January 1, 2010
Don't write off any portion of Scripture or any person in society too quickly.
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 1 1:3 Greek Aram; also verse 4 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 2 1:7 Asaph is probably an alternate spelling of Asa; some manuscripts Asa; also verse 8 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, 3 1:10 Amos is probably an alternate spelling of Amon; some manuscripts Amon; twice in this verse and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, 4 1:12 Greek Salathiel; twice in this verse and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
Okay--so you are rarin' to start a new year in God's Word, you are excited about learning more about Jesus, and you are convinced that "mastering the Master's life" is a core discipline for anyone who passionately seeks to be a Christ follower. So you open your Bible, you check out the first section of Matthew, and what do you get for your enthusiasm . . . a stinking list of names. What?
You might be thinking, "C'mon, Lord, I have had enough of 'ancestors' this past December," or "this list of names looks just as dysfunctional as those hanging out in my family tree."
Well, hang on--let's start by acknowledging that your family tree (including your specific limb) undoubtedly has some dysfunction in it. Next, let's be reminded and encouraged that even the most "diseased limb" might yet have hope.
Remember, if Jesus went to ancestry.com, He would find some rather "colorful" folks in His family tree. Prostitutes, murderers, foreigners, liars, fools, adulterers, rebels, hedonists--and that is just on His "step-father's" side. Makes you want to call your in-laws and thank them for not being as spectacularly inept as you once supposed they were.
So what can you learn from this passage?
First, we should be reminded that every section of God's Word has application and meaning for us. If we just dig a little, we will find there is always the potential for treasure when God has been at work.
Second, we can look at our own family tree and remember that, if we just dig a little, we might find a treasure when God begins to work. Think about the family member who is "beyond rehabilitation." Then think about (or go read about) some of the failures listed in Matthew 1:1-17. If God can bring forth life and hope from them, is it really so hard to believe that He can change your, or any other ancestor's, legacy? If anyone can do it, the righteous branch of Jeremiah 23:5 can.
To quote Jeff Foxworthy, "Remember, everyone's family is crazy, so call your mama and hug your kids."
1. Pray that God would change your perspective about every passage of Scripture and every person of suspect character. Pray that you would live with a confidence that says, "When God is there, there is always the potential for treasure."
2. What does it tell you about God that He is willing to include such spectacular failures in His Son's "ancestry"?
3. Read John 15:1-6 to learn a little more about Jesus and His ideas about how to be a healthy branch of His family.
4. Call your mama and hug your kids . . . and while you are at it, throw in a prayer that Christ will be "at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13)
This year, The Journey adds a section of Family Discussion Questions written by Watermark's Children Ministry to encourage parents to read God's Word with their children and to facilitate family discussions about the daily Journey passages. It is The Journey team's prayer that you will use and enjoy the questions and that they will help make reading God's Word a daily part of your family life.
FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Read Jesus' lineage out loud with your children and have them stop you when they hear a familiar name. Then discuss the story that concerns the name they recognize.