“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, descendant of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1 (NIV)
Have you ever met people and after telling them your name, they say, “Oh! You’re so-and-so’s daughter!” or “I know your sister!” – they automatically connect you with someone in your family? That can be frustrating, especially if it’s a teacher who didn’t like your sibling and now your reputation is connected to his or hers. We often do not like being known by someone else’s name.
The Gospel of Matthew begins by going through all of Jesus’ ancestors. This genealogy is the long list of the people Jesus was related to. So why is it there? Why a long list of names, “so-and-so was the father of so-and-so”?
Throughout Scripture, people are referred to as the sons or daughters of a person, and each time, it’s because the relative’s reputation is important. In biblical times, being called the son of someone was an honor and gave you all the benefits of being a part of that family. Being called the son or daughter of someone also gave everyone an indication of what you would be like.
The genealogy of Jesus does all of these things for Him, as the Gospel of Matthew prepares to tell us about Jesus’ life story and ministry. Though God was Jesus’ Father, the author lays out the human line from which Jesus descended. That line included people from Jewish history that were incredibly important and had huge reputations, men such as Abraham and David, and women such as Tamar and Rahab. In listing these names, Jesus is being shown to come from an honorable family, a family of kings, because Jesus is the King of Kings.
Elsewhere, Jesus is referred to as “the son of” or by another connection to His descendants. Each time, the author reminds us of Jesus’ connection to real people, even though He is the Son of God. In mentioning those real people, Jesus becomes associated with highly respected Jewish men and women. Before Jesus became well-known as a miracle worker or a prophet, those family associations told people He could be trusted.
It’s not always easy being associated with someone else, but the next time you’re frustrated because your teacher keeps calling you by your older sister’s name, remember God put you in your family for a reason, and being associated with your siblings, parents, or grandparents can be one of the biggest compliments you’ll ever receive.
Also, not only are you a part of an earthly family, but you are also part of a heavenly one. Every time someone calls you a Christian, they are saying that you are related to Christ. And you are! Being connected to Jesus is an honor, and definitely sets a reputation up for you. Isn’t it cool to be a member of the family of God?!
Heavenly Father, You have called us Your children. Thank You so much for taking us into Your family, and for letting us be called by Your name. Every time someone calls us a Christian, help us remember that they are saying we are related to You. Help us to live in such a way that we honor our family name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ponder: Galatians 4:7, “Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you're also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.” (The Message)
Apply: Read through Matthew 1:1-17, which is the full genealogy of Jesus. Are there are any names you don’t recognize? Look them up to find out more about Jesus’ earthly family.
Read: Wisdom on Getting Along with Parents by Mark Matlock
Share: What is one thing you love about your family that makes you proud to call them your family? What do you think about being a member of God’s family?
© 2009-2010 by Katie Rath. All rights reserved.
Katie Rath, age 23, lives in Winston-Salem, NC. Katie works with youth and young women at Pinedale Christian Church. She loves playing cards, drinking coffee, and realizing how to live out the Kingdom. She really doesn't like ladybugs or getting deodorant marks on her shirt. Every morning when she wakes up, she looks in the mirror and asks God to make her look a little more like Him, and that's also her prayer for all of you.