Happy New Year. May the Lord's rich grace be upon you this year in the face of Jesus Christ. We've just finished celebrating the Christmas season (and if you're me, you are celebrating until January 6)--the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. As we have celebrated in our churches, from a variety of texts we've seen (hopefully) how the Scriptures constantly point to, typify (HERE), and find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Just this morning I was reading in Matthew 1 where we catch a glimpse of a genealogy of Jesus. I was so encouraged as I read. If you are like me, often times long lists of names in the Biblical text are unfortunately fodder for skipping because we assume that in that moment, something else will speak to us more. However, just a quick glimpse (and the Bible reading plan I am hoping to read again this year helped to set this up for me CLICK HERE) of this genealogy brought to mind many glimpses of God's ultimate plan and movement towards Grace or even more specifically, Biblical characters upon whom God lavished His grace:
Matt 1:3 "...Judah"- Just follow Judah throughout Scripture...both the person and the tribe. Moments of great failure, and then seeming moments of great promise (Gen 49:10)...our Christ is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
Matt 1:5 "...Salmon, the father of Boaz by Rahab"- Just go to Joshua chapter 2 and observe how God brings a pagan gentile into his covenant people by faith ...and oh, don't forget, she was a prostitute...a sexual transgressor...now a member of the covenant community by the grace of God. What hope! A sexual sinner, brought into God's people--God uses failures and people who fail.
Matt 1:5 "...Ruth"- A foreigner...a Moabite, (those who had come out of Lot's incestuous relationship back in Genesis) now an ancestor of Jesus. God's plan has always been about people from every nation... (Gen 12:3b, Gal 3:15-29, Rev 5:9)
Matt 1:6 "...Jesse the father of David"- Just this past month our family tried the advent tradition of a "Jesse Tree" for the first time-(thanks @timothywashere). Jesus fulfilled God's covenant with David (2 Sam 7) and was ultimately the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 11:10-Jesus is the root of Jesse. Jesus is the fulfillment and goal (telos) of covenant and prophecy.
Matt 1:6 "...by the wife of Uriah"- Even the murderous, adulterous work of David God used in His infinite Sovereignty to bring about his purposes. However, the text here still calls Bathsheba the "wife of Uriah". Perhaps a reminder of the sanctity of marriage (that of Uriah & Bathsheba), perhaps a reminder that as God mentions David in Matthew 1, he reminds readers of the sinful narrative...many implications could be made here, however, this tragic situation is a part of the ultimate coming of Christ.
Matt 1:10-The entire verse is a reminder of the painful, idolatrous, sinful history of the Kings. Manasseh, and Amon were wicked, rebellious, idolatrous leaders...at least one of whom sacrificed their own children on the pyre to other gods...and yet, there's also Hezekiah & Josiah...the revivalist Kings...all used to bring about the ultimate King of Kings...
Matt 1:11 "...at the time of the deportation to Babylon"- This little phrase gives us a reminder of a sad time in the Old Covenant people's history. God however brings salvation even in judgment (perhaps more on this theme can be explored HERE). The history and narrative of the Old Testament is purposeful: Jesus comes.
Undoubtedly there's so much more in this little genealogy...in fact, each name is a story of God's work, and whether God used that life to display his wrath or His grace, God receives glory and in the face of Jesus Christ...at the completion of this genealogy, the offer of grace is heralded to all who will freely receive (John 1:12, 16, Galatians 4:4-7)