The Scriptorium

Son of Abraham

Jesus fulfilled the promises to Abraham. Matthew 1.1-6

Matthew 1: Immanuel (2)

Pray Psalm 105.1-7.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
O seed of Abraham His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the LORD our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.

Sing joyously Psalm 105.1-7.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Give thanks unto the Lord Most High; call on His Name, before Him cry!
Make known His deeds in every land; sing praise for all the works of His hand.

Glory in God, rejoice in heart, all you who seek His holy part.
Him and His strength and presence seek; His works proclaim, His judgments speak.

You holy children of Abraham, You chosen ones of Jacob, stand!
He is our Lord, of wondrous worth; His judgments are in all the earth.

Read Matthew 1.1-6

Prepare.
1. Three women are mentioned in this part of Jesus’ genealogy. Can you find them?

2. This genealogy bridges from Abraham to David. What significant events in Israel’s history are encapsulated in this list of names?

Meditate.
Matthew wanted to establish that Jesus is the heir to the promises God made to Abraham. But He is more than the lawful heir of those promises; He is their complete fulfillment. The names “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” appear frequently together in Scripture, as a kind of trinity establishing the certainty of God’s promises (cf. Ex. 2.24; 3.6; etc.; Lev. 26.42; Num. 32.11; 2 Kgs. 13.23; and in Matthew’s gospel, 8.11 and 22.32; plus dozens of other occurrences throughout the Bible). In a certain sense, we might say these three incarnate the promises of God, and thus they are a type of the Seed of the woman (Gen. 3.15) Who became incarnate in Jesus.

This genealogy contains the names of three women, all Gentiles: Tamar (v. 3), Rahab (v. 5), and Ruth (v. 5). By incorporating these women into the genealogy of Jesus – a departure from standard genealogical practice, which typically traced lineages through men only – Matthew planted two seeds that would grow from Jesus’ ministry: the incorporation of Gentiles into the covenant as co-heirs of the promises of Abraham (cf. Rom. 4.16-18); and the establishing of women as equal heirs with men of that which Jesus accomplished (cf. Gal. 3.7-9, 26-29). Here, right at the beginning of his gospel, Matthew threw wide the door of God’s promises to welcome those who for centuries had been regarded as second-class citizens. Reading these verses would have popped the ideas of Jews and caused the hearts of women and Gentiles to leap for joy.

In these verses Matthew also signaled that his gospel would rely extensively on the Old Testament – although not without comment and clarification. Verses 3-6 are an exact quote of Ruth 4.18-22, with the exception that Matthew inserted the names of Rahab and Ruth, because he understood the implications of Immanuel’s coming, and he wanted to prepare his readers from the beginning for the broad scope of the Good News he would report. We recall that, at the end of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus commissioned women and men to make all the nations disciples (Matt. 28).

Here is the seed that sprouted to bloom in the Great Commission, and has been bearing fruit for 2,000 years.

Reflect.
1. What can we learn from these verses about the nature of God’s covenant?

2. How does Matthew teach us to read and understand the Old Testament?

3. Why is it important that we understand that Jesus is heir to the promises made to Abraham (Gen. 12.1-3)?

Abraham was the father of the faithful, and when God wished him to be an example for the virtuous, he said to him, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
So that all who should wish to be the sons of Abraham might know how to receive that living land of promise, it was written, “I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Anonymous (date unknown),Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 1

Thank You, Lord, that in Jesus Christ I am an heir to Your precious and very great promises. Help me to lay hold on those promises today as I…

Pray Psalm 105.8-11, 42-45.
Christ fulfills all the covenant promises God made to Abraham, and we are the offspring of Abraham, and heirs of the promises in Him. Give thanks and praise to God for Jesus, and seek His direction for laying hold on the promises today.

Sing Psalm 105.8-11, 26-45.
Psalm 105.8-11, 26-45  (Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
He will His covenant faithfully guard – His oath, the promise of His Word.
That which He to our fathers swore, He will perform forevermore!

He brought His people from Egypt alive, and made their joy and song revive.
He made the nations’ land their own, and all the wealth that they had known.

To them He granted the promised land, the portion of His gracious hand.
Though they were few, and wandered far, He kept them close within His heart.

So let us all in our Savior confide, and in His holy Law abide.
Let us observe His glorious Word, and praise our sovereign, faithful Lord!

T. M. Moore

The Gospel of Matthew will help us grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Two companion books can supplement our study of Matthew. To Know Him examines what it means to belong to Jesus and to love and serve Him (click here), while Be Thou My Vision enables us to gain an even larger perspective on Jesus (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore