12.6.20 Sunday School

Unit 1: The Beginning of a Call

Called through Heritage • MATTHEW 1:1–17; HEBREWS 1 | Printed Text • MATTHEW 1:1–6, 16–17; HEBREWS 1:1–5 | Devotional Reading • PSALM 102:12–22

By the end of this lesson, we will GRASP the significance of Jesus’ earthly heritage and His heavenly origins, WONDER at the depth and scope of God’s eternal plan to bring salvation through Jesus, and WORSHIP Jesus as God’s definitive word to humanity.


In Focus
Lydia loved to study her family genealogy. She found it so interesting to learn about the different people in her
past. Connecting with her history gave her a stronger sense of who she was on many levels. As a result of her
genealogy research, Lydia discovered why she couldn’t settle down. Like many of her ancestors, she shared an
inherent need to be free. Lydia didn’t think “commitment” would ever be part of her vocabulary.
One thing Lydia didn’t have in common with the people in her past was faith in God. She couldn’t even commit
to the people in her life. How could she commit to a God she couldn’t even see? Joe was probably the closest to
a best friend that Lydia had ever had. He was a Christian and had witnessed to Lydia on several occasions, but
she was a hard case. Joe was aware of her interest in genealogies, so he challenged Lydia.
Joe told her, “If you research the genealogy of Jesus and still come to the conclusion that He’s not really the
Messiah, then I’ll never bother you about your unbelief again.” Lydia accepted the challenge. Two weeks into
her research, she accepted Jesus as her personal Savior and Lord. Ironically, Lydia discovered that real freedom
requires commitment. By committing her life to Jesus, she was freed from the chains of sin. Now, Lydia tells
people how her love of genealogy led her to Christ.
In today’s study, researching the ancestry of Jesus will bless you, too, with a closer walk with Him. What
meaning does your family history hold for you today?

Focal Verses (KJV)
Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying
away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he
made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the
word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I
will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
The People, Places, and Times
Joseph and Mary. Both of Jesus’ earthly parents were descendants of King David. Joseph was Jesus’ earthly
and legal father— though not His biological father—and was engaged to Mary when Jesus was conceived by
the Holy Spirit. Joseph was a righteous man (Matthew 1:19), meaning he had spiritual discernment and was
sensitive to the guidance of the Lord, regardless of the consequences. Mary was chosen by God Himself to be
Jesus’ mother—to carry, bear, and raise the Savior of the world. The couple had children together after Jesus’

Genealogical Lists.
Bible genealogies, though cumbersome for the modern reader, are essential for the
worldview of the Bible’s original audiences. The lists let the audience feel the weight of the incredible span of
years through which God has been working out His plan of cultivating a people for Himself. Genealogies also
link Scriptural stories, which can seem far off, with physical, verifiable history. The term “begat” or “fathered”
in Scripture can denote an ancestor, not necessarily a direct, biological parent (1 Kings 15:11; 2 Kings 18:3;
22:2). This is not done in a duplicitous manner to obscure timelines or unsavory relations, but to streamline the
story and highlight the ancestors who are relevant to the author’s purpose.

The Gospels are about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Savior. The Old Testament in its entirety
lays the groundwork for the birth of the Messiah. It is a bridge connecting the humanness of Jesus—the son of
Mary and step-son of Joseph—to the supernatural Christ the King, the Son of God. Delving into the human
genealogy of Christ far surpasses the mystery of uncovering our family ancestry. As we search name by name—
from Abraham, to Boaz, to Solomon—we realize that all the pieces fit together and give us a perfect picture of
The original readers of the Letter to the Hebrews faced a dilemma. As Jews, they practiced Judaism all their
lives. When the apostles and other Christian believers presented the Good News of salvation to them, many
turned to Christ as Lord and Savior. However, some were beginning to wonder how an unknown son of a
carpenter from an obscure village called Nazareth could be greater than their forefathers and prophets like
Moses. These harried believers needed to be reminded of the essential truth of their new faith. The writer of
Hebrews demonstrated that Jesus Christ is superior to all others because He was born of God.

1. Jesus’ Diverse Ancestry (Matthew 1:1–6)
2. Jesus’ Place in History (vv. 16–17)
3. Jesus’ True Heritage (Hebrews 1:1-5)

In Depth
1. Jesus’ Diverse Ancestry (Matthew 1:1–6)
Matthew begins by summarizing that Jesus is descended from Abraham and David. God made a covenant with
Abraham that from his lineage all the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). God also promised David that an
Eternal King would come from his seed (Psalm 89:3–4). This King and global blessing is Jesus Christ.
While establishing Christ as the heir of the covenant and the throne, Matthew’s genealogy also refuses to hide
the sinners and Gentiles in Jesus’ family tree. Tamar resorted to prostitution to force her father-in-law Judah to
fulfill his promise of a child through his family. The twins, Perez and Zerah, were the result of that union and
have their place in Christ’s family (Genesis 38). The Canaanite Rahab was a pagan and perhaps a prostitute
(Joshua 2:11), but heard of the awesome power of God and decided to join God’s people. Rahab’s son Boaz
married another foreigner who became a faithful follower of God, Ruth. Even the great King Solomon was born
from a marriage that began with deceit and murder (2 Samuel 11:2–17).

In what ways has God redeemed the negative parts of your family history and made them into something
beautiful? How has your family included those who were not born into the family?

2. Jesus’ Place in History (vv. 16–17)
While Joseph was the man who reared Jesus, he is not Jesus’ true father. Nevertheless, Jesus was heir to all the
genealogical history of earthly ancestry. Despite what we might see as family “baggage” He “grew in wisdom
and in stature” (Luke 2:52, NLT).
Through the list of his earthly heritage, Matthew grounds Jesus in Jewish history. Abraham was the Father of
the Faith. David was the king of the Promise. The period of the Babylonian exile saw the vast loss of life and
the loss of God’s presence in the Temple. Just as fourteen generations passed between each of these major
events in Jewish history, now fourteen more generations have passed since the exile. In this presentation of
lineage, Matthew shows the progression of God’s plan in salvation history.

Matthew’s genealogy emphasizes the Jewishness of Jesus. How would you present your genealogy to emphasize
your ethnicity? Are you able to trace the genealogy of your faith through those who led you to salvation?

3. Jesus’ True Heritage (Hebrews 1:1-5)
As already mentioned, Joseph is not Jesus’ true father. While Matthew communicates Jesus’ humanness
through His earthly father’s genealogy, the writer of Hebrews affirms Jesus’ divinity through His Heavenly
Father. To support this argument, the author turns to Scripture. He first quotes from a messianic psalm (Psalm
2:7). While this psalm’s promise was already metaphorically fulfilled in the reigns of David and Solomon, the
Promise finds its full, literal completion in Jesus. The second quote likewise is initially, partially fulfilled in
Solomon (2 Samuel 7:14). God’s covenant with David promised that David’s “son” would be an eternal king
over God’s people. Solomon inherited these blessings but ultimately failed to live up to God’s standard. As later
prophesied, David’s “son,” Jesus, demonstrated faithfulness through His life and death. As prophesied, Jesus
inherited the blessings of the Davidic covenant. The idea of inheritance (v. 4) is a key concept in Hebrews.
Since Jesus is the Son of God, He is able to pass an eternal inheritance to those who follow Him. Jesus’
followers become one with Christ and therefore inherit all that Christ inherits.

What would our faith mean if Jesus were not divine?

Search the Scriptures
1. What is significant about each of the women mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy? (Matthew 1:3, 5–6, 16)
2. After completing His sacrifice on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sin, where did Jesus go? (Hebrews 1:4)
3. What are two reasons Jesus is superior to angels? (v. 5)

Discuss the Meaning
Many in the world will challenge your belief in Jesus Christ. They will say He was a great teacher, a good
moral example, but just a man. He is often given the same status as Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, or other
great religious leaders. What would you say to them about who Jesus really is?

Liberating Lesson
Believers today can marvel at the scope of God’s plan—creating a people through Abraham, establishing a
nation through David, and making all humanity a part of both through Jesus. Even if you do not know your
heritage, you can claim this spiritual heritage. Every Christian, no matter their biological parentage, stands on
the spiritual heritage of all our spiritual forefathers from Abraham and Paul, to St. Augustine and Martin Luther
King, Jr.

Application for Activation
Jesus is the culmination of God’s work of bringing salvation to the world through one sinful family line. Jesus is
God’s final and definitive word for humanity. He is our perfect example of living into the great faith heritage
you inherit from your family. He is also our perfect example of rising above the family drama that can hold you
back from fulfilling God’s plan for your life. This week think of one family member who imitated Christ’s
example for you and thank that person (in person or spirit) for helping you in your spiritual walk.

Follow the Spirit
What God wants me to do:
Remember Your Thoughts
Special insights I have learned: