Summary: A sermon based on Matthew’s account of the genealogy of Jesus
There seems to have been a big increase recently in people tracing their family history. I think those programmes on TV where famous people have researchers who do all the work have helped to increase the popularity. I’ve sometimes thought about trying to do it but I think it’s time consuming and I wonder sometimes whether I really want to know what might be found way back in the history of my family, what dark secrets may lie hidden centuries ago.
Girl asked mother – who made grandma (God); who made you (God), who made me (God) – well, he has improved a lot since he made grandma.
And I came across this poem which tickled me – many years ago when I was 23.
As we are about to enter Advent want to share some thoughts this afternoon about the genealogy of Jesus. It’s a fascinating list of people in the family tree of Jesus that you find in the beginning of Matthew’s gospel. Most family trees have some skeletons in the cupboard and, surprisingly, the family tree of Jesus also has its fair share, if not more than it’s fair share. Now don’t worry because I’m not going to comment on all the people in the list, just a few of them as I read it.
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
We read about Abraham in Genesis. You know that God called Abraham to leave his own country, his own people, his fathers’ household and set off and go somewhere. God didn’t tell Abraham where he was going to go, just set off and all will become clear. Strange thing to do but Abraham obeyed the Lord and set out.
God promised Abraham that he would his name great, make him into a great nation, he would be a blessing and all people would be blessed through him. So he set off with Sarah his wife. God promised that they would have a son. Now they both were getting on a bit, well past retirement and so when God promised them a son they laughed.
Of course as time went on an no son appeared they got more and more worried. So they decided to take matters into their own hands. Sarah said that it was the Lord who had stopped her having children, even though he’d promised them. So she came up with a plan for Abraham to sleep with her servant, Hagar, and they could have a child together. And, lo and behold, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son.
But Sarah wasn’t happy when she realised that Hagar was pregnant to her husband and she despised her and ill-treated her so much that Hagar fled. Eventually of course, when Abraham and Sarah left it to God, she did have a child who was called Isaac. And Abraham was in the line of Jesus.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
And there was Jacob, he was a real sneaky character. He was born clutching the heel of his brother Esau and twice he took the place of his brother, stole it.
Jacob was a quiet guy, a bit of a mummy’s boy really, he stayed at home and worked in the tents and did some cooking while Esau was a man’s man, a hunter who went out and about. One day Esau came back from a days hunting and wanted some food. He could smell the stew that Jacob was making and wanted some of it. But Jacob wasn’t playing ball and had a cunning plan.
He said that, if Esau wanted some of the stew he had to sell his birthright to him – his title to everything that being first born son men. Well, after a day in the fields hunting Esau was famished and tired so agreed. And he had a good meal.
But then later, when their father Isaac was lying on his death bed, sight gone and nearing the end of his life Jacob stole Esau’s blessing that Isaac gave to the first born. In league with their mother, Jacob dressed up as Esau – clothes and sheep skin to make his seem to have hairy arms and hands, and took some food in. Isaac, blind couldn’t see who it was. He wanted to be sure he was giving his blessing to the right son. He said it sounded like Jacob, but when he felt him seemed to be Esau. So he gave Jacob the blessing of the first born.
And that wasn’t all. Jacob had two wives – Rachel and Leah and, with those two wives, for whom he had to work for 14 years, and their maidservants (4 women in total) he had 13 children, 12 boys and 1 girl. And Jacob is in the line of Jesus.