What’s the Meaning in the List
When I first begun reading the Bible seriously, I remember starting with Matthew and the first thing I came to was this long list of names. It made no sense to me, I recognized a few names from Sunday School, but it just seemed like a boring list to me. I just skipped over it and when I got to Luke’s list I did the same. About a year later, I was asked to be on a Bible Quiz team with my friend, Danielle and some of our girlfriends, we literally had to memorize parts of the book of Matthew (Most of the teams memorizedthe whole book, but our team split it up). And my first job was to memorize Matthew chapter one: The List.
At first, I was just memorizing for the sake of memorizing, but after awhile I started to wonder who are these people and why are they listed in Matthew’s first chapter. Why is it so important? Well, they are Jesus’ ancestors. It was important to show the Jewish people the family line that Jesus would come out of. In the Old Testament, it was foretold that the Savior would come from the line of David, so Matthew had to set out to prove it. This List traces Jesus’ ancestors from his earthly father Joseph back to David and then all the way back to Abraham. So let’s look from the beginning…. Abraham (Genesis 12-24), this guy must be pretty important, he has half a book of the Bible dedicated to his story. You might be confused at first because his name used to be Abram, God changed it along his journey. I would think that God would choose perfect upstanding citizens for Jesus’ earthly relatives, but I would be wrong. Abram lies, telling people that his wife was his sister, so that they would spare his life.
David (1 Samuel 16 – 2 Samuel), now this guy must be a perfect ancestor, he starts out great as the little boy chosen to fight the giant, Goliath and then was chosen as king of God’s people. But like all of us, David was a human who made mistakes. David ends up having an affair with another man’s wife, getting her pregnant and having her husband killed. Now that is a little more severe than the white lie that Abraham told to protect his life.
Joseph (Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2), this is where you might think if Jesus is the Son of God, then why does it matter who Joseph was? It was an important part of God’s plan to have Jesus have an earthly father, who connected him to David and all the way back to Abraham. And Joseph was that. He also chose to stay with Mary and protect her from certain death, for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Without Joseph’s heritage and marriage to Mary, God’s plan would not have worked.
God has a plan for all of us. At times scripture may seem unimportant or boring, but it is all God breathed. He has purpose in every word and name.
It is our joy to discover it for ourselves. Lord, please continue to open our hearts and minds to what you have for us in your word.