose with Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus’ genealogy is not historical precision, but to make a theological point to his Jewish audience.  Matthew was concerned to show that Jesus legally descended from David and was therefore a descendant of Judah to whom the messianic kingship was promised.  It was important for Matthew to introduce Jesus to the Jews as part of their very own history.  Luke, on the other hand, starts with Adam to make sure Gentiles understand that even though Jesus is indeed the Son of Abraham and the Son of David, He is also the new Adam who comes to redeem not only Israel but men and women from every tribe and nation.  Who is Jesus for you?  God sent Him to become part of our history so that you and I can understand ourselves as God’s children who became part of God’s family through Christ.

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