Matthew 1: 1 – 6
This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.
A friend of mine asked his congregation which Book of the Bible they would like him to preach his way through. When all the responses were tallied up (and there was a lot of them) Matthew was the clear “winner”. The problem being that it was July!
But a deal is a deal, so he started into Matthew’s version of the Gospel, and the congregation enjoyed singing Christmas carols during a summer heatwave! Either by luck or good management he actually managed to arrive at the Easter story at just the right time in the spring.
The start of Matthew, and indeed the New Testament, is this long list of generations from Abraham all the way to Joseph, showing his “pedigree”, and a lot has been written about why it is so extensive, the number of the generations from Abraham to David and the David to Joseph all of which provides hours of entertainment on a wet Wednesday afternoon for those of a certain mind set!
For most people though it is a passage that can be skipped, after all who really needs to know who begat who?
Another minister I know though, did go through the whole list name by name and giving brief biographies of each of them, in particular the women, some of who’s morality was even more dubious than that of the menfolk listed.
At the end of the service as people were leaving, a lady hung back until the end of the queue then asked if she could talk. The conversation went along the lines of her thanking him for going through the list of generations listing warts and all. Then she said ‘I have a six-year-old son and I have no idea who his father is’. For many years she had been in a bad place, addicted to drugs, and in order to finance her addiction she prostituted herself.
When she discovered she was pregnant she quit the drugs and the prostitution, and slowly, and with a lot of hard work and the occasional setback she succeeded in getting her life back on track, and the church played a significant role in that process. What had troubled her for years though, was what would she tell her son about her former life. Now, she said, she could tell him about the women on that list and how God had been able to use them no matter what they had done, and that everyone could be of use to God if they just listened.
Very true, and a lesson for us all. God can use us and our gifts no matter, for he sees the inner person, not what the world sees.
Lord God, our loving Father in Heaven, we pray for all those who find it hard to find their way to you. May we be a doorway and not an obstruction to your calling. Help us to help our fellows seeking your peace.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,