Monday, December 20, 2010

Genealogy of Jesus: the Golden Thread of Salvation

Yesterday at Christ Church we had the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew chapter one.  It is the sort of passage that I love to preach on -- at first glance, it seems just that sort of dry and dusty bit that makes the Bible seem boring.  So it is great to have the conviction that the whole of the scriptures are the Word of God, because it gives an encouragement to stay with a passage and dig into it.  And so often there are surprising treasures!

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6and Jesse the father of David the king.
   And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
 12And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
 17So 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.

The genealogy of Jesus tells us many things, not least that God is patient and faithful in bringing his promises to fruition.  This gives us confidence in other things he promises, that we can trust them to be brought to fruition, too.  As Jesus is described as the king in David's line, we are encouraged to look to him as the leader of our own life.  Finally, the experience of exile is historical for God's people, but also experienced as our ultimate home (ie, heaven) is not this world.  The "shady ladies" (Gentiles, with various sexual histories) and the variety of examples of men (David, who killed his old comrade Uriah to cover up an affair; Abraham, with his wonderful faith but also his betrayal of his wife's safety to save his own skin; many others) show that no one is beyond the reach of God's loving grace, and indeed can be used to bring about his purposes.  It is also encouraging to see a bum like Manasseh come to repentance late in life and have a strong grandson like Josiah, though a warning that a great man like Josiah's own grandson would be a bum (Jechoniah).  We need to pray for our kids and our community earnestly!

I hope next year to teach the children this wonderful song during Advent, with kudos to singer/songwriter/author Andrew Peterson for his making the passage vibrant for children in song and animation:

With thanks to "The Vicar's Wife", a blog that the Authoress views and sends my way on occasion.