February 19, 2016
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
Today we reach the end of the quite unusual genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of Abraham, son of David. From here we will move to his quite extraordinary birth then on to his extraordinary life and death and resurrection. Before we do that, though, let’s take one last big picture view of the big story. Here’s a quick and somewhat imprecise order.
Creation and Fall: Genesis 1-11
Abraham to Israel: Genesis 12-50
Egypt to the Promised Land: Exodus to Joshua
Tribal Leaders to Prophets & Kings: Judges to 2 Chronicles to Prophets
Exile to Return from Exile: Ezra to Nehemiah and on.
Between the last word of the Old Testament to the first words of the New Testament we have four hundred years of silence. Into this silence and onto the stage of this now provincial territory of Rome comes the Son of God. Everyone is looking for him to restore the land to Israel and Israel to its rightful place in the Kingdom of God.
The Gospel will unfold a quite unexpected story with an unconventional Messiah. The Creator steps into the Creation. The King comes to bring his Kingdom. The Son comes to restore the human family to its merciful Father. The Prophet comes to speak truth to so-called power. The High Priest comes to preside at the Table in the presence of his enemies and to open an entrance into the Most Holy Place. The Good Shepherd comes to gather the least and the last and the lost and reincorporate them into the community. The Lamb of God comes to take away the sins of the world. The story is as astonishingly implausible as it is unfathomably true. This is our story.
So where do we stand in this story of ours? We live in the age of the Holy Spirit, between the comings of the Lord. He sits in the heavens at the right hand of God where he intercedes for his whole Creation and gives leadership to his Church. Yes, there is an embodied human person who sits in the heavens; not an ethereal place of clouds and fat little angels but the fullest and final dimension of reality whose complete manifestation yet awaits the end of the age. We tend to think of Heaven as “up there somewhere.” I have come to think of Heaven as always immediately and almost immanently present to us—just through the thin veil of what we see.
We are now stepping into the unfolding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the beginning of the end of sin and death and the promise of the unfathomable goodness of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. The genealogy has brought us to basecamp. Now we look to the mighty summit.
1. Do you have a good big picture working understanding of the story of God as revealed in Scripture? Where do you need help?
2. How does this bigger picture of the biblical story help you understand the story of the Gospel better? How does it change your perspective?
3. How will reading the Gospel of Matthew be different for you this time? How will you be a different reader?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.