The Gospel of Mathew – the beginning of the New Testament canon starts off with a genealogy. I know – hardly inspirational stuff – and not the way I would have begun a new beginning, or started a story as spectacular as the life, death and resurrection of the Christ.
Whilst a genealogy isn’t initially riveting, nor apparently even compelling, on second glance it is both of these and more. Much more.
It had the reason for establishing the credentials of Jesus, and placing him historically in the line of both the great David and the infamous Adam. He had his place and that mattered. He was connected directly to the people who figured in Jewish history.
And that was enough for Matthew to start his stunning document of the new King.
But to me, to you, hardly versed in the necessities of genealogies, another theme shines through. It is the people in the lists. While many of them pass us by without much more than a nod there are a few that just don’t belong – belong that is if we were writing the lists to verify someone as amazing as the Messiah. I would have made sure I got the creme de la creme – royalty lined up like ducks. But not Matthew.
He has included Rahab, the prostitute from Jericho, Ruth the young lady from an enemy of Israel, Moab, and for goodness sake, Solomon – an essentially illegitimate child (he was the result of David’s plotting and murdering). What a mess.
Yet this is the very grist of redemption. Out of the worst of behaviours and the most unlikely of peoples God oversaw the birth of the Christ – Jesus. If they can be included in the holy genealogy of the very Messiah it is unlikely God will reject us or think us undeserving of his love and grace. Nobody is beyond being included.
In fact our names are in a new book – a book of the holy and forever family of the Messiah. And that in spite of the worst of our behaviours.
What a mess! – What a saviour!!