There are a number of genealogies in the Bible. In our day we would talk about family trees, it's a similar idea. Often when we come across them we just see them as a list of names and can't wait to get on to the narrative that follows. However it is worth stopping and really looking at these lists to see what God is saying through them. Matthew begins his gospel with Jesus' genealogy tracing his line all the way back to Abraham. Matthew was largely writing to a Jewish audience and was trying to demonstrate that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. He was the descendant of Abraham, through whom all nations would be blessed (Genesis 12) and he was the true Davidic King who would sit on his throne forever (2 Sam 7). I have found great encouragement as i've read this genealogy again. Here are three ways that this list encourages us today.
God keeps his word. When God says he is going to do something he does it. In this passage we see that he kept his covenant and promises to both Abraham and David. His promises to them were fulfilled in greater ways than they could even imagine. What a blessing to know that God keeps his word. He will keep his promises that he has made. He will keep his promise to keep us (John 10 v 28-29). He will keep his promise to never leave us (Heb 13 v 7) and he will keep his promise to return (Rev 1 v 7).
The Gospel is for all people. Included in this genealogy are five women. This would have been uncommon in Matthew's day but these women were used by God and important to him. Two of them were gentiles (non-jews) and three were known for various kinds of immorality (like some of the men here also!). The Gospel is for all people because we all need Jesus. We all need the grace of God. Nothing we have done is beyond his grace. Regardless of who we are or where we are from we can all become his children if we put our trust in him.
Finally, God works in the ordinary. While there were several kings and people of importance in this list, there are also people who we would think of as ordinary. Boaz and Ruth are mentioned. We studied the book of Ruth together as a Church earlier in the year. There we saw in the time of the judges that God was at work in the everyday of these people's lives. Little did they know that through them and from their line God would bring the saviour of the world. How amazing to think that our awesome powerful God does the greatest of things through the seemingly unimportant and powerless.