Thursday, January 2, 2014

Biblos Geneseos

These are the first two words of the Gospel of Matthew.  Scholars debate their full meaning, ranging from "record of genealogy" to "record of origins" to "record of history" and whether Matthew intended this statement to refer only to the genealogy of Jesus or was it a heading defending the historicity of his entire gospel?  As we begin this new year, I would like to suggest another question…am I aware of the sacredness of my life, that my life is a link in the chain of the destiny of another, that my life is going to affect the future, that my life is bigger than today, I have the opportunity to create generational momentum!

You might by now have realized there are two genealogies given to us in Scripture relating to Jesus.  One here in Matthew and the other in Gospel of Luke.  I am of the camp that believes these two genealogies are the lineage of Joseph (Matthew) and Mary (Luke).  Joseph's line traces back to David through the kingly line of Solomon while Mary's tracks through another one of David's sons, Nathan.  They both trace to Abraham which is vital because OT prophesies speak to the Messiah being a son of David and a son of Abraham.

Now stay with me, even if I have already surpassed your appetite for details, keep reading…there are more details I going to ask you to endure!  In looking at Matthew's genealogy in comparison with OT genealogies, we begin to realize some names have been omitted.  For example, as Chuck Smith in his commentary on Matthew points out, where are Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah?  These were grandchildren to Ahab and Jezebel…two of the most evil people in all the OT narratives!  Of course Matthew left them out!  But not to hide them, not in hopes of obscuring some scandalous history of Jesus' line.  If you share in my conviction that Matthew is just the human instrument and the Holy Spirit is the author, there is another reason for their omission.  I believe it is because God is reminding us that the destiny of future generations can be because of us or in spite of us…which testimony do you want to possess?  Our mistakes, even if they become as egregious as Ahab and Jezebel and their immediate family, cannot derail the sovereignty of God!  Are you going to create generational momentum or are you going to be erased from God's glory story?

Now let's fold into our recipe the ingredient of Luke's genealogy.  Here we find some women included, four to be exact, and three of those women have questionable histories, less than stellar reputations:  Thamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba.  Why would they be included and the three people above excluded?  I have a theory.  Mistakes don't automatically disqualify us from being a part of God's glory story…they do not automatically displace us from our hopes of being a creator of generational momentum.  In fact, we can say everyone in both genealogies given to us in Matthew and Luke are disqualifiable because Paul writes in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!  The question is not wether we have sinned, the question is whether or not we have availed ourselves to the grace of God.

I see my past.  I deserve the plight of Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah.  I deserve to be omitted.  But like those who have been included in the gospel genealogies, I have found His great grace.  His grace keeps me in His glory story, His grace keeps me in the adventure of creating generational momentum, His grace keeps me.  We are all undeserving, the question we have come to is are we rebellious?  Are you rejecting God's right to rule in your life?  Are you rejecting His offer of forgiveness that only comes through His Son…the reason for these two greatly profound genealogies!

Find His grace in 2014, find His grace in Jesus, find your name on a list, be in your history, be included in the lineage of your family…advance the destiny of someone in the future because of who you are becoming and not in spite of who you are…a person always availing themselves to rule of Heaven and the grace of God.

May 2014 be the year of being counted, the year of our names being mentioned…I am written!

Pastor Fred

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