The Son of Abraham and David
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
Later in this chapter, Matthew accounts the time when Mary (mother of Jesus) was in conception. An angel appears to Joseph (Mary’s betrothed) and says to him, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:20-21).
The name Jesus has a particular importance to it since it means “God saves.” The angel told Joseph to name Him for that very purpose – Jesus was being born to save God’s people from their sins. The name is equivalent to the Hebrew name Jeshua (or Jehoshua). In Hebrew they would say, “Jehovah (Yahweh) saves.”
In Greek, “Jesus the Messiah” actually reads, “Iesous Christos,” which is literally translated “Jesus Christ.” Contrary to some people’s thinking, Christ was not Jesus’ last name. It means as the NASB translates. His name is Jesus, and He is the Christ (or Messiah). The term messiah means, “anointed one.”
In the Old Testament, Israel’s prophets, priests, and kings were anointed. They were messiahs, if you will. However, Jesus was all three. He was prophet, priest, and king. Matthew calls Him “the Messiah” as He is the supreme head and true Messiah. There is no other messiah like Him. In fact, the others were only metaphors of Jesus. They pointed to Him. So the Jews had long expected the Anointed One to come as their great deliverer and monarch.
Jesus is also called, “the son of David.” This is a term familiar to the Jews. It refers to the Davidic Covenant. In 2 Samuel 7:12-13 God says to David, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
The promise points to Jesus. He is the descendant of David and heir to the eternal throne. He is the King of the Jews, the Messianic King. Therefore, since Matthew is showing Jesus’ legal right to the throne by being in the direct lineage of David, he is showing prophecy fulfilled. Jesus, the descendant of David, is the King who will reign on the throne forever.
Lastly, Matthew calls Jesus “the son of Abraham.” This also refers to a promise made in the Old Testament. In Genesis 22:18, God says to Abraham, “In your see all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” Again, it is pointing to Jesus.
To a Jewish reader, these two names would be the two great starting-points of a true genealogy of the promised Messiah. Abraham was the first from whose family it was predicted that the Messiah would come, so David was the last. Together, both descriptions of Jesus affirm Him to be the Christ (the Messiah and King).