1. In Matthew 1:1, Jesus is introduced as the Messiah (Hebrew) or Christ (Greek), both of which means Anointed One. What does it mean to be anointed?
In the Old Testament, people would pour oil on (anoint) things or persons set aside for God's use. It's interesting to see what was anointed in relation to Jesus' mission and identity.
Exodus 28:41 - After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests.
Exodus 29:36 - Sacrifice a bull each day as a sin offering to make atonement. Purify the altar by making atonement for it, and anoint it to consecrate it.
1 Samuel 10:1 - Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance?
The priest, the altar, and the king are all anointed. This points to Jesus as our priest, sacrifice, and king.
2. We are called Christians, which means "little Christs," or "little Anointed Ones," so in what ways are we anointed?
Like Jesus, we serve as priests, uniting people with God. God has made us part of Jesus' royal family, so we carry out the work of the Kingdom of God. We sacrifice ourselves to God and to others by serving them.
3. In Matthew 1:1, Jesus is identified as the descendant of both Abraham and David before providing the full list of his ancestors. Why are these two men called out as being so significant?
Genesis 12:3 - God tells Abram, later named Abraham, "all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
2 Samuel 7:16 - God tells David, "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before Me; your throne will be established forever."
The Anointed One being the descendant of Abraham and David fulfills God's promise to them. Jesus will be the blessing that was to come through Abraham and the everlasting king that was to come through David.
4. In Matthew 1:17, we read that there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Exile, and fourteen from the Exile to the coming of the Anointed One. What is the significance of pointing out this structure of time?
Galatians 4:4-5 - But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
Revelation 13:8 - the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
1 Peter 1:20 - He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
God has always known and planned when the Anointed One was to come. The structure of the fourteen generations between these major events in Israel's history shows us God's timing.
5. Besides Jesus' male ancestors, Matthew also names five females. What do we know about these women?
Tamar (Matthew 1:3) was a Canaanite woman who was married to one of Judah's sons. God put that son to death because he was wicked. Tamar was then married to Judah's second son to raise up a family for the son who had died. This second son didn't want to be the source of a child who wouldn't legally be his, so he had sex with Tamar but wouldn't impregnate her. God put him to death for his wickedness. Judah was afraid to let his third son marry Tamar, so he sent her away. She then disguised herself as a prostitute, with a veil over her face, and enticed Judah to sleep with her and give her offspring (Genesis 38).
Rahab (Matthew 1:5) was a Canaanite prostitute who agreed to hide the Israelite spies when they were scouting Jericho for an attack. She made them promise to spare her and her family members when they returned (Joshua 2, 6).
Ruth (Matthew 1:5) was a Moabite who married an Israelite. She then converted to worshipping the God of Israel and took care of her mother-in-law after her husband died. Boaz, an Israelite, married Ruth and had children for his dead relative, Ruth's first husband (Book of Ruth).
Uriah's wife (Matthew 1:6) was an Israelite named Bathsheba. King David saw her bathing and sent for her to come to have sex with him. He then tried to cover up his sin by having Uriah, one of his soldiers, killed in battle (2 Samuel 11-12).
Mary (Matthew 1:16) was an Israelite who would have been defamed for having a child not by her husband, Joseph. Many would not believe that she became pregnant miraculously.
6. What can we conclude from Matthew mentioning these women in the genealogy of the Anointed One?
The salvation Jesus brings is for all people, Israelites and non-Israelites, sinners and the obedient.
7. Comparing the genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3, we notice some differences in Jesus' ancestry through Joseph. How can we explain this?
The oldest explanation is that Matthew follows Jesus' biological ancestors, while Luke follows His legal ancestors. Like Judah's sons were supposed to have children for their deceased brother, some of Joseph's other ancestors did the same for their relatives. For example, Jacob was Joseph's biological father, but Heli was his legal father (would have been his father had he not died before being able to become a father).