Today's Lectionary Text
An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, who bore Jesus, who is called the Messiah.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.
Today’s verses are the opening 17 in Matthew’s Gospel. But in everyone’s rush to get to Christmas, the manger, angels, Wise Men, and all that, we are sometimes guilty of skipping over this 42-generation slog of genealogy. But if we do that, we miss out on a scandalous truth of the Incarnation: that Jesus had a family.
Think about it. Of all the ways to accomplish our salvation, God chose to become one of us. Not just appearing on the scene one day in human form, but being born to a mother who had a family, betrothed to a man who had a family.
Jesus was really, truly, like us. He had parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and ancestors. Just like us. Of course, we may see more famous names on Jesus’ family tree than ours, the likes of Abraham, Ruth, and King David, etc. But that just drives the point further: Jesus was really born to real people with real stories.
You might be gathering with people on own your family tree in a few days. If you are, let this opening catalog of generations from Matthew draw you closer to them this Christmas. Jesus, like you, had a real family, complete with shared traditions, favorite recipes, and memories both good and not-so-good.
Jesus came to redeem family trees like yours. To do that, he got one of his own. So as you spend time with loved ones this weekend, know that every moment you spend with them draws you closer to the experience of your Savior. By God’s grace, may your family be a glimpse of the fullness and love of the Triune God.
-- Pastor Michael Carpenter, Wahoo UMC
Prayer for Reflection
God of the generations, thank you for the gift of your Son. As he was born to a real family, help me to love and delight in my family and loved ones this season. Amen.
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