This is the family history, the genealogy, of Jesus the Anointed, the coming King. You will see in this history that Jesus is descended from King David, and that He is also descended from Abraham. [Matthew 1:1, The Voice]
Most families have a historian who spends hours drawing a detailed family tree. For the Bratchers it’s my brother Dick, a vice-president at a college in Virginia. Despite that busy career, for over twenty years he’s visited courthouses in Kentucky and North Carolina and done research online. He’s collected bits of family lore from great-uncles and cousins and talked to historians whose families intersect with ours. He’s even done DNA research. Family history is more than a hobby for Dick: it’s a labor of love.
The Importance of Genealogy
Every few years the clan descended from Lewis Malen Bratcher and Artie Porter Bratcher meets for a family reunion. Dick presents the results of his ongoing research. Bratchers…
- descended from a Hugenot group that migrated to Switzerland
- came to America before the Revolution
- migrated south through Kentucky as roads were built
This year as I looked around the meeting room at forty people aged 18 months to 92 years, I realized the importance of Dick’s research. Our family history…
- gives us a past by showing how our individual stories are interconnected
- shows me I am who I am largely because of the actions of people long dead
- reminds me my actions affected who my daughter is
- reminds me my actions will affect people who aren’t born yet
The Importance of Jesus’ Genealogy
Matthew’s gospel opens with Jesus’ family history. The genealogy begins with Father Abraham, continues through King David and ends with the young girl Mary. This family tree serves several important purposes. It shows…
- how Jesus fulfills the Messianic prophecies
- how important women’s stories were to who Jesus was
- how God uses sinful people to accomplish God’s will
- that Gentiles were part of Jesus’ ancestry
Preparing for Christmas
As you get ready for Christmas over two thousand years after Jesus’ birth, take time to consider what Jesus’ family history tells us about him. Look up the stories connected to the names. Think about how Abraham’s willingness to follow God’s voice into the wilderness set the stage for Jesus. Think about how Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi played an important role in Jesus’ family history. Look up Tamar’s story and Rahab’s story. Consider how our Eternal God brought about Incarnation through flawed people who lived messy, complicated, sinful lives.
Eternal God, thank you for weaving together the lives of people long ago into the tapestry of Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection. Take our messy, complicated, sinful lives and use them for Your purposes. Amen.