24 January 2018

Luke 3
Psalm 3

23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,
the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath,
the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,
the son of Josek, the son of Joda,
27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,
the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,
the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon,
the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna,
the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,
the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob,
the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu,
the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan,
the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
the son of God.

I love the genealogies in the Bible! Don’t get me wrong, I can’t pronounce half the names and I often don’t have a clue who the person is. But I still really appreciate that the genealogies are there… just like the one on Luke 3. Let me tell you why:

Because the genealogies connect me to history and the past. They put faith, my faith, into a much bigger context. They remind me that I am standing in a strong tradition along with many who have gone ahead of me. I am neither alone nor isolated in my belief. Indeed, my faith is rooted in history. The genealogies remind me that I can trace that historic line; I can verify actual people (& events too) within that history because they have been named – there is substance to my faith and to the Christian tradition.

Because the genealogies remind me that people matter. Here is a list of people who are named – they are known by their generation, by future generations and, more importantly, God knows them. Our faith is not impersonal and anonymous; it is about people who have names & identities. People matter, they are valued and have significance… that’s why the church should be, to quote the line from an old TV sitcom, the place “where everybody knows your name!” And the genealogies don’t just tell me their names, but it connects them together in a personal & intimate relationship – not just in a biological family, but in the family of God.

Because the genealogies remind me that grace abounds. I don’t know all the people on the list, but I recognise some of the names – like the man who got drunk and laid naked on the floor; or the husband who gave his wife away – twice; or the son who stole a birthright through deception; or a brother who sold another into slavery; or a king who committed adultery… to mention but a few! And yet all of these men were used by God in His plans to bring the Saviour into the world. Surely, that can only be a sign of God’s amazing grace to treat us in ways we don’t deserve. So there’s hope for me too – God’s grace to use me in His plans!

And, because the genealogies connect me to God. In Luke 3, I am reminded that if in Jesus by faith, then I am in not just a son of Adam, but I am also a Son of God. The genealogy takes me back to my Creator, the One who made the very first person in His image & likeness and reminds me that if I am with Jesus, I will not just be like that Adam but I will be like the second Adam – the true Son of God; that I too, by faith in Jesus, will be included in a long tradition and a big family of God’s children. For God, who knows my name, is not just my Creator but my Father too.

I can’t pronounce most of the names, I’m often tempted to skip them for the sake of time and expediency… yet I love the genealogies and am always blessed when I take time to pause and read them slowly.