Two Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke give us the genealogies of Jesus Christ. They have different approaches; therefore, their genealogies differ from each others. The Gospel of Matthew makes a great deal of the genealogy of Jesus Christ before describing his birth in Bethlehem. Matthew, in fact, is quite comprehensive in relating the lineage of Jesus Christ. If you are honest, you may confess that more often than not you have skipped the reading when it comes to the genealogies. Come on, who is interested in reading about begettings and who wants to know who was the father of whom? These genealogies are, however, very significant to the birth narrative of Jesus. The gospel writer wants to show us that in the birth of Jesus Christ, God is acting in accordance with his past actions in the history. Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem is consistent with God’s dealings with historical people such as Abraham, Jacob, Solomon, and David. The incarnation of God in Bethlehem in the form of a baby is not an abrupt action of God out of his desperation to save the world. Rather, this narrative of Jesus has a beginning even before his birth and has a sequence, too.
The beginning and the sequence of the story of Jesus are both very interesting and insightful. To relate just one example, the beginning of the story has all sorts of people who make the ancestry of Jesus—both saints as well as sinners. God has used in the past both scheming as well as noble people, the righteous and the not-so-righteous people, the blue-blooded Jews as well as the not-so-pure a bloodline. This is what makes these genealogies “good news” for the gospel writer and their immediate audience as well as for us today! This story of Jesus, which has a beginning, also has a sequence in the same way. God the Father has continued to work through the same mélange even after the birth of Jesus. This is clearly visible in the gospel narratives about disciples with whom Jesus worked and who carried out the mission of Christ to the ends of the world in those days. They were the same kind of people as we notice in the beginning of the ancestry of Jesus. They were real people with successes and failures…with great love and passion for the Lord as well at times when they botched up everything. You might also notice that toward the end of Matthew’s genealogy included are some people conspicuous by their insignificance and ignobility. This, in fact, is very encouraging to me in this Advent season. I believe, we should deliberately include a reading of the genealogies in our Scriptures readings in the church as well as in our personal devotions during the Advent. It is because of these genealogies that we have hope and assurance of our place and role in the salvation story of Jesus Christ. You and I, who may be unknown to the world and feel ourselves insignificant, are the very essential part of the sequence of the story of God. You may feel today that you are too insignificant and too riffraff to contribute anything to the continuing sequence of the ever-expanding story of Jesus Christ. But the past beginning of this wonderful story proves otherwise. The past beginning provides us hope, confidence, destiny and an opportunity to get involved in what God is doing in and for the world. It is an empowering and enabling genealogy and it invites you to come and get involved with God than watch and wait on the sidelines. May you heed to this invitation of the Holy Spirit in your life, today.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.