Day One: Monday, June 8th, 2020
Bible Lesson: Matthew 1:1-25
Reflection from Pastor Wayne Eberly:
What an introduction! The first verse of the first book of the New Testament declares that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is the son of David, and that Jesus is the son of Abraham.
- Christ identifies Jesus as the Anointed One, the Expected One.
- Son of David identifies Jesus with the golden age of Israel’s kingdom and the promise that one day a new king would arrive who was in the line and lineage of David.
- Son of Abraham identifies Jesus with all the promises given through the father of our faith. Through Abraham God had promised that all peoples on earth would be blessed.
The genealogy that follows clearly connects Jesus to his ancestors David and Abraham. From Abraham and Sarah, old in age and without offspring until their child of laughter named Isaac was born, the genealogy rises toward the great king David. But from David the genealogy begins a steep descent that ends in deep despair and dismay as the people are carried to their bitter exile in Babylon. From the exile the genealogy begins another ascent, the one that culminates in the coming of the Christ child.
But this is not only the story of a king from the line of David. Abraham reminds us of the far-reaching intentions of God to bless the whole earth, to bless all the peoples of the earth. If we race through the genealogy we might miss the names of the women whose presence boldly hints at the expansiveness of God’s grace. You might find great benefit in reviewing the stories of the women who are only mentioned by name.
- Tamar: Genesis 38
- Rahab: Joshua 2
- Ruth: This special woman merits a whole book in the Bible, found right after Judges in the Old Testament
- The wife of Uriah (Bathsheba): II Samuel 11
Matthew has carefully included ones who others might have chosen to exclude. Knowing that these women have a place in the genealogy of Jesus serves to put us on notice that Jesus will enter a world that is not neatly tied together like a fairy tale. The genealogy of Jesus is a powerful demonstration that God is able to work with real human lives in bringing a real human birth to one who will be a real Savior for this very real world. Knowing the challenging situations faced by the women in the genealogy prepares us to be with Joseph and Mary in their uncomfortable, and indeed scandalous predicament.
The one born out of this scandalous predicament will save his people from their sins. Indeed, the one born out of this scandalous situation will be God himself, God incarnate. You shall call him Immanuel, which means, “God is with us.”
Regarding Joseph and the appearance of
the angel, Aaron Klink writes, “The message part of this
text brings is that unexpected things, things outside of
convention can often be wonderful signs that God is at
work. Amid all our less-than-picture-perfect Christmases,
the Christmas trees that are not quite as perfect as we
want them to be, the lives that are not as perfect as we
want them to be, God does something new. Somehow
Joseph has to trust this strange news: That this child is
from the Holy Spirit; that he already has a name, Jesus;
and that he will save people from their sins…as Mary
and Joseph journeyed to this first Christmas, they did
not know where God would take them; all they knew
was that something wonderful had been promised and
that they had been beckoned to follow. So too the text
calls us to rise and follow God’s call, not knowing
where the journey will take us, or the path that God has
set us on.” (Aaron Klink, Feasting on the Word, Year A,
Volume 1, pgs. 94 and 96)