Matthew 1:8. and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat,
Matthew 1:10. and Amos the father of Josiah
The Old Testament is full of genealogies that Matthew had access to when he sat down to write his gospel. All he had to do was copy the names that were already recorded in books like Chronicles and Ruth. But strangely when you start to compare Matthew’s genealogy with those in the Old Testament some of the names are different. Close, but different.
One of these names is Asaph, and the other is Amos.
The Old Testament records kings Asa and Amon. But Matthew records kings Asaph and Amos. Why? Why would Matthew change names in Jesus’ family tree?
It might be because of Matthew’s use of gematria. Gema-what? Gematria is the assigning of a numerical value to a Hebrew letter giving the spelling of a name a total numerical value. For example, David = 14. Fourteen then becomes a very important number to Matthew.
Matthew 1:17. 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.
Yes, Matthew is a gematria nerd so he changed some names in his genealogy in order to get the number values he wanted in order to make his point. But why choose the names Asaph and Amos?
You may remember that Asaph was a great musician who wrote several of the psalms. You likely also remember that Amos was a great prophet who spoke to God’s people about their injustice. So now the psalms and the prophets are represented in the genealogy of Jesus. Why is this so important to Matthew? Because he wants his readers to know that all of scripture points to Christ. Every psalm. Every prophet. Every narrative. Every law. Every page tells us the story of Jesus.
God hasn’t left us alone in our waiting for the advent of Christ. He has left us with his inspired word. From Genesis to Revelation each God breathed jot and tittle is pointing our hearts to our savior, Jesus. Every word reminding us of what Christ has already accomplished for us in his life, death, and resurrection, and what he will one day accomplish for us when he returns in the clouds with great glory to complete the salvation of his people in victory, bringing joy to the world.
Are you waiting in the word? Is the word of God the word of Christ to you? Is the Bible the book that points your heart to Jesus every time and increases your longing for his return? I pray it is.
How do you see the Bible? Is it primarily about what you need to do for Jesus, or what Jesus has done for you? How might this Christmas season encourage you to seek God through his word?