There seems to be an increasing interest in genealogies and ancestry lately. Several companies advertise that you can send in a swab from your cheek and they can tell you what part of the world your ancestors inhabited.
This is a helpful trend for those of us preaching the Narrative Lectionary this weekend. The text is Matthew 1:1-17. It is the genealogy of Joseph. Be honest, it’s the part you skip over so you can get to the good stuff. I don’t blame you.
However, if we take the time to dwell in this passage we can discover some amazing things, and we don’t even have to send in a swab!
In this post I want to point out three things.
Matthew calls Jesus the Christ. This is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah. It is not a last name. It is even more than a title. We can look at it two ways. First, the Jews were waiting for the Messiah, the anointed leader sent by God, for centuries. Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise. Second, many theologians talk about the Cosmic Christ. The second person of the Trinity–the Word of God–is the incarnation of God in all things. Jesus is the particular, human incarnation of the Christ.
The genealogy of Matthew accomplishes two things:
- It traces the history of Israel from Abraham to Jesus. Jesus has come to finally fulfill God’s promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his offspring.
- It verifies that Jesus comes from the line of David, and is eligible to be the Messiah, the King of Israel.
Here is an interesting observation. The genealogy is broken into three parts. It is a trilogy. It follows a typical trilogy pattern.
Part One: The Rise of David, a New Hope.
Part Two: Fall into Exile, the Empire Strikes Back.
Part Three: The Coming of Jesus, Return of the Messiah (Jedi).
This is a fun way to frame the History of Israel.
I hope you are getting excited to study Matthew with us as we preach through it this winter up to Easter.
I’m drawing a Graphic Novel of Matthew to supplement the experience. Share this with your friends. Form a group to study the Gospel. Download the Easter App to listen to the podcasts and sermons.