God’s People, part 132: Genealogy

Read Matthew 1:1-17

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

family-treePart 132: Genealogy. One of the biggest problems that many folks have with reading the Bible is the long lists of genealogy that they come upon. When reading, it can get to be quite monotonous and rather boring because these names mean absolutely nothing to the reader. It’s like being a young child watching family slides of people who came before you, but you never met. Our attention span just doesn’t often hold on and as children we don’t quite understand the significance of what we are watching.

Keeping with that analogy thought, does our lack of understanding stay with us through our lives? No, of course not. In fact, many adult spend countless hours researching family records on web sites such as Ancestry.com. The older I get the more and more important my family roots become to me. I may not have known my great, great grandfather Jacob William Lattig, but knowing that I am the great, great, grandson of an inventor who personally knew the likes of Thomas Edison…yeah, pretty cool.

But how do I know about him? Simple, my parents passed down the stories of their parents and the parents before them. In other words, much of my interest in my family genealogy stems from the oral tradition in my family passing down from generation to generation.

Therein, lies the key to understanding the genealogy of the Bible. Genealogies are meant to be passed down orally to those for whom the genealogy is relevant. Beyond that, we have looked at most of the major characters throughout the entire Old Testament and so, many of the names you’ll read in Jesus’ lineage are names you’ll be familiar with. Familiarity helps make the genealogy more exciting and it also helps us to see what God is doing the overarching scheme of things.

Here’s the news for you, the genealogy of Jesus in the New Testament IS RELEVANT to you as a Christian. Why? Because it is your Spiritual lineage as well. As Christians who have imbued ourselves with Christ’s presence within us, we have been included into Christ’s family. Thus, it is important for us to not only recognize the unfolding of God’s salvation plan through Christ’s genealogy, it is also important to recognize our part in that plan. Let us be challenged to begin to go deeper into Scripture and view those “boring” parts with a more mature eye so that we may begin to appreciate all that God has done for us!

We have been adopted into God’s family through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord, help me to have a more mature outlook on the Bible so that I may grow in my faith and in my understanding. Amen.

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