Jesus is the King of Kings

November 29, 2023
By: The NKJV Study Bible

Matthew’s Gospel serves several purposes beyond presenting a mere biography of Jesus. One purpose is to prove to Jewish readers that Jesus is their Messiah and promised King.   

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 

Matthew 1:1, 2  

Jesus is King of Israel

Succession to a throne is often a time of conflict and uncertainty. David’s son Absalom tried to usurp the throne (see 2 Samuel 15:1–18:18). Solomon’s choice of successor lost more than half the kingdom to a traitor (see 1 Kings 12:20). Menahem assassinated his predecessor in Israel (see 2 Kings 15:14). 

Royalty is a dangerous business. 

This is no less true than when the heir is the King of kings. If ever there was a high-stakes succession, this was it. A Man claims to be Israel’s own Messiah; of course all Israel sits up and takes notice.  

Jesus is the True King

Of course, He must prove His credentials: Who wants an imposter? The Book of Matthew presents Jesus’ credentials. It presents Jesus as the King, but King of a totally different kingdom—the kingdom of heaven. 

Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 

Matthew 1:5, 6  

The Genealogy of Jesus is Crucial

Christ’s genealogy is crucial to historic Christianity. Matthew traced the lineage of Christ Jesus back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to show that He was a Jew, but also back through David to inform the readers that Jesus is qualified to rule on the throne of David (see 2 Samuel 7:12)—an event still in the future (Matthew 19:28). 

And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. 

Matthew 1:16 

Joseph, the husband of Mary, was a direct descendant of David. Matthew, however, was careful not to identify Jesus as the physical son of Joseph. The Greek pronoun translated of whom is feminine and refers to Mary.  

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations. 

Matthew 1:17

The Breakdown of Christ’s Genealogy

The genealogy is broken down into three groups of names with fourteen generations in each list. The name David in Hebrew has a numerical value of 14. Because the heading of the list is “Son of David” (verse 1), Matthew may have been drawing attention to the Davidic emphasis in these names. 

The genealogy in chapter 1 points to Christ as the One who inherited God’s promises to David of an eternal dynasty. Jesus’ use of a familiar messianic psalm in Matthew 22:41–44 would have clearly implied to any Jew that He was the heir of the Davidic throne.  

Even though many Jews of Jesus’ time were blind to Jesus’ identity, Gentiles (such as the wise men) identified Him as Israel’s promised King when He was a baby.  

Finally, the charge that hung above Jesus’ head on the cross clearly highlights His royalty: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS (Matthew 27:37). But most importantly, the Book of Matthew proves Jesus’ legitimate authority by highlighting His wise teaching and righteous life (see 7:28, 29). 

Questions to Ponder 

Let’s admit it: we can easily gloss over the genealogies in the Bible, even the one at the beginning of Matthew that shows Jesus’ earthly ancestry. Why is it important for us to be able to trace Jesus’ family back through David and also through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?  

Why was it important for Matthew to not identify Joseph as the father of Jesus? 


The NKJV Study Bible

Content in this article is adapted from The NKJV Study Bible.

Perfect for in-depth study or personal devotion, this study Bible is filled with features that enhance your knowledge as well as devotion to God. It is a complete and reliable guide to studying God’s Word. Click here to learn more.

Related Articles

Finding Hope in the Christmas Story

The angel’s announcement certainly got the attention of the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. But it was something else that sent them... Read More

The Christmas Story Teaches Us to Wait Well

The experience of waiting for Christmas as children was good exercise for us. Waiting builds trust, patience, and faith while we wait on God’s perfect will. Read More

10 Bibles to Gift This Christmas

The world’s best-selling book. The world’s greatest message. Give it away this Christmas. The joy and tenderness of the Christmas season often make hearts... Read More

Sign Up for the Latest Blog Posts from Thomas Nelson

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *