In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in genealogies. Thousands dig through courthouse records, old censuses and Ellis Island Immigrant Records to trace their roots. They traipse around country cemeteries risking heat exhaustion, poison ivy and ticks.
Recently my friend Stan told me he is a descendant of Daniel Boone. I must confess to a tinge of ancestral jealousy at the time. Ever felt like that? How about a little forefather inferiority when someone proudly announces they are descended from royal blood?
Me Royalty? Not a chance. The nearest to royalty I might find is a court jester or two. If I am any indication, they kept trying even though they weren’t very funny. Risky business when you’re not funny and the King wants to laugh!
If not humorous they were obviously clever. Somehow they managed to stay alive long enough to father at least one child or I wouldn’t be here. Me? I’ve lived long enough to see two children grow to adulthood, but only because Christians don’t kill corny preachers. They just don’t laugh. And that really kills me.
Anyway, from today’s reading it is evident Matthew was a Roots Tracer too. Matt had it much easier though. He could have simply gone over to the temple and copied the extremely accurate family records stored there. Maybe the Holy Spirit spared him even that.
Either way, he begins his story about our Teacher with a record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
In the very first verse, Matthew places two names after Jesus’ - David and Abraham. So, what is Matthew up to? Is he setting up what the rest of his story will prove – Jesus is the Everlasting King promised to David and The Blessing for all mankind promised to Abraham? (Ok, so I read ahead.)
Scanning the list of Jesus’ physical ancestors I notice some pretty colorful characters. Most of the names don’t sound familiar, but their sins sure do. Unfortunately, I can identify with some of their stories related in the Old Testament.
What name underscores for you that Jesus really became one of us?
Of course, the Teacher didn’t make any of the mistakes of His ancestors. Talk about breaking the cycle of addiction, abuse or, well…you fill in the blank. He shattered each and every one of them for each and every one of us! A perfect life to become a perfect sacrifice for our sins!
And why is Jesus the only one truly qualified to be our Life-Teacher? Simple! He became human and did human perfectly. That’s why I want to be his student. He knows me and he knows how to make a better me. One more like Him! And what is more, He keeps me saved throughout what must necessarily be a lifetime process. A better arrangement I cannot imagine.
Come to think of it I made a big mistake when I said I am not related to royalty. In fact, every Christian is because while Jesus had physical ancestors God was His Father. And since Jesus is my brother that must mean we are all Bluebloods in the only way that ultimately impresses – children of the Most High God - born again from above.
(Ok, I know you want to share some famous or infamous ancestor. Go ahead if you have any. I can deal with it. Actually, I’m a little curious. While you’re at it share something about the Teacher from today’s reading. And sorry for posting more material than the verses from Matthew, but hey, he was inspired.)