I would guess that many readers today looked at the long list of Jesus’ genealogy and skipped to the next lesson. Why do we need a list of names, most of which are unpronounceable to all but Hebrew speakers? And yet St. Paul tells us that ALL Scripture is God breathed (2 Tim 3:16). So that list is there for a purpose, even if we don’t fully understand why, which brings up an important lesson about Holy Scripture. When reading it we must be careful to avoid the kind of pride that places us as the arbiter of truth. I do not sit in judgment of Scripture; it sits in judgment of me. It sheds light on the thoughts and intentions of my heart (Heb 4:12). Only someone who is self absorbed would consider a text irrelevant just because they don’t understand it, or unbelievable just because they find it hard to fathom. As the Lord made plain to Job, He does not owe us an explanation for His works.
But back to this list of names. I met a gentleman from China who had heard the stories of Jesus’ miracles and of His resurrection but having no religious upbringing, he assumed that they were myths, like the stories of the Greek and Roman gods. When he decided to read it for himself, he began as you would with any book, at the beginning. He began at Matthew 1. And what did he find there? He found a detailed genealogy of Jesus. This was all he needed to put the pieces together. To do what Jesus did was to be divine, but to have a detailed genealogy meant that He was an actual man and not a myth. That was all the information he needed to yield His life to Christ as Lord and Savior. Who knew that a list of Hebrew names could be a gospel tract? Because God’s Word is alive, it meets us where we are and ministers to our very need.