January 1

Text: Matthew 1:1-17

“Genealogy!  How can a genealogy be devotional thinking?  Boring!  Genealogies are to be skipped or at least read fast—they are just names we cannot pronounce.”  Really?  Is it okay to ask you to consider some interesting, thought-provoking things about this genealogy?

This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ.  The purpose is to connect Jesus to Abraham.  “Why was that so important?”  It was extremely important to a Jewish reader!  The entire nation of Israel descended from Abraham.  There was no Israel or Israelite before Abraham! 

God made Abraham a promise in Genesis 12:3b—through Abraham’s descendants would come a blessing that had the potential of benefiting every family (clan???) on earth—quite a promise!  If Jesus was to be accepted by Israelites as a fulfillment of God’s ancient promise to Abraham, it was essential that Jesus have an established genealogical link with Abraham. 

It was like saying, “God keeps His promises!”  Is that really important?  If you did not believe that God’s keeping His promises was trustworthy, it is unlikely you would seek devotional thoughts from the Bible.

Next, in the genealogy there are four women mentioned by name and another referred to.  In our society that does not sound like much emphasis.  However, in the “man’s world” of Old and New Testament  Israel, it was astounding that women were mentioned at all.  The women selected are  amazing! Tamar dressed like a temple prostitute deliberately to seduce her father-in-law, Judah (Genesis 38).  Rahab was a non-Israelite prostitute (Joshua 2:1-7; 6:22-25).  Ruth was a Moabite (Ruth 1:4).  Bathsheba was an adulteress (2 Samuel 11:1-5).  Mary was a pregnant, unmarried, engaged Jewish lady (Matthew 1:18). 

Why not select women who had no hint of scandal?  Two suggestions: (1) Jesus was Abraham’s direct descendant, but there also were unusual people in his lineage.  (2) God does not do things as we would do them.  God’s actions are not limited to human logic.

Suggestion for reflection: Consider a flexible God who cares about everyone.  (Read Genesis 12:1-3.)

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