“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:” (Matthew 1:1)
I don’t remember the first time I heard someone say, “God writes straight with crooked lives,” but over the years I’ve come to learn the truth of that statement. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the first chapter of Matthew as he shows us how the Promise was handed down and made its way through some rough people.
As you study the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, you find that God’s Son came to us in all-too-human hands. Those hands were not immune to the terror and trauma of everyday life. As you read the names, you see people who are sinful and unworthy of grace…just like you and me.
What a gang of folks is this list of those who bear the message of Christmas to fulfillment. From reading Jesus’ family tree, I learn that no matter what kind of background we come from, no mater how insignificant we feel, no matter how inadequate we, God can, and God wants to use us to hand His promise of salvation to the next generation. God wants you and me to carry the promise of Christmas to somebody else. If people like those in Matthew can make it on the list…I think God can certainly use you and me to pass the faith on from one generation to the next.
Let me mention the last group in Matthew’s crowd that I find truly incredible. It’s Abi’ud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Mattan, and Jacob, the father of Mary’s husband Joseph. Do you know why I think that’s such an incredible list? Pick up a Bible concordance and you’ll find out why. Every other name Matthew gives us in the genealogy can be found somewhere else in the Old Testament, somewhere else in Israel’s history. But the names in the last group don’t appear anywhere. They are anonymous. They are nobodies. They simply make a cameo appearance in Matthew 1, and then they are gone.
Dalphon Thompson, Cornelia Sumner, Mildred Jenkins, John Galloway. Have you ever heard their names? Probably not. Why? They were my pastor when I got saved, my preschool Sunday school teacher, my high school Sunday school teacher, and the man who taught me how to whistle. They are anonymous bearers of the Christmas message. And you have a list of names like this too. You have an Abi’ud, an Eliakim, an Azor, a Zadok and an Eleazar. The ones who told you the Christmas story — the ones who bore the promise.
Anonymous…yet remembered. Insignificant, yet instrumental. Each one of us heard the Gospel from someone who got it from someone who experienced it through someone long gone. But they are there.
As you celebrate Christmas this week, I simply ask you this. Where does this wonderful Gospel story go from here? You’ve heard the Gospel, you have been embraced by the grace of God…and now…who will you share the Promise with? Are you ready? Carry this wonderful Christmas Gospel to the world!
Edna and I are thankful for all of you who faithfully read this little blog. I’m humbled that anybody would care a bit about the things I have to say, so your friendship through this medium is very special to me. May God richly bless you and your family this Christmas season.