If there is one thing I have trouble with in the Bible it is reading genealogy. There are lots of names that are hard to pronounce and people whom I just have no clue to their identity besides the name listed. After reading through all these who begat who I must admit I am ready for a good nap. Maybe I should start reading them on nights I’m having trouble falling asleep.
Many families in our culture today have very little sense of heritage. They don’t care about where they came from. They may not know who their great, great grandparents were or care what nationality they came from. They may have some family traditions but not many want to take the time to search it out and understand. To them, ancestry is boring.
Genealogy has taken off as a hobby in the past few years. There are all kinds of websites and businesses like ancestry.com that help you find information if you want it. You can even take a mouth swab and send it off to find out what nationality you are… although those aren’t as reliable as some claim.
Genealogies were an integral part of Jewish society at the time of Jesus. Land was inherited based on family lines, and those who could not prove their ancestry in Israel were considered outsiders. You had to know your heritage and Jewish boys and girls would often memorize their ancestry all the way back to Abraham.
So let’s not throw away all these “begats” yet. In Matthew 1:1-17, we read the first genealogy of Jesus. The other is genealogy is located in Luke 3:21-38. (Don’t worry, I’ don’t have time to read them to you tonight). But if you read them both you will notice that there are some differences… How can this be?
Well the both Matthew and Luke have something more important to prove other than just land claims. They want to prove Jesus has the right to the throne. They want to show that he is of the tribe of Judah, of the house of David, as well as a son of Abraham.
Matthew follows the linage of Joseph and goes all the way back to Abraham. He wants his readers to know that Jesus has the patriarchal linage and the pedigree to claim the title of “anointed one”… the MESSIAH or CHRIST.
Luke follows the lineage of Mary because some wiseguy might say, “Hey, If Jesus is the Son of God than Joseph wasn’t a blood relative and you can’t trace his lineage.” But Mary was also of the tribe of Judah, the house of David, and the son of Abraham. But Luke takes the linage back even further to show that he is a son of Adam. He truly is the Son of God, Messiah, and King.
The Apostle Paul preached a message showing how important Jesus lineage truly is. He said, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. (Acts 13:22–23).
Jesus is Messiah! It is in his lineage. There were a lot of important Jewish people in his lineage but there were also some stinkers. There are even some notable women in his heritage too like Rahab, the former harlot from Jericho. Jesus was is fully God and fully human… with a colorful heritage that is worth reading.
What kind of people were the individuals in your genealogy? What has been passed on to you for your spiritual heritage? What would you like to pass on to your children or share with your relatives? What kind of a legacy will you leave behind?
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Father, Thank you for my heritage of good people who shared the message of Jesus Christ with me. I pray that you will help me to share the light with others. In Jesus' name, AMEN!