Friday, March 14, 2014

Son of David, Part 4

The final of the scripture triplet in this Sunday school lesson is in Matthew, chapter 1.  The first chapter of the book of Matthew explains in great detail the connections between Jesus and David - “a record of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham.” (1:1). Matthew is very careful to make sure we (and the Jewish readers of the book at the time following Jesus) don't miss the point.  Jesus is descended form David.

This was important to the Jews of the time, who were waiting in expectation – remember, they knew the promises that had been made, so they were anticipating salvation from the line of David.  Matthew takes special care to show them this connection.
Read Matthew 1:18-21:   Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’
Years ago I was a student in Chuck Echol's Bethel Teachers’ class.  One of the things I learned, that I had never seen before, was the “big picture” of the bible.  The student book author reminds us that to see God’s divine plan for the world, we have to zoom out – years, generations, time and space.  Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s plan, begun perhaps outside the garden, when sin first arrived on the scene.  I think that might be one of the reasons why the genealogy is important for us – it helps us to see the big picture – God at work in the world.

So what does all of this mean to us?  We are gentiles, grafted into the tree of the family.  The lineage of Jesus is not just a biological one, but is also a spiritual one, and we have been adopted. Think about family stories – do you know the stories of your family?  Do they link you back to people who came before? Do you tell them to your children to continue that link?  "Every time the church gathers and tells the stories – of Abraham, of Moses, of Elijah, of David and Bathsheba – we are telling family stories.  These are our great grandparents in the faith.  We need to know the stories well enough to tell them to our children and their children so that the stories become their stories as well as ours.

"We have the same mission as did the family of Abraham and the descendants of David – to be a blessing and a sign of God’s grace and love to the people of the world."

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