Ancient Words—Name above all names—Jesus’ Family Tree
Anyone working on their family lineage is excited to reach back to their 5th, 6th and 7th generation. Highly unlikely, even with today’s technology, is reaching to the 10th generation. The combination of Matthew and Luke writings, however, produce the unprecedented account of Jesus’ family tree going back 74 generations covering 4,000 years—-and this account was written without today’s technology 2,000 years ago! The New Testament begins with Matthew in Chapter 1: “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham:”. Beginning with Abraham, Matthew then lists the fathers in chronological succession all the way to verse 16: “and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.” Matthew begins with Abraham, follows the line of Solomon to reach Joseph. Luke follows the line of Heli (Mary’s Father) to Nathan (Solomon’s brother) and then to Adam. Matthew, different from Luke, inserts a few commentaries noting an additional characteristic to the father. Verse 2 states Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers….verse 3 states Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar….verse 5 reads Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth….verse 6, David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife….and finally verse 11 states and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
I think most of us would prefer to see a clean heritage when looking at our own genealogy—-no bank robbers, swindlers, murderers, or horse thieves. And if any did exist in our past, I doubt we would want to highlight the sins of our fathers. Matthew, on the other hand, thru the prompting of the Holy Spirit, does exactly the opposite when it comes to Jesus’ genealogy. Attention is directed to these specific commentaries: The sons of Jacob retaliated against Hamor and Shechem, killing everyone in their city….Judah slept with his sons wife, Tamar, who posed as a prostitute, and produced Perez and Zerah….Salmon is married to Rahab, the prostitute in Jericho….King David slept with his friend’s wife, Bathsheba, and then had the friend, Uriah killed in battle…Jeconiah was involved with the exile of Judah as a nation and capture by Babylon. The husbands and wives and family involved with the genealogy of Jesus is not a pure unadulterated list of citizens. There is deceit, lying, horse thieves, incest, prostitution, swindlers, murderers, bank robbers, and even the loss of a nation—-and they are highlighted in the opening chapter of the New Testament—committed by the rich, famous including kings and rulers. Why does the Son of God deserve such an infamous recognition of his earthly genealogy? Perhaps it is because of what the Baptist John said in John 1.16: “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”
A proper New Year’s Resolution would be to daily recognize the name of Jesus in your family tree. Jesus is the most powerful and wonderful name known on earth. Jesus is the living vine and we are the branches and the power of His name remains as effective today as it was in 1 AD!
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year
Elyshia and I are eagerly anticipating what God has in store for the new year!
Preparing for the new year brings optimistic thoughts of change and desires for new beginnings. Lots of people are bracing or “resolving” themselves to lifestyle changes and better health. Just before the clock strikes 12 on December 31 a lot of people will take that “last” puff or that “last” drink in anticipation of a new life that will be filled with more hours at the gym and better eating habits! Others will bid farewell to a rotten year that was filled with heart ache and depression. I wonder why we seem to wait or think that the magical midnight strike when the ball has finally dropped on Times Square will make anything different?
We as a society are constantly looking for ways to dismiss our inconsistencies or make excuses for our behaviors but then set a date to “prepare” ourselves to become accountable.
Let’s face it, life is tough and even though we know right from wrong it’s not always easy to do. The apostle Paul testifies to this in Romans 7:15, ““I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” I guess it’s safe to say that we are all in good company, but recognizing this dilemma does not mean we have to accept it. Yes, change is hard but Paul also reminds us in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
I pray that that in 2019 that we all resolve to live for Jesus! Happy New Year El Dorado!
Peace and Blessings.
Captain Jason Perdieu is corps officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado.