christmas at fbj blog
by: Tom Washburn
Adults with Seniority
The Hope for All
Christmas is full of surprises. People you don’t expect to see, gifts you didn’t expect to get, pounds you didn’t expect to gain. Expect the unexpected at Christmas. Let’s discover one of the biggest surprises of Christmas in a very unusual place. That place is easy to skip over when you are reading God’s Word. The place I mean, is in the first chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, in that seemingly boring genealogy of Jesus. In this seldom dusted corner of God’s Word, you and I can find the wonderful gift of HOPE.
Matthew makes sure we are well aware of Jesus’ “pedigree.” The ancient Jews didn’t need 23 and Me, because they knew their heritage. These were folks very aware of their ancestry. It is vital to them that Matthew prove that Jesus is a “pure-blooded” Jew, who could trace His ancestry to Abraham and King David. If Matthew can’t quickly show his first readers this important connection, then they are not going to be open to reading this account. Matthew does this so well that the enemies of Jesus never thought about questioning His ancestral line, to dispute Jesus’ claims.
Every family tree has a bad apple, I suppose, and Matthew makes a point to include those in Jesus’ family tree. Amongst the heroes of faith, there are folks in this list who have moral failures, and those whose pride led to the division of their nation. There are rough characters in this list among the good ones. Matthew presents the factual genealogy, warts and all! And in doing so, reminds us that Jesus had outlaws for in-laws! Christmas reminds us there is HOPE FOR SINNERS!
And goodness, Matthew dares to do the unthinkable in that day – he included WOMEN! Rahab is listed, and her profession surely would have excluded her. And get this, some of the women were not even Jewish. Do you hear Matthew reminding us that there is HOPE FOR OUTSIDERS. There are so many ways we can feel like an outsider today, but take heart – Jesus understands, and includes outsiders!
Tamar is another in the list, and her story reminds us that families sometimes fail. Those with failed families find HOPE WITH OUR LORD.
Those in this genealogy with less than stellar pasts, might make us ask “WHY?” But Jesus, Himself, answers that in Matthew 9, when He says, “I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Apparently failed lives are welcome in Jesus’ family! The HOPE of Christmas is that Jesus calls us all to Himself like we are, and He changes us!
One last group worth a quick look, would be the nine names in this list who are not known to scholars. There are nine names listed that don’t appear anywhere else in the Bible. What a great reminder that there is HOPE FOR THOSE WHO FEEL FORGOTEN. It is easy to feel forgotten this time of year. If you feel like nobody knows you or remembers you, find comfort in this list of nine included folks nobody knows!
The fact that Jesus chose these outlaws, these hurting people, these foreign people and these unknown people, is a great reminder for us that He choses us! Hear today His wonderful invitation: “WHOSOEVER will, may come”. Come to Jesus and find the HOPE you have been looking for.
The HOPE of Christmas is that Jesus calls us all to Himself like we are, and He changes us!