Jesus’ genealogy, recorded in Matthew 1, usually is a hard section of Scripture for me to read (as it is with other genealogies in the Bible). Maybe it is the repetition. Or maybe it is the hard names for me to pronounce. Whatever it is, I am quick to skip over it and move on to the “Christmas Story.” But let us pause today as we embark on this Christmas Season to contemplate the importance of Jesus’ genealogy.
Jesus’ genealogy is rooted in history – because these people really lived and these events really did happen, we need to consider what their lives say. The Bible is not a book of fables for us to glean moral values for our lives. Rather it is about God Who is working to save people who have rebelled and therefore live in a broken world with sin, suffering, and sadness.
Jesus’ genealogy connects the Old and New Testament – the Old and New Testaments aren’t at odds with each other, telling two different stories, telling about two different Gods, describing two different ways of salvation. Rather it is one true story, telling about one God who provides one way of salvation from sin and eternal wrath through “His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
Jesus’ genealogy testifies of God’s faithfulness – as your eyes skim the names of the people in Jesus’ family tree ponder on the promises – the covenants – God made to individuals, to His people, and ultimately to all humanity. The promises of home, children, blessing, discipline, redemption, forgiveness, a Messiah, salvation, and an eternal, peaceful reign; Some of these promises are already kept, others not yet completely realized. But our God is faithful, there is no changing or shifting shadow in His character (James 1:17).
Jesus’ genealogy describes how Jesus humbly became human – the Son, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and Spirit took on flesh. But He did not come as an honored king or a victorious warrior. No. He came as a poor baby. Jesus lived in this world of suffering, sorrow, and temptation – “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) Only Jesus could have been our perfect sacrifice to suffer in our stead.
So let the name that the Angel told Joseph to give to Jesus resonate a little deeper in our hearts this Christmas season – Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23).