February 12, 2016
This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
As I noted yesterday, we aren’t flying over the famed genealogy this time, nor are we driving by. The plane has landed and we are now out on the ground walking around the site.
The first extraordinary anomaly comes with the last word of v.1: Abraham. What’s the problem? Well, this is not Abraham’s genealogy. It is Jesus’ genealogy. From the looks of the rest of the many genealogies in the Bible, Jesus’ genealogy should begin with Jesus. From there one would expect to see Jesus descendants. Instead we begin with Jesus’ ancestors and we end with Jesus. What is the meaning of this? Typically, the family derives its identity from the head of the family. In this case, the ancestors are deriving their identity and significance from their great descendant: Jesus, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
So who are the descendants of Jesus? He never married or had children. His family line would have stopped with him. Right? Wrong. Remember how John described things in his opening remarks?
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12-13
Remember how Paul described the situation?
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14-17
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we who believe, are now included in the lineage of Jesus. We get included the genealogy! God is our Father now. This genealogical record tells the story of our family. Only in this story is such a thing possible. You just can’t insert yourself into someone else’s family tree, until now. This is what God has and is doing in Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.
We are no longer on the outside looking in, rather we are on the inside looking out. And as joint heirs of an everlasting Kingdom, we don’t just look outward. We go. No one is born into this family. They must be “born of God” into it. The good news, is this family is open to everyone who will believe and follow.
And so here we are, barely beyond the first verse of the New Testament and the Gospel is already breaking out—and through a genealogy for crying out loud!
1. Think about your own genealogy or family tree. We get our sense of family identity from our forebears; the line from which we spring. Imagine if your entire family going backwards were all of a sudden defined by you. They got their identity from you. This is what happened in Jesus. How do you react to or respond to this?
2. Think about the brokenness in all of our family lines/trees. How does our being brought into the genealogy of Jesus heal the brokenness of our own family line going forward?
3. We so often think of the Bible and salvation through the lenses of God’s sovereignty and righteousness; God as King, Law giver and Judge. It seems though that the primary storyline of Scripture is that of family with God as good Father. What are the implications of this?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.