Descent of the Messiah (part 3)
From the devotional Day by Day in the Gospel of Matthew by Chuck Gianotti.
Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel.
The march of interesting characters in Jesus’ ancestral line continues. Uzziah was a great king until he presumed upon God’s holiness, entering the sanctuary where only the priests were allowed (2 Chron. 26). He was known thereafter by this epithet: “He was a leper.” In the very year he died, Isaiah saw the Lord “lofty and exalted” and the angels crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:3).
Others followed Uzziah, including Hezekiah, who brought reform and restoration to the worship of Yahweh (God’s personal name). Manasseh was so wicked that during his reign God stopped warning of judgment, but then confirmed that it would indeed happen. Even the godliness of his grandson Josiah could not avert this!
Then Jeconiah (also called Coniah) extended God’s censure to the Davidic dynasty: “No man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David” (Jer. 22:30). Thus the direct blood descendants, the rightful heirs to David’s throne, were now barred from fulfilling that destiny. But would that not mean the end of the line for God’s promise to David? “For thus says the Lord, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel’” (Jer. 33:17). How then could Jesus qualify to be the King of Israel?
The answer is really quite simple. One thing we can be sure of is that God always keeps His promises (Heb. 6:17-18). Jesus was not, in fact, a direct blood descendant of Jeconiah. He was adopted into the kingly line by Joseph (1:16). By virtue of His adoption, He obtained legal right to the throne. Yet He was still a blood descendant of David, as made clear in the complementary genealogy provided by Luke in his gospel. In that genealogy, Jesus’ blood line is traced back to David through his biological mother, Mary, but through a different family line which bypasses Jeconiah. In other words, the virgin birth allows the fulfillment of both promises!