ByziMom Considers: The Ancestry of Jesus
The Sunday of the Forefathers
From a Mom’s Perspective
Matthew 1:1-25 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.
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. 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. 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 fulfill 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”).
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.
Often I wonder what life will bring to my children; every mother in every age of history probably did and will do the same. As I see the unsettling events of the day rapidly unfolding around me, I worry whether my kids will have what it takes to endure it. I wonder if there will be even more difficulties in the time to come. Will they be prepared as Christians? Will they persevere in the faith? Today’s scripture passage gives us a clue about such things when it speaks of the fourteen generations that pass from Abraham to the Messiah not once but three times. It seems to shout to us 14! 14! 14! I never knew exactly what that was all about but then heard an explanation that intrigued me.
Did you realize that each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a number in the Hebrew written language? The letter Dalet makes the “D” sound and has the value “4”. The letter Vav makes the “V” sound and has the value 6. The Hebrew language doesn’t have vowels as we do in English. They are not written, so if someone wrote David’s name, he would write DVD. Dalet, Vav, Dalet. What numbers do these letters represent? 4, 6, 4. Did you notice that 4+6+4=14? When Matthew pointed out the passage of 14 generations not once but three times, he pointed out that even by His ancestry, Christ was proving to us that He was the promised son of DVD…I mean, David, who would redeem Israel!
Each Nativity Fast, my children and I would do a daily study of the Old Testament scriptures from the creation of the universe to the birth of Christ. We would discuss each of the biblical characters in the story and how their actions and personal traits pointed to the coming of the Christ Child and the salvation of the human race. It gave them comfort to see how God proves to us how He controls our coming and going the orchestration of Christ’s family tree. He plans our very being and every aspect of it, considering all of our decisions, even the difficult ones. He uses our actions and even our mistakes to bring about goodness if we let Him! God crafts each soul over generations to become a unique individual in the location, era, and climate that He has chosen specifically for them.
Even more remarkable is that God not only makes the plan but gives each of us the means to fulfill it. In each moment of the day, God provides us with the opportunity to know Him, show our love for Him by loving those He loves, and serve Him by serving those He loves. When we do this, we fulfill our purpose, and He can work great miracles through us. All we need to do is know it to be so, accept His will, and desire to bring it to completion with His help. He takes care of the rest! So we can be at peace. Our individual mission will be made known to us as we go, day by day, moment by moment. We must pray often and ask for the grace to fulfill our tasks willingly and perfectly. Since He does not like to leave His precious creations all alone and unprotected, we can believe that God will always come to our aid.
In turn, we need not worry whether our children will have what it takes to face the challenges of their era. God has equipped them especially for their unique role in history and has placed their well-crafted souls and bodies in the perfect place and time for them to be exactly who God created them to be.