Heritage Matters

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).

The Gospel of Matthew begins with 17 verses of genealogy–lots of names that can be tedious reading.  There are many such passages in Scripture, and while we may not find them overly interesting, they are nonetheless important.  As Matthew 1:1 points out, the purpose of this family tree is to show that Jesus is directly connected to both David and Abraham.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham (then named Abram) in Genesis 12, that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  And, Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 7, that David’s descendant would reign as King forever.

By charting out Jesus’s family tree and showing his readers that Jesus is directly descended from both Abraham and David, Matthew shows us that Jesus is in fact qualified to fulfill both these promises.  Then, starting in verse 18, Matthew shows us that not only is Jesus the son of Abraham and the son of David but that he is also the Son of God.

As I read these verses, I was prompted to ask myself, “Where did you come from?  What is your background?  Never forget your heritage, no matter how far you go.”  I believe that our pasts, whether good or bad, can be used for good in God’s greater plan.  None of us were accidents, although some of us were surprises :-), we each were carefully planned by the Creator himself!  Where we’ve come from shapes who we are and is all part of God’s sovereign plan.

My prayer for us this week is that we will find the time to take a moment and consider our heritage.  Where have we come from, and where are we going?  What legacy do we want to leave as a heritage for our kids and grandkids?  May the Lord lead you to use your past to bless another this week.

Greater Than John

“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11, NIV).

If belonging to the Kingdom puts us in spiritual leadership positions on par (or even greater, as Jesus says) with men like John the Baptist, then I’d say we’re in good company!  But let’s be humble (like John was) and remember that we still have much work to do, and that we need the Spirit of God to empower and enable us to do it.  That brings to mind Hebrews 12:1-2a:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Prayer for this week: that we follow in the footsteps of great spiritual leaders in the Church while keeping our eyes on Christ, so that we may be filled with the Spirit to accomplish our calling.