Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Family Legacy

"A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ 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, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of HezronHezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of AmminadabAmminadab the father of NahshonNahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was RahabBoaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, Solomon the father of RehoboamRehoboam the father of AbijahAbijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of JehoramJehoram the father of UzziahUzziah the father of JothamJotham the father of AhazAhaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of AmonAmon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of ShealtielShealtiel the father of ZerubbabelZerubbabel the father of AbiudAbiud the father of EliakimEliakim the father of AzorAzor the father of ZadokZadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of EliudEliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of MatthanMatthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ. The Birth of Jesus Christ." Matthew 1:1-17

Over the past decade or so there has been an increasing interest in tracing family trees. Websites like Ancestry.com have sprung up to respond to this trend.

Do you know your family history? 

How far back can you go in your know of relatives?

I would like to have a better grasp of my family lineage. It is interesting to know about your heritage.

While this is interesting information for us, it was essential information to the Jewish people to whom the Gospel of Matthew is addressed. That explains why it was tucked in at the beginning of the Gospel record. You and I tend to skip over this portion of the Gospel when we do our Bible reading. It holds little interest to us. But the Hebrews were big on family pedigrees. For them to accept the story of Jesus, His ancestry had to be established beyond question.

In my next couple of posts I want to share why this rather obscure group of verses should matter to you and me.

As you look through these names, there are a few celebrity names that are easily recognizable. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David are "superstars" who jump off this page. I'm sure we all have a few ancestors we point to proudly, while ignoring the weird uncles, etc.

But again, the strong message of Christmas is clear - God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things! The fact that you are familiar with most of the names should be an encouragement to you!

I am one of those ordinary people who no one has heard of. So are you! Sometimes we wonder if it is worth the sacrifices we make or the struggles we endure trying to be obedient to God and true to the faith. What difference will it make! How can I be sure it matters? No one will ever hear of me. No one will care about what it took for me to remain faithful.

This genealogy testifies that it DOES matter. You have no idea who may come along in a generation or two in your family line. If you compromise your faith or sell out to selfishness, you can be sure that the blessings will cease. I would venture to guess that every person listed in this genealogy had decision points where they wondered if it was worth it. They became discouraged. They struggled with faith. They knew the loneliness of being misunderstood because of your values. BUT they remained faithful! And it mattered! Through them came a Savior!

From the Christmas Story comes the great news that faithfulness matters! It matters for individuals. It matters in families. It matters to God. He notices. He blesses. He moves in and through those people. Ordinary people in ordinary families who commit to exceptional faith make and extraordinary difference under the Hand of God.

We all know that Christmas is a family Holiday. Now you know that it REALLY is! In more ways than you imagined. God emphasized that at the very beginning of the story! Before He told the amazing story of Christmas, He told the story that made it possible!

Will you embrace that truth? 

Will you take encouragement from it? 

Will you recommit to creating a legacy of faithfulness in your family?