Genealogy of Jesus: Why Is It Important?

by Erik Lutz on December 20, 2010; last featured December 10, 2019

Both Matthew and Luke record the genealogy of Jesus. Why was this so important?

And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised (Acts 13:22–23).

In our modern culture—especially in America—many families have little sense of heritage. We may have some family traditions, but most Americans don’t even know the names of their great, great grandparents or care where they lived, what they did, etc. Modern genealogy is primarily reserved for hobbyists. In contrast, genealogies were a deeply integral part of Jewish society at the time of Jesus. Land was inherited based on family lines, and those who could not prove their ancestry in Israel were considered outsiders.

God had reasons for inspiring every part of the Bible—even the genealogy of Jesus.

Because of this difference, modern readers usually skip right over the genealogies in Scripture. The “begats” may not be fascinating reading, but don’t disregard them. God had reasons for inspiring every part of the Bible—even the genealogy of Jesus.

Imagine accurately tracing your ancestry back 4,000 years. As incredible as it sounds, the biblical lineage of Jesus does just that. His genealogy is recorded all the way back to the first man, Adam. This is not an insignificant detail; it is a crucial fulfillment of prophecy. Adam’s sin brought judgment and death into the world, but a Savior was promised—the Seed of the woman who would strike the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). Jesus Christ is the “Last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), the promised Seed of the woman, which Paul summarized:

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. (Romans 5:18).

Jesus is the Savior who was promised throughout history. The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew and in Luke show him as the descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and eventually David—men to whom these prophecies were made. God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his offspring, which was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:7–9,16).

By reading these genealogies, we also see that Jesus was a direct descendent of King David. Jesus' geneaology is also a fulfillment of many Old Testament promises, which today’s passage demonstrates. The promised Messiah would be the descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12–14) and would one day rule on David’s throne (Isaiah 9:6–7).

Jesus Christ has fulfilled these and will eventually fulfill every messianic prophecy in Scripture. He is the promised Messiah—the descendant of Abraham and David, our Savior—who gave His life to redeem us from our sins.

Praise God for his faithfulness in fulfilling all his promises!


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