February 15, 2016
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,
No sooner are we two verses in to the genealogy of Jesus (formerly known as fly-over country), than we realize this is a multi-season series and we are coming in at season 42 or so. Imagine starting something like Downton Abbey at season five. It would be interesting and you could probably pick up the storyline and enjoy the show, but it wouldn’t take long before you wanted to go back to season one and start binge-watching. Going back to season one and following it forward always makes the present season come alive at so many more levels.
The best series television shows have mastered the art of telling you the back story in those one minute, “Previously on . . . .” re-views. They reconnect us to the big story by reorienting us to our place in it. There’s a sense in which that’s exactly what Matthew is up to with his genealogy. He’s giving us the “Previously on Rogue Nation” re-view. He’s telling us if we really want to understand Jesus we will need to go back to season one with Abraham and binge read our way forward. In still another way, Matthew is saying if we really want to understand Abraham, we will need to go back to season one after we journey through season 42. In other words, as we indicated yesterday, Abraham and his lineage get their meaning and significance from Jesus.
Verse 2 calls on the patriarchal trinity in and through whom the Old Testament coheres. The common Old Testament parlance frequently frames it as, “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” In essence, Matthew has just pointed us to chapters twelve through fifty of the book of Genesis.
Perhaps one of the most obvious yet overlooked facts is that the Bible—first, middle and last—is about a family. It’s about the family of God. To be sure, the metaphors of God as sovereign king and as righteous Lawgiver and as just and merciful Judge all come into play. However, the big story here is the story of a family. After all, at the heart of all that exists is the story of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
It makes sense that Matthew would begin the story with a genealogy doesn’t it? Because this family is our family, it means this genealogy will come to mean more and more to us as we follow Jesus, from whom the whole family takes its name and in whom the whole family lives and moves and has its being. The genealogy alone will teach us extraordinary things about Jesus. Stay tuned.
1. We so often think of the Bible and salvation through the lenses of God’s sovereignty and righteousness; God as King, Law giver and Judge. It seems though that the primary storyline of Scripture is that of family with God as good Father. What are the implications of this for salvation?
2. How would you construct the “Previously in the Story of My Family” re-view. What parts of your own family story are you most proud of? What parts would you rather not be told?
3. Do you think you could recount the storyline of Genesis to another person? A child? How would you do it? So many of us think of Genesis as bible stories from which to glean truth and wisdom. We need to understand them more as THE Bible Story. It’s only from the bigger story that the stories get their meaning.
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. email@example.com.