January 02, 2007

Jumpin' Josaphat!

Lessons from the Geneology of Christ

A few days ago, we gathered as a faith community to ask one of the great questions: "why do we have to listen to all those names?" There are at least three good reasons, just as there are three types of people on this list - the good, the bad, and the "nobodies".

In the beginning of his Gospel, Matthew presents Christ the King to his readers. As with any royalty, in his day or ours, geneology is critical; you have to be from the right stock to be fit for the throne. To convince those too worldly to see His divine kingship, Matthew focuses on Jesus' descent from earthly kings.

The list includes several "big names" of hte Old Testament: Abraham, David, and Solomon. Many people are fascinated with celebrity; many people follow the activity (antics?) of Paris Hilton, for example. Its not just because she's rich, its because she's a Hilton. We wouldn't care as much if she didn't have a famous name and lineage. Similarly, some people of Matthew's time paid attention to the story of Jesus because He descended from David and Abraham. Like Paris, Jesus inherited something more important than earthly wealth or power - celebrity!

Jesus' geneology is not padded only with "good" names, though. There are also bad kings, adulterers, polygamists, and thieves. Why would Matthew bring up those names as well? Why risk turning people off?

Jesus came to earth not only for the good, but for the bad as well. He came to be Christ for every one of us - those that love Him, those that hate Him, and those who do not know Him. Jesus was born the "son of man" - the son of all kinds of people, come to the world to save all kinds of people.

Lastly, there are not only "good" and "bad" names in the geneology. There are people we know nothing about - Biblical "nobodies". Why include them? Why not just skip a few generations: "... and his great-grandson was..."?

No one is unimportant in the great plan of our Father. Even if we don't see the "higher purpose" of our lives, God does. Every name on that list is important; every name is a link in the chain leading to Jesus Christ. If one were missing, the chain would be incomplete.

Without you, here and now, something would be missing. You don't have to know or understand it, because God does.

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