In the first chapter of Mathew, at the very start of the synoptic Gospels we are confronted with 17 verses worth of names. And it is so easy to skip past these names , and in doing so we would miss out on forty two generations of Gods marvellous working and also we miss out on seeing how each of these individuals were used by God in order to point towards the coming Messiah.
All these verses are in the Bible for a reason as we have it being in 2 Timothy 3 verse 16 :
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”
We can take a look at twelve of the people found in these verses , but rather looking at the life of these people we can instead look at their names , and the meanings of their names.
When we start to look at the names of these people we see that truly there are no coincidences with God.
(In future blogs we might look at each name in more depth)
1. Starting with Abraham
His name means Father of many nations or Father of mercy.
We know that the world and all that it contains were made through Christ (Jhn1:3) , making him the one that these many nations were through.
When we come to see look at Father of Mercy , there are countless examples of the mercy of Jesus in the Scriptures , one of the most prominent and incredible displays of this mercy is when Christ is on the cross being mocked and riled , instead of stepping of the cross and leaving us to our lost eternity , he cries out for mercy for those who mean him harm. (Lk23:24)
2. Moving on to Abrahams grandson Jacob
His name means “ he will take the place (supplant)” Of course this brings to mind Christ replacing us on that cross, and taking our rightful place. But it also speaks of Christ taking the place of the last fallen Adam , to become the new perfect Adam :
“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”- 1 Corinthians 15:21-22
And again in verse 45 :
“Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”;the last Adam became a life-giving spirit”
3. We are now looking at Jacobs great grandson Hezron
In Hosea chapter 14 and verse 7 we have :
“ They shall return and dwell beneath myshadow;
they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.”
This is the result of those that are forgiven by the Lord, by resting in the Lord they are protected and are allowed to bloom and to blossom by his preserving and by his care.
4. From Hezron we can now at his son Ram
The name Ram means to be exalted and to be lifted up. When Christ was lifted up to the right and of his father his ministry did not end . He now intercedes for us , bringing our prayers before God. (Rom8:34)
5. After Ram we then move on to look at Jesse , Ram’s great(x4)grandson.
Jesse’s name simply means ‘Jehovah exists”
The name Jehovah is the great name of God , translated it literally means “ I am who I am” God proclaiming himself to be the source and the originator of all things. Jesus ascribes this name to himself when his identity was questioned , we see this in John 8:58 :
“ Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
6. There is just one generation from Jesse to David
The name David simply means Beloved. We know that Jesus was Gods beloved son, his eternally loved and precious son, love so intense that we simply cannot understand it. They have an eternity of shared love.
7. Again we are just moving down one generation to look at David’s son Solomon
Solomon means peace or peaceable. For the Christian having Christ as Lord is the only and ultimate source of lasting peace. We have this promise of peace given to us from Christ :
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – John 14 verse 27
8. Again one more generation down we have Rehoboam
The name Rehoboam means ‘ freer of the people’, Christ came to “set the captives free” (Luke 4:18) right at the start of his ministry , he reads this part of scripture from Isaiah. He came to set us free from the sins that had shackled us down from birth.
9. We no look at Rehoboams’s great(x6) grandson Ahaz
Ahaz means ‘ Jehovah upholds’ the best example of this applying to Christ is found in Hebrews 1 verse 3 :
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
Here we see Christ , the I Am sustaining the universe by his power. As well as sustaining the universe he upholds everyone of his beloved brothers and sisters.
10. We now take a very big jump up 10 generations from Ahaz , we arrive at Zadok
The name Zadok means righteous and just. We know that on the judgement day it will be Christ that either welcomes us in to heaven or says that he never knew us . This Christ is just and righteous to do this.
11. From Zadok we look at his grandson Eliud
The name Eliud means God’s Majesty.
Looking again at Hebrews 1 verse 3 we see that Jesus sits down with God and shares in his majesty, Jesus shares all the power, glory and majesty of God.
12. From Eliud we move down 5 generations and we finish at Jesus
The name of Jesus needs no explanation , it simply and plainly means ‘God Saves’
For us, our genealogy makes us who we are, but for Christ it could only point to what he would be like.
In these 42 generations we see evidence of Gods plan for the salvation of his people. In the (roughly) 2000 years between Abraham and Jesus , God had his plan. A plan which resulted in this promised Messiah stepping down from his kingdom into our world , being hated and killed on our behalf.
The whole Bible points towards our risen saviour.