Matthew 1


The book Matthew is a bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is a Jewish document aimed at Jewish readers. The book talks about a Jewish Messiah.


The author of this book was beyond a doubt Matthew, an apostle of our Lord, whose name it bears, Matthew 9:9-13 / Matthew 10:3. Matthew, the apostle and the son of Alphaeus, was formerly known as Levi, Mark 2:14. The name Matthew means ‘gift of God’. He was a tax collector in Capernaum before being called by Jesus to follow Jesus, Matthew 9:9 / Luke 5:27-28 / Acts 1:13.

Matthew wrote about Jesus and not about himself and nowhere in the Gospels do we find a word spoken by him. The last mention of him is in Acts 1:13, and the time and manner of his death are unknown.


As to the time of its composition, there is little in the Gospel itself to indicate. It was evidently written before the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew 24:1ff, and sometime after the events, it records. The probability is that it was written between the years A.D. 60 and 65.

The Book

Some suggest that the four faces mentioned in Ezekiel 1:10 and Revelation 4:7, represent Jesus in the four Gospels.

Matthew represents the face of the lion which implies Jesus’ kingship, Jesus is from the line of Judah.

Mark, represents the face of the ox, which implies the servant, service, the serving Jesus.

Luke, represents the face of the man, which implies humanity, Jesus is the Son of Man.

John represents the face of the eagle, which molies Jesus’ deity, Jesus is the Son of God.

Matthew was written for Jews and he uses the words ‘as it is written’ throughout his Gospel. Note the genealogy goes back to Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, Matthew 1:1-17. His point is to remind the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah in fulfilment of the Jewish Law.

Mark is writing to Romans and he simply talks about what Jesus is doing and how busy He is, which is exactly what the Romans were doing building roads etc., they were busy people.

Luke is written for the Greeks and he uses the term, ‘Son of Man’ throughout his Gospel. Notice his genealogy goes back to Adam, his point is that Jesus is for the whole world, Luke 3:23-38.

John is writing to those in Asia and he uses the term ‘Son of God’ throughout his Gospel. His point is to demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ through signs, 8 miracles and 8 ‘I AM’ statements.

The Old Testament is a book of promise and in Matthew’s Gospel, the term ‘fulfilled’ is used 15 times. Matthew uses 129 quotes and allusions to the Old Testament. The Gospel of Matthew is known as the Gospel of the King, it records 20 miracles performed by Jesus, 6 major lessons and 60% of the teachings of Jesus.

The Book Is Divided Into Four Parts

1. Containing the genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus. Matthew 1:1-2:23.

2. The discourses and actions of John the Baptist preparatory to Christ’s public ministry. Matthew 3:1-4:11.

3. The discourses and actions of Christ in Galilee. Matthew 4:12-20:16.

4. The sufferings, death and resurrection of our Lord. Matthew 20:17-28.


The revelation of the King. Matthew 1-10

Rebellion against the King. Matthew 11-13

Retirement of the King. Matthew 14-20

Rejection of the King. Matthew 21-27

The resurrection of the King. Matthew 28

The Text

‘This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.’ Matthew 1:1-17

The Genealogy Of Jesus The Messiah

The reason Matthew starts his account this way is due to the fact that his Jewish readers would place a great deal of emphasis on the genealogy.

Matthew 1:1-17 is parallel with Luke 3:23-38

Matthew 1:3-6 is parallel with Ruth 4:18-22

Matthew 1:7-11 is parallel with 1 Chronicles 3:10-17

Both Matthew and Luke record the genealogy of Jesus, Luke 3:23-38, however, Matthew gives the account of the ancestry of Joseph, the legal and earthly parent of Jesus. Luke records the ancestry of Jesus through the genealogy of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Matthew divides his account of the genealogy of Jesus into three sections.

1. Abraham to David. Matthew 1:1-6.

2. Solomon to the Babylonian captivity. Matthew 1:7-11.

3. The Babylonian captivity to Jesus. Matthew 1:12-16.

Barclay, in his commentary, says the following.

‘In his genealogy, Matthew shows us the royalty of Kingship gained the tragedy of freedom lost. The glory of freedom restored.’

The names are written here show that Jesus is part of history, they also illustrate God’s wonderful grace, hence the mention of women such as Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba.

Matthew shows from the genealogy the barriers have been broken down between the Jew and Gentile, between male and female and between saint and sinner.

Matthew begins by telling us that ‘this is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah,’ 1 Chronicles 1 / 1 Chronicles 2:1-15 / 1 Chronicles 3:1-19 / Ruth 4:18-22. In other words, this gives us the details of the ancestry of Jesus.

The name Jesus is a form of the name ‘Joshua’, which means God is our helper or deliverer or saviour. It was a very common name in Jewish circles and in New Testament times it meant ‘Jehovah is salvation’.

The Hebrew word, ‘Messiah’, is the Greek word Christ, which means ‘anointed’. In other words, Jesus is the Christ or the Messiah who fulfilled all Old Testament prophecies, Luke 24:44.

The term, ‘son of’ refers to a distant relative and so, when one is the ‘son of’ another, ancestors in the lineage can be left out by the chronicler. Cainan is placed between Shelah and Arphaxad in Luke 3:36, but he is left out of the genealogy of Genesis 11.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Jesus was the literal son of David through Mary, a descendant of Nathan, one of David’s sons, as in Luke’s genealogy. Jesus was the legal son and heir of David through King Solomon as in Matthew’s genealogy. He was also the antitypical son of David in that many parallels exist between the life of our Lord and that of King David. Both were born in Bethlehem. David’s struggle with Goliath answers to Christ’s struggle with Satan. In both cases, it was the enemy’s own weapon that was used to destroy him, Hebrews 2:14. Both David and Christ were sent by their father with a message to the brethren. Both were rejected. David was, in a sense, a mediator between the lines of Israel and the Philistines, Christ is the one Mediator between God and man, 1 Timothy 2:5. Matthew considered it of great importance to identify Jesus Christ as the Son of David, a popular designation for the Messiah and he does so in the very first verse of his gospel.’

Jesus was the ‘son of Abraham’ in more ways than one.

1. He was the ‘seed’ of promise, Galatians 3:16.

2. He was the legal son and heir through Isaac, son of the free woman, as distinguished from Ishmael, son of the slave woman, Galatians 4:22-31.

3. He was literally descended from Abraham through Mary and her ancestors.

4. He was the antitype of Isaac. As in the case of David, there are also sharp contrasts between the life of Abraham and that of Christ. Abraham gave up his wife to Abimelech in order to procure his own safety, or so he thought but Jesus gave Himself up to die for His bride, the church, Genesis 20:2 / Ephesians 5:25.

Gill, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Abraham begat Ishmael before Isaac, and others after him, but they are not mentioned because the Messiah was not to spring from any of them, but from Isaac, of whom it is said, ‘In Isaac shall thy seed be called’, Genesis 21:12 and who, as he was a progenitor, so an eminent type of Christ, being Abraham’s only beloved son and particularly in the binding, sacrifice and deliverance of him.’

‘The genealogy of Christ proceeds from Isaac, in the line of Jacob. Isaac begat Esau, as well as Jacob, and they two were twins, but one was loved, and the other hated; wherefore no mention is made of Esau, he had no concern in the Messiah, nor was he to spring from him, but from Jacob, or Israel, by whose name he is sometimes called, Isaiah 49:3.’

‘The lineage of Christ is carried on from Jacob in the line of Judah, the reason of which is, because it was particularly prophesied that the Messiah, Shiloh, the prince and chief ruler, should be of him, Genesis 49:10 / 1 Chronicles 5:2. And it is evident beyond all contradiction, that our Lord sprung from his tribe, Hebrews 7:14. The reason why the brethren of Judah, who were eleven in number, are mentioned, when the brethren of Isaac and Jacob are not, is, because though the Messiah did not spring from them, yet the promise of him was made to the twelve tribes, who all expected him, and to whom he was sent, and came. These made but one body of men, and therefore, though the Messiah came from the tribe of Judah, yet he is said to be of them all, Romans 9:4.’

Tamar is remembered for her having been twice the daughter-in-law of Judah, and later, by means of deception, his wife also, Genesis 38:12-26. Ram is the same as ‘Arni’, as Luke records, Luke 3:33.

Rahab was the Gentile woman who helped the Israelite spies out of the window in Jericho and later became a Jewish proselyte, Joshua 2 / Joshua 6:22-23 / James 2:8-11 / Hebrews 11:31. Ruth was also a Gentile woman who became a Jewish proselyte, Ruth 4.

Notice that Matthew records, ‘David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.’ When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and ordered the murder of her husband Uriah, would be an event the Jews would want to forget, 2 Samuel 11.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It is a marvel, in the providence of God, that this guilty and unfortunate wife of Uriah the Hittite should have found a place in the Lord’s ancestry, however, her first child was not permitted to live. David’s sin with her constitutes one of the saddest events in the Old Testament. Like the two women in Matthew 1:5, she was presumably a Gentile.’

Although Matthew records the names of Joram and Uzziah, he omits the kings Ahaziah, Joash and Amaziah, 2 Kings 8:24 / 1 Chronicles 3:11 / 2 Chronicles 22:1 / 2 Chronicles 22:11 / 2 Chronicles 24:27, between Joram and Uzziah.

The reason for this omission is probably because he wants to keep the continuity of the ‘fourteen generations’, Matthew 1:17. Ezra also omits six names from his genealogy, Ezra 7:1-2 / 1 Chronicles 6:6-11.

Jeconiah was a king of Judah, who is also called Coniah, Jeremiah 22:24 / Jeremiah 22:28, and Jehoiachin, 2 Kings 24 / 1 Chronicles 3.

After this king not one of his seed was to reign legally as a God-anointed king on the literal throne of David in Jerusalem in Palestine as king of Israel, Jeremiah 22:30 / Jeremiah 36:30. Jeconiah was carried into Babylonian captivity in 597 B.C.

The Jews remained in captivity for seventy years and returned to their homeland in three stages. The first group returned in 536 B.C. led by Sheshbazzar, Ezra 1-6, the second group returned in 457 B.C. led by Ezra, Ezra 7-10, and finally, the third group returned in 444 B.C. led by Nehemiah, Nehemiah 1:1-13.

It’s interesting to note that Matthew attributes the birth of Jesus to Mary and not Joseph. This is because Joseph had nothing to do with the conception of Jesus because He was born of the Spirit, Matthew 1:18 / Matthew 1:23.

The reason for using the ‘fourteen generations’ and the omitting of some names, appears to be so that they could easily be memorised by the people, Ezra 7:1-2 / 1 Chronicles 6:6-11.

Joseph Accepts Jesus As His Son

‘This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.’ Matthew 1:18

This verse makes it clear that the birth of Jesus was different from any other Jewish boy.

Spurgeon, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Is he not rightly called Wonderful? Infinite and an infant! Eternal, yet born of a woman! Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman’s breast! Supporting the universe, yet needing to be carried on a mother’s arm! King of Angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph! Heir of all things, and yet the carpenter’s despised son! Wonderful art thou, O Jesus! And that shall be thy name forever?’

There were three steps in a Jewish marriage.

1. Engagement.

2. Betrothal.

This is the ratification of engagement. It could be broken but once entered into was binding. It lasted one year and during that time the couple were known as husband and wife, Matthew 1:19, although they did not have the rights of husband and wife, it could not be terminated in any other way but divorce. Unfaithfulness resulted in death, Deuteronomy 22:13-21.

3. Marriage proper.

Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, and in Jewish culture, this was a civil agreement that was just as binding as marriage itself, Deuteronomy 20:7 / Deuteronomy 22:23-24. Before Mary and Joseph had any sexual relations, she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

At the time Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit, she had never had sexual intercourse, she was a virgin. This was nothing less than a miracle, John 1:1 / John 1:14 / Luke 1:31-35. Mary and Joseph would go on to have children of their own after the birth of Christ, but in a natural way, Matthew 13:55 / Mark 6:3.

‘Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’ Matthew 1:19-20

Joseph, her husband to be, but at this moment not legally married to Mary, was a man who was faithful to the law and when he found out Mary was pregnant, instead of embarrassing her, Deuteronomy 22:23-24, had in mind to ‘divorce’ her quietly. We must note that the word used for divorce here is the Greek word, ‘apoluo’ which means to ‘send away’, Matthew 5:31-32.

The point I’m making is that Mary and Joseph were engaged, not actually married at this point. In the Jewish culture they were as good as married, but still not legally married. He had in mind to ‘send Mary away’, not divorce her because he isn’t actually married to her as yet.

He is a noble character who desired to shield Mary and under those circumstances, he needs to be commended for wanting to do so in the way he wants to do it, Proverbs 11:13. When Joseph was considering sending Mary away, an angel appeared to him, this was possibly Gabriel, Genesis 16:7-9 / Isaiah 63:9 / Daniel 8:16 / Daniel 9:21 / Luke 1:19 / Luke 1:26.

When the angel appeared in his dream, Joseph was obviously afraid and so the angel wanted to calm Joseph’s anxiety. And so, he assured Joseph that God was at work in the conception, Mary wasn’t involved in an adulterous affair. Joseph should now proceed to take Mary as his wife, that is, legally get married to her.

‘She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:21-23

Something to keep in mind is that most people don’t name their children until they know what sex the child is. They didn’t have six-week scans etc, back then like we do today, to find out the sex of a baby before it’s born. Both Mary and Joseph are told not only what sex the child will be but what to name Him, Luke 1:30-33.

The child inside of Mary was a boy and His name was to be Jesus, Matthew 1:1 / Luke 1:31 / Luke 2:21, which means ‘the Lord is salvation’. Jesus wasn’t an unusual name among the Jews, in fact, it was quite common.

But what was unusual was this Jesus’s mission, even before He was born. Most parents have dreams and aspirations for their children, they want them to grow up to do great things. And Mary and Joseph are no exception, however, at this point in time they have no idea just how great this child was going to become.

Because even before Jesus was born, we are told as to why He was coming into the world. Not for secular reasons, not for political reasons but for redemptive reasons, He came to save the world from its sins.

Why did God plan for Jesus to be born like this? Why couldn’t He just shout from the clouds how He wanted people to be saved from their sins? God made the salvation of the world personal, John 3:16, there had to be a sacrifice for sin, 1 John 4:10.

Jesus came with the purpose of dying in our place because it was the only way that we can be saved from our sins and receive forgiveness for our sins, Luke 2:11 / Luke 19:10 / John 1:29 / Acts 4:12 / Acts 5:31 / Acts 13:23.

The prophet in question is the prophet Isaiah, Isaiah 7:14-15. The Son of God was to be born of a virgin, and so He would be the fulfilment of the prophecy we looked at earlier in Genesis 3:15. The reason God came to earth in the form of Jesus is because God wanted to live with us, that’s what Immanuel means, ‘God with us’.

It doesn’t mean God WAS with us or God WILL BE with us, it means God IS WITH us or to use it as Isaiah meant it to be used, God in the flesh. This beautiful prophecy not only reveals the virgin birth but also sets forth the dual nature of Christ. His name means God with us but His diet is that of a man, ‘curds and honey’, Isaiah 7:14-15.

‘When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.’ Matthew 1:24-25

I’m sure the local gossips would have been talking about them both and telling everyone this baby boy looks nothing like his father Joseph.

And I’m sure there would have been neighbours who by doing their calculations, worked out how many months pregnant Mary was and the date Mary and Joseph got married. There were no DNA tests back then but that result would have been interesting.

But Joseph like Mary demonstrated great faith in doing everything God asked them to do, Luke 1:38.

The Catholic Church believe that Mary was a virgin all her life and all her children were miraculously conceived. But notice that Joseph had no sexual relations until AFTER Jesus was born, that word ‘until’ implies that he did afterwards.

And we know he did afterwards because Matthew 13:55-56 / Mark 6:3, gives us the names of four of Jesus’ brothers and even mentions His sisters.

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