Jesus is the True Goal of Israel’s History

Matthew presents the family history of Jesus from the time of Abraham to the time of Christ. “So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations” (Matt. 1:17). The family history of Christ is the history of Israel in Davidic lineage.  In other words, Matthew presents Christ as the goal of Israel’s history. In fact, all the events of the OT points to the birth of Christ, the coming of the Messiah.

In v. 1, it literally reads, “the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.”Matthew gets this phrase from Gen. 5:1, where it reads, “the book of the generations of Adam.”In Genesis, the book of the generations of Adam begins with Adam and ends with his grandchildren. But in Matthew, it is the reverse. The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ begins with his grandparents and ends with Christ. In effect, his ancestors looked forward to Christ.

Thus, Matthew sets up Christ as the endpoint of his family history.The family history of Christ is the history of Israel. The history of Israel is the history of salvation. For Matthew, then, Christ is the conclusion of salvation history. Christ is the goal of the salvation history of Israel.

In Genesis, Adam is linked to Noah; and Noah is linked to Abraham.In Matthew, Abraham is linked to Jesus Christ. Thus, the whole history of the human race links Adam to Christ.

The Jews greatly value the history of the Jews.The Jews believed in God’s acts of salvation in the history of Israel. They even believed that the bringing together of a husband and a wife is an act of God.To the Jews, therefore, history is significant.[1] Their history defines their identity.

Similarly, the history of Israel defines the identity of Christ.Christ is the son of David. Christ is the son of Abraham. The history of Israel from Abraham ends with Jesus Christ.

Do you believe in Christ today? Then your faith in Christ is rooted in history—Israelite history. It is rooted in Abraham. It is rooted in David. It is a history of salvation. In Christ, the history of salvation becomes our history, our salvation.

Curt Cizek tells about a Christian conference, where “the presenter spoke about his tour of the Holy Lands in 1998. The tour guide got on the bus, introduced himself as Amnon. He said that he was named after one of King David’s sons.

The presenter said, “You mean the one that assaulted his half-sister Tamar?” . . . They actually hit it off amazingly. Later, they were talking and the presenter asked Amnon how many Jews went through the Exodus.

Amnon said, “We all went through it.”[2]

That is an amazing answer. Amnon wasn’t yet born in the time of Moses. But he said, “We all went through it.” He sees himself as part of the history of his people.

In Christ, the history of salvation becomes our history.This means that our faith is rooted in salvation history. The history of Abraham is your history, your salvation. The history of David is your history—your salvation.The history of Christ is your history—your salvation.


[1] Craig S. Keener, Matthew (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1997), ___.

[2] Curt Cizek, “Tetelestai.” Cited December 21, 2013. Online: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/tetelestai-curt-cizek-sermon-on-jesus-christ-57368.asp

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