Text: Genesis 4:1-26, Genesis 5:1-32, Colossians 1:15-20
I find Genesis compelling because it is full of firsts. The first people and first animals, the first garden and the first marriage, the first sin and the first shame. And here, in Genesis 4 and 5, we come to the first genealogies found in Scripture.
When reading through the Old Testament, I think it’s natural to want to skip over the genealogies. After all, they’re just lists of names, right? Long lists that can feel like an interruption to the more intriguing story at hand. But there’s a reason genealogies are prominent in God’s Word. Matthew Henry explains, “Christ, who was the end of the Old Testament law, was also the end of the Old Testament genealogies; towards Him they looked, and in Him they centered.”
I like to think of it this way: the entire Old Testament is a long genealogy just waiting for the Messiah’s name to show up on the list. In between the genealogies, we find history, prophecies, and the law. With each new birth, the story pauses and the chosen people hold their breath. Could this be it? they wondered. Has our hope finally come?
Hoping and waiting. Waiting and hoping. Hoping…
You know the drill. We all do. It’s the feeling that what we hope for most is just around the corner. It’s the belief that if A, B, or C could just happen already, then life could really get started and be somehow more fulfilling. We know what it’s like to put our hope in the next thing or in the next person. And we know what it’s like for that hope to be crushed, to feel we’re forced into yet another season of waiting.
When our hope is contingent upon events or people, life can feel like a rollercoaster ride, exhausting and out of control. But what we see from the extensive genealogies in Scripture, beginning in Genesis, is that our real hope has already come.
On down the line from Seth, Jesus our Savior arrives on the scene. He’s the end of the genealogy. While people had always been created in the image of God, Jesus is the image of God. He’s the “firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15). Christ is the end of one long line of descendants, but He’s also the beginning of a new spiritual genealogy. For all things were created through Him (Colossians 1:16), and through Him we have been reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18). The curse of sin that began with Adam has been broken.
Jesus transformed our identity. Through His sacrifice, we’ve become adopted (Romans 8:14-17), accepted (Romans 15:7), and beloved children of God destined to spend eternity with Him (Ephesians 1:5-6). Nothing can change that (Romans 8:35, 38-39). Talk about hope at its finest!
This doesn’t mean we won’t hope for certain things, nor will our hearts avoid sadness and disappointment when those hopes aren’t fulfilled. But beneath the unpredictability of our hoping and waiting, there is the certainty that, come what may, all our hopes are ultimately fulfilled in Christ.
We are no longer awaiting His birth, for He has already come. “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).
The hope of His peace is one that will not disappoint.