17 These then are the generations from Abraham to David, fourteen generations; and from David until the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon until the Christ, fourteen generation.
It is said that the older we get the more difficult we find it to remember things. We may remember events from a long time ago, but struggle to remember what happened yesterday, or even a few minutes earlier.
Various ingenious ways are devised to aid our memorisation of things.
It appears that this is what Matthew did by dividing the family tree of Jesus into three sections.
1 From Abraham to David. This was approximately from BC 1996 to BC 1085 – 911 years.
2 From David to the captivity in Babylon. Again approximately from BC 1085 to BC 588 – 597 years.
3 From The Babylonian captivity to the birth of Jesus, roughly from BC 588 to BC 4 – 584 years.
In total the number of years from Abraham to the birth of Jesus is calculated as 2092.
Matthew was keen to show that the human family Tree of Jesus began with Abraham, the man whom God chose to be the father of the nation, and the man through whom all the families on earth would be blessed:
“I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you” – Genesis 12.3 (NLT).
Paul took up this theme when he describes all who accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour as the true children of Abraham, through Jesus:
And so it is: All who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith – Galatians 3.9 (NLT).
The list of names in the family tree of Jesus may seem uninteresting, and uninspiring, but it is given specifically so that the Jews of the first century might see the validity of the family tree of Jesus. He divided it up in such a way as they would be able to remember it.
The great aid that Jesus has given to us to aid our memory is the breaking of bread. He said:
19 Taking a loaf of bread and giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying: “This is My body given for your sake; you must do this in My remembrance”.
20 And, after the meal, He took the cup in the same way, saying: “This is the cup of the new covenant in My blood which is being poured out on your behalf” – Luke 22.19-20.
This is an amazing way for us to remember God’s blessing to us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.