Today I read two genealogies. One begins with Abraham and traces Joseph’s line to Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17). The other begins with God, who made Adam, and traces Mary’s line to Jesus (Luke 3:23-38). Why are these lists important?
The gospel writers are presenting Jesus as the promised Messiah, the fulfillment of hundreds of O.T. prophecies. The genealogies offer evidence that Jesus fulfilled at least five of them simply based on who is listed in Jesus’ lineage.
- All nations would be blessed through Abraham. (Genesis 12:3, Acts 3:25-26)
- The promised blessing will come through Isaac (not Ishmael as Islam teaches). (Genesis 17:19, Romans 9:7)
- The nations would be blessed through Jacob. (Genesis 18:24)
- The everlasting king/kingdom would come through Judah (Genesis 49:10)
- The eternal kingdom would come through David (2 Samuel 7:12-13)
The blessing to the nations has already been fulfilled: Jesus provided salvation. The eternal, spiritual kingdom is fulfilled, but the physical kingdom of Jesus is yet to come.
Included in these lists are the names of many faithful, godly servants of God, but also several “notables.” Judah’s line runs through Perez, the son of his daughter-in-law, Tamar, whom he unknowingly took as a prostitute (she tricked him). Rahab, the Canaanite prostitute married into the family. Ruth, a Moabite woman was King David’s Great-Grandmother. David’s line continued through Solomon, whose mother was Bathsheba, the woman David took in adultery and had her husband murdered to cover his sin. Manasseh, one of the most wicked kings ever to sit on the throne is listed.
Here’s the takeaway. How much credit or blame do you place on your parents, grandparents, and ancestors for the person you are? Do you think your heritage has “held you back” because of its failures, or “given you a leg up” because of its successes? The truth is, not one person on that list made Jesus who He was. He was spiritually born of a virgin (a story we’ll read tomorrow). The only heritage that mattered in making Jesus who He was, was the life given by the Holy Spirit, the divine nature of God.
As believers, we too, have spiritual life. When we become children of God, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us, and we are made into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Your past doesn’t matter. Your parents’ choices are irrelevant. Stop looking back. Your parents’ sin doesn’t define you, and their godliness doesn’t justify you. Instead, ask God to help you live the life He gave you by His Spirit. That’s the only heritage that should matter to us.