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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2019
(Part 36)

THROUGH THE GENERATIONS



December 17, 2019
Today’s gospel: Matthew 1:1-17


Matthew tells us about “the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (v.1). It is a very long line from Abraham to Jesus. This is about salvation history. It is about families through the generations that were called and used by God to accomplish His will. They were families on mission.

It all started with Abraham, in whom all families of the earth find blessing.[1] He was told by God to go forth to an unknown land. “Abraham became the father of Isaac” (v.2a). Then Isaac also left the place where they were and went to a land designated by God. He, just like Abraham, was told by God that in his descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing.[2] “Isaac (became) the father of Jacob” (v.2b). Then Jacob also left the place where they were and migrated to Egypt.[3] The patriarchs of Israel were all heads of families on mission, going forth according to God’s instructions, moving salvation history along according to the intent of God.

Now their descendants were a diverse lot, including some seedy characters.

  • Jacob stole the birthright of his brother Esau with the connivance of their mother Rebekah.[4]
  • “Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar.” (v.3a). Judah had had intercourse with his daughter-in-law Tamar(the wife of his firstborn Er), whom he thought was a prostitute.[5]
  • “Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.” (v.5a). Rahab was a prostitute who sheltered the spies sent by Joshua to reconnoiter Jericho.[6]
  • “Jesse the father of David the king.” (v.6a). David was an adulterer and murderer.
  • “David became the father of Solomon” (v.6b). Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, many of them foreign women, who turned his heart to their pagan gods.[7]
  • “Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh” (v.10a). Manasseh did evil in God’s sight, following the abominable practices of the nations that had been dispossessed by Israel.[8]

What do we learn from the genealogy of Jesus?

First, God’s hand is at work throughout salvation history. And God makes use of families.

Second, anyone can be used by God. Some, like David, were great sinners. Some, like Mary, were anonymous nobodies. David became a man after God’s own heart. As to Mary, “of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.” (v.16b).

Third, salvation history works through the generations. This particular Old Testament genealogy culminated in the coming of Jesus. We too work not just in our day but help ensure the work of the generations after us. God’s continuing blessings are upon us, our children, and our children’s children, and of course beyond. Our being families on mission is until the second coming of Jesus.

Fourth, in this work we are destined for greatness. We are the generations after the coming of Jesus the Savior. We Christians are the new Israel. Some in this genealogy were greatly used by God. But even the anonymous ones were important parts of the whole of salvation history. We too are a part of it.


* * *


[1] Genesis 12:3.
[2] Genesis 26:3-4.
[3] Genesis 46:6-7.
[4] Genesis 27:5-38.
[5] Genesis 38:15-16,27-30.
[6] Joshua 2:1.
[7] 1 Kings 11:1-4.
[8] 2 Kings 21:2-6.

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