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Matthew’s Genealogy Like You’ve Never Heard It Before

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In this video performance from The Gospel Coalition’s ‘Songs of Hope’ Advent concert (which premiered Dec. 6, 2020), Poor Bishop Hooper performs their song “Christ”—a beautiful take on the genealogy of Jesus recorded in Matthew’s Gospel (1:1–17).

The song is from Poor Bishop Hooper’s Advent project, Firstborn, which includes music, illustrations, videos, and writing—including a 48-page study on the lineage of Jesus.

Why is the genealogy in Matthew’s Gospel important? Here’s what Tim Keller said in a 2016 interview with TGC:

Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus does a lot of work. First, it roots Jesus in history. The gospel doesn’t begin “once upon a time.” Christ isn’t a legend; he was a flesh-and-blood human being in space and time. Second, the genealogy includes women who were racial and cultural “outsiders” (Rahab and Ruth) as well as involved in incest, adultery, and prostitution (Tamar, “Uriah’s wife,” and Rahab).

In ancient and less individualistic times, one’s genealogy was like one’s résumé. Like today’s résumés, many things were usually expunged to make it look better to the reader. Women were seldom put in ancient genealogies at all, let alone women who reminded readers of the sordid sins and corruption of ancestors such as Judah and David. All of these figures would have been disowned or expunged from a normal genealogy, but here they are not. They are all—male and female, king and prostitute, Jew and Gentile—equally part of Jesus’s family. So even the “begats” of the Bible drip with God’s mercy.

Learn more about Poor Bishop Hooper (Jesse and Leah Roberts) at poorbishophooper.com and follow their ongoing EveryPsalm project, with new releases each week.

Watch other performances from TGC’s 2020 Advent concert in this YouTube playlist.