Genealogy, also known as family history, is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history.
The genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ by Matthew was written for a number of reasons. One, it shows Jesus to be the legal heir to the throne of David (v.1-2).
Matthew traces the roots of Jesus Christ in order to prove that He is the promised Messiah.
The Messiah was to be the son of Abraham and the son of David; that is, He was to be a descendant of both. God gave to Abraham and his seed (the Messiah) the promise of blessings for the whole world (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 22:18). God gave to David and his seed (the Messiah) the promise of eternal government (2 Samuel 7:12; Psalm 39:3f; Psalm 132:11). The Jews believed these promises of God. Therefore, Matthew sets out to prove that Jesus "who is called Christ" (Matthew 1:16) is the promised son of Abraham and the promised son of David (Matthew 1:1).
Two, it encourages Jewish believers scattered abroad (v.2). During the time of Matthew's writing, Rome dominated the world. Rome, just like the Babylonians, had scattered the Jews all over the world. Matthew wished to encourage all Jews by assuring them that they were descendants of Jacob's sons and as such they had a part in Christ, the true Messiah. They were all in line to receive the promises made to Abraham and his seed and to be gathered back together under the government of David's seed.
There are both good and bad kings in the ancestry of Christ. Just because a king was good did not mean that his goodness was inherited by the next king. Godliness and righteousness are not inherited. Not a single king was able to pass his nature down to the next king. Every human being stands as an individual before God and is responsible for his own life and behavior (John 1:12-13). Five, it emphasizes the power of God to keep His promises (v.11-16). God's power is seen in particular events.
First, God's power is seen in delivering His people through terrible times (for example, the Babylonian captivity). Second, God's power is seen in sending forth the Christ, the Messiah. It is an historical fact that God has preserved the Jewish people through every mad attempt to stamp them out. By such power He has fulfilled His promise to send His Son through the line of Abraham and David. Six, it symbolizes generations of spiritual history (v.17).
The first period of Israel's history can symbolize God giving birth to Israel through Abraham and giving dominion through David. The second period can symbolize Israel losing its dominion and being enslaved as a result of God's judgment upon sin. The third period of Israel's history can symbolize Israel's ultimate triumph through the Messiah and His liberating power. These historical periods can also symbolize the spiritual pilgrimage of any saved man.
One, man was born and purposed to rule as king (Genesis 1:26-27). Two, man, however, lost his right to dominion through enslavement to sin and the judgment of God (Genesis 3:16-19). Three, man can now be liberated and restored to fulfill his original purpose through Jesus Christ, the Messiah: (John 3:16).