Mitch, Curtis & Edward Sri. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
“A Royal Son: Genealogy and Birth of Jesus (1:1-25)” Loc. 552-871.
The biblical genealogies serve an important function, not only tracing identity but showing the family’s role in society (Mitch 2010, Loc. 552). Matthew’s tracing of Jesus’ lineage identifies him as the royal heir of the promise to Abraham (Mitch 2010, Loc. 560). Though Jesus was not related to Joseph biologically Joseph’s reception and naming of him made him a legitimate heir (Mitch 2010, Loc. 565). The name “Jesus” indicates divine salvation (Mitch 2010, Loc. 585). As the son of David he is royalty (Mitch 2010, Loc. 596) and as the son of Abraham he is the child of promise (Mitch 2010, Loc. 607). In a reflection on Matthew 1:1, Mitch observes that the Christian calls on the name of Jesus, the royal savior (Mitch 2010, Loc. 616).
In the catalog of Jesus’ lineage, David is featured, with no less than four mentions (Mitch 2010, Loc. 640). Mitch notes that the numeric value of “David” is 14. Matthew may be identifying Jesus as the threefold Davidic heir (Mitch 2010, Loc. 655).
Matthew’s use of women in the genealogy may suggest a confession of association with sinful people, though that characteristic was present in both males and females. It may be a reminder that Jesus redeems people in negative relationships. Mitch views it as more likely that it is a reminder that Jesus redeems people of all nations (Mitch 2010, Loc. 676).
The genealogy clearly brings the reader through positive and negative events in Israel’s history showing that God’s redemption is active even in times of trial (Mitch 2010, Loc. 698). As a culmination of God’s provision, we find Jesus, introduced particularly as the Davidic king (Mitch 2010, Loc. 709). The birth of Jesus brings relief from struggles. “The genealogy helps us to view that story from the divine perspective, for it makes clear that God remained present for his people through Israel’s ordeals . . . “ (Mitch 2010, lLoc. 732).
In Matthew 1:18-25, Mitch again observes that Jesus is identified as the Messiah. The betrothal would indicate a legally binding contract, but the marriage was not accompanied by living together until later (Mitch 2010, Loc. 759). Because betrothed couples were considered married Joseph would be obliged to have a divorce trial since the execution specified in Deuteronomy 22:13-24 was prohibited by Roman law (Mitch 2010, Loc. 770). Joseph’s thought of a private and quiet divorce could show his mercy (Mitch 2010, Loc. 770). Joseph’s response to the angelic messenger shows his willingness to show mercy. Naming the child adopts him formally and makes him legitimately the heir of David (Mitch 2010, Loc. 791). The name very significantly is given because he (not a more distant Yahweh) will save the people, and that he will save them from sin, not from political oppression (Mitch 2010, Loc. 791).
Matthew comments that these events were to fulfill prophecy, citing Isaiah 7:14 (Mitch 2010, Loc. 816). Mitch goes on to discuss Matthew’s use of quotations to remark on fulfillment of prophecy (Mitch 2010, Loc. 826). These signify that “the Old Testament was preparation for Jesus Christ” (Mitch 2010, Loc. 839).
Matthew observes in 1:24-25 that Joseph was obedient in all things. Mitch observes that the statement that Joseph and Mary did not engage in sexual relations “until” Jesus was born does not require that they did so afterward. He uses this idea to defend the Roman Catholic view of Mary’s perpetual virginity (Mitch 2010, Loc. 851).
Mitch concludes that in this passage God’s initiative in providing salvation is affirmed. The same Jesus who comes to Palestine also comes to be with his people today (Mitch 2010, Loc. 861).