Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent Reflections: December 15


“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah 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 Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz 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 Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon 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 Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. 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 Messiah. 
Matthew 1:1-17  


Catch your breath. Reading this extensive list of names, some too difficult to pronounce, you're probably wondering why God would include such a detailed and repetitious passage in the Bible. What's the point? Why include this as part of our Advent journey? What can we possibly learn from this ancient and exhaustive family tree? Is it possible to meditate on these words and allow them in intertwine with our celebration of Christmas? Here's what I got from it.

In the days of Jesus’ birth, the culture was rife with expectations of the Messiah coming into the world. Discussions of who it would be and where he would come from were very common, although not all of them correct. In fact, some Jews expected two different Messiahs to come on the scene. It was a time of great speculation and uncertainty. The people of Israel wanted to make sure that had it right, and I'm pretty sure that God wanted the same thing. 

So that there would be no confusion, God spoke through the ancient prophets, who set forth unmistakable prophecies so that no other person born into this world could claim true that which Christ fulfilled. One unmistakable characteristic was that the Messiah would come from the line of King David. 

With intricate perfection and loving detail, God illustrates a family line that descends from Abraham, the Father of the Jewish people, divinely travels through the time of King David and quietly rests upon Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.” We see in this passage the words of a God that wanted nothing more than for the world to know his Son. Imagine the joy that filled the land as this truth slowly became realized?  


Lord, as we meditate on these words that seem repetitious and mundane, let us see that nothing could be further from the truth. Through these words, let us realize your great love for us and be overwhelmed by the inexpressible joy that comes from you. 

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