Summary: Have you ever wondered why Matthew put in his genealogy?
The Christmas Story
A Scottish farmer did not believe in the Christmas story.
The idea that God would become a man was absurd.
His wife however was a devout Christian and had raised their children as Christians.
The farmer would sometimes mock her and give her a hard time about her faith.
In particular he could not believe that God would want to come into this world as the little Baby born in Bethlehem 2000 or more years ago.
“It’s nonsense” he said: “Why should God lower himself to become a man like us?”
One Sunday just before Christmas his wife took the children to church, while the farmer relaxed at home in front of a blazing fire.
Suddenly the weather took a turn for the worse, deteriorating into a blinding snow storm, driven by a freezing north wind.
Suddenly he heard a thump on the window, followed by another.
When he went to investigate he found a flock of grey geese disorientated by the storm in his farmyard.
The farmer had compassion on them.
He wanted to help and realised they needed to get out of the storm into the shelter of his barn.
He opened the barn doors and hung up a lamp. BUT THEY WOULD NOT GO IN.
He laid out a trail of bread into the barn
BUT THEY STILL WOULDN’T GO IN.
He tried to shoo them in but to no avail.
Nothing he could do would get them out of the storm into his nice warm barn.
Utterly frustrated, he cried out loud: “Why can’t you fools just follow me in. Can’t you see that I am trying to help you and give you shelter?”
Then he thought: “I wish I could communicate with them. If only I could become like one of them, I could show them the way to go and then I could save them”
He suddenly stopped.
He remembered where his family was and what he had learned in Sunday school
AND AT LAST he understood why God had to become a man.
And he fell down on his knees and thanked God for becoming a man.
And as he looked up – to his amazement he saw the grey geese going into his barn and a white goose was leading them.
(My thanks to John Wright for this story)
Have you, like that Scottish farmer, ever wondered why God became man, an event we celebrate each Christmas?
Do you ever think: Why God did became man?
For that is what the Christmas story is all about.
From Matthew’s Gospel we learn a bit about Jesus’ background.
The Genealogy of Mt. (Mt 1:1-17)
I have often wondered why Matthew’s Gospel opens with a genealogy.
For the Jews (and Matthew was writing to a Jewish Christian audience) that was very important
It was important that Jesus was a Jew, because the Old Testament prophets had prophesied that the Messiah would be a Jew descended from King David.
I first met Gideon Miller when I was living in Inzlingen in southern Germany in the late 80’s and he had come to stay at our flat that night.
I was at that time a member of a very lively Swiss Christian Businessmen’s Association called the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International (known better as the FGB).
(Addy that is the same group that you went to Norwich to hear me share my Christian story last year when you drove with Geoffrey, Sonja and Maddy)
Gideon was a Jew and he married an Austrian lady who had been a member of the Hitler youth!
Gideon told me his story.
Gideon had been born as a Jew just before World War 2 in the USA.
And at the end of the Second World War, he had been granted a licence to run a Casino in Los Vegas.
Which in those days was a licence to print money.
Soon Gideon became rich but he started to drink heavily until he became an alcoholic.
And in time his drinking became so bad that he lost everything including his coveted licence to run a casino.
He started to go the Alcoholics Anonymous, which was held in the crypt of a local Church.
One day Gideon got there a bit early and having time on his hands picked up a New Testament there.
Never having read the Bible before Gideon started to read in Matthew’s Gospel – and he suddenly realised that JESUS was a JEW.
It was a revelation to Gideon because he had always been told Jesus was not a Jew.
And Gideon started to read the Bible and in time committed himself to follow Jesus Christ.
As Gideon put it: I suddenly realised that Jesus was a Jew – from reading the genealogy in the first Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.