Everybody knows the genealogies are the biggest yawn in the Bible. "Rehoboam begat Abijah, and Abijah begat Ralph"I mean it warms your heart about as much a reading a phone book. What's not often said right out, but what's understood, is that it's probably best to skip over "the begats" and not to get bogged down in all those funny old names.
Yet, at the same time, we pay lip service to 2 Timothy 3:16, which says, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching and reproof." If that's true, that includes the begats. And so this morning, join with me as I launch my very first message ever on the genealogy of Jesus.
What's obvious from the prominence given these names at the opening of Matthew's gospel is that what we consider to be the most boring, least interesting part of the Christmas story was of the utmost importance to the original audience. Genealogies become important to us at certain times of year, like this time of year. Last week the Wall Street Journal said there is a good chance you are direct descendants of the Mayflower pilgrims. Historians say that 26 of the 102 people who traveled in the Mayflower across the Atlantic in 1620 and celebrated the first Thanksgiving had children who had children who had children. Today, twelve generations later, the Mayflower passengers may well have had 25 million descendants, which means there's a chance that you are a direct descendant of those who came over on the Mayflower.
Regardless of how that may make you feel, in Jesus' day one's pedigree was a source of tremendous pride. In order to own land in Israel, you had to show the public documents documenting your genealogy that gave you the right to a piece of the Holy Land. Privileges were reserved for certain ...
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