Day 20

The Family Line of Jesus

from the Advent 2019: A Thrill of Hope reading plan


Matthew 1:1-17, Jeremiah 33:19-26, Romans 8:15-17

BY Rebecca Faires

When I was sixteen, I was interested in finding romance. So naturally, I memorized the book of Matthew. Our church competed in teen Bible quizzing, and I thought it would help me to get a boyfriend if I was the best at Bible-quizzing. I wanted to impress a particular boy, and also triumph over him in competition. (Is this not what the teenage boys are looking for?) I had this whole genealogy eagerly memorized, so if I was ever asked, “Who was the father of Nahshon?”, I could be ready to gorgeously shout out, “Amminadab!” Believe it or not, this wasn’t enormously successful with the gentlemen callers. However, I accidentally fell in love with Matthew’s Gospel.

Every name in the genealogy feels important and special to me because I took the time to memorize it. The connection between each father and son mattered desperately to me at the time. It taught me to appreciate the tangle of genealogies like the tangle of my own human relationships—and why they matter.

The first biblical genealogy is in Genesis 4, featuring both murderers and musicians, and after that the Bible is filled with these capsule stories of families. Genealogies have all kinds of people—probably like your own family tree—and one of the things we learn from these lists is that God cares about people. He cares about all of our hilarious, adorable, smelly, embarrassing, ridiculous families. He cares about our details and our individual stories.

Look at Matthew’s genealogy for Christ, rounded out with: “… and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Christ” (Matthew 1:16). His genealogy is divided into three sections: Abraham to David, David to the Babylonian exile, and from the exile to Christ. Already, it’s more manageable because we can look at the family line of Christ in terms of God’s work in three movements. He is established as: the son of Abraham—the son of the promised covenant; the son of David—the son of the king; and finally, He is the promise to a people living in darkness. God is showing us how He keeps His promises.

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While the Creator of the world was redeeming our souls by sending His Son, He is also sending us the message that He cares deeply about people—collectively, yes, but also individually and one-at-a-time. He cares enough to include specific names of people. He is redeeming us not as nameless, faceless, wretched souls, but as the colorful and complicated people we are. He uses genealogies to tell us exactly who Jesus is and where He came from, including all the earthy details. And by telling us precisely who Jesus is, He reminds us that He cares about the details in our own lives.

What great joy we have because Jesus is exactly who He says He is. As we gather this week, we can rejoice in a God who keeps His promises and cares for all the complicated, wonderful, regular folks in our stories too.

Post Comments (57)

57 thoughts on "The Family Line of Jesus"

  1. Ms Amy* says:

    What struck me is that Rahab (the prostitute), Uriah’s wife (the adulteress) are part of Jesus’ bloodline. These are people the society would have judged as less than, not good enough, imperfect and yet… Shows that God wants us just as we are. He is God of the broken, flawed and imperfect people. Just come as you are. Thank you God for this grace + privilege. This is me, I am coming as I am. Use me for your glory, amen.

  2. Rachel McKib says:

    I have been intentionally slowing down and reading the genealogies carefully, too. They are so significant. Loved this devotional!

  3. Mary Jane Meyer says:

    I love the promises we are reminded of here. The sun WILL rise and set each day because God promises it. Bathsheba mentioned as “Uriah’s wife” because we’re reminded that God still integrally uses broken people and the messes we create in his kingdom work. So many promises, for a people like us!

  4. Larissa Moreno says:

    I didn’t realize that Ruth was David’s grandma. Cool.

  5. Sandy Stanard says:

    https://www.focusonthefamily.ca/content/the-women-in-jesus-genealogy-an-advent-reflection

    I found this to be an interesting explanation for the women noted in Jesus’ genealogy. As others on here have mentioned, it shows us that God loves and welcomes everyone.

  6. Kristen says:

    No keeping, here is a podcast that is about the rich, young ruler. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/timothy-keller-sermons-podcast-by-gospel-in-life/id352660924?i=1000458328145

    I thought of it when I read your post. I have this on my podcasts. You can go to http://www.gospelinlife.com and look for episode number: 333 called Generosity and Wealth. Any of Tim Keller’s sermons are good teaching!!!

  7. Kari says:

    Rebecca, I LOVE this. Every other devotional series I’ve read basically just sums this chapter of genealogies up to “well it’s just something we have to get through.” (Honestly I think even SRT has complained about it in past posts ….) So this was so refreshing and such a good, creative, and positive way to look at this chapter. This genealogy has a whole new meaning! Thank you!!

  8. No keeping says:

    As concerning the Word of life, Luke 10 section 25-28 says: On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
    Luke 18 section 18-25 says: A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
    Matthew 5 section 43-48 says: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    In Old Testament, the Jewish people and their ancestors were given The Laws to observe. First, Adam and Eve should observed was that they could not eat the fruits from the tree of wisdom. Then, their son Cain was told that he should not kill. As sins became increased, the laws were also added more. Up to the generation of Moses, the laws in Old Testament were given to Israelites. We know that The Laws are good and The Laws are used to punish people who commit sins, but people cannot obey The Laws because the sinful spirits are in people. Even that we know stealing and giving false testaments are sinful, but greedy and pride spirit in us drive us to do sinful things. So as Old Testament prophesied we need to get rid of our sinful nature from our spirit.
    Jeremiah 31 section 31-33 says: “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
    Ezekiel 36 section 24-27 says: “‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
    The prophecies are fulfilled when Jesus begin to teach love. The two greatest commandments are ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Love is above the Laws and if people have love they are not under the bondage of the Laws. If a person who is full of love will not think about stealing or giving false testimony but will give needy people what they need. The Laws are for people who commit sins. Nobody will say that he will get reward because he does not steal before. But love is the grace we get. And with love we will get eternal life.
    Romans 13 section 8-10 says: Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
    Luke 17 section 20-21 says: Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say,’ Here it is,’ or ‘ There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
    John 4 section 23-23 says: Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

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