Gospel according to Saint Matthew introduces Jesus Christ by a genealogy, where tarting from Abraham this genealogy shows ancestry of Jesus in groups of fourteen generations. The verse 17 of this chapter explains this in following manner: 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.
In order to understand Matthew's genealogy of Jesus it is necessary for us to look at the genealogy of Christ recorded in the Gospel of Saint Luke as well, since the other two Gospels of Saints Mark and John do not have Jesus’ genealogy at all.
The first difference that a reader will immediately notice is that Luke's Gospel has as it were a “reverse genealogy" where he begins from Jesus Christ going back. Unlike Matthew limiting Christ's lineage to Abraham, Luke's genealogy of Christ goes all the way back to Adam. Limiting Christ genealogy to Israelitic descent, Gospel of Saint Matthew has at aim to show how Jesus was connected with the leading recipients of the messianic promises, Abraham and David and the David's royal lineage.
The term “Christ" that is used in the verses 1 and 17 is a translation of the Hebrew “Messiah" which means “Anointed One" applied to the expected representative of God on earth.
Keeping in mind that the audience of Matthew's Gospel were mainly representatives of Judeo-Christian, the aim of the genealogy becomes clear. Matthew's Gospel aimed to present Jesus Christ as expected Messiah promised to the chosen people through the ages. This genealogy also shows how God continued to be faithful to his people by placing his the hope in the midsts of all stages of Israel's history, faith of patriarchs (Abraham), unfaithfulness (David) and struggle (Deportation to Babylon).
Eugenia Brown is a writer for Everything Catholic! - website that promotes products from Ingatius Press, a Catholic Publisher. There you can find books and literature on variety of topics including Bible and Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Matthew .