Red Letter Year: 3/6

Matthew 1:1-25

This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.

Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram.

Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse.

Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).

Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa.

Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram. Jehoram was the father of Uzziah.

Uzziah was the father of Jotham. Jotham was the father of Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.

10  Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amon. Amon was the father of Josiah.

11 Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon).

12 After the Babylonian exile: Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.

13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor.

14 Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Akim. Akim was the father of Eliud.

15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob.

16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

17 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.



If you’ve been doing this all along, way to go, we’ve made it through Mark. Turning to the second Gospel written, Matthew, we immediately find… a list of names. That can seem pretty boring, like reading the phone book (back when we had those), but a couple of things are worth noting. First of all, this is Matthew’s way of letting us know up front that Jesus is a descendent of David, which is a big deal, because the Messiah the prophets foretold was going to be the one to fulfill God’s promise to David that his descendent would reign forever. Mark didn’t bring this up at all, so right away we see Matthew adding in important details. Second, you may have noticed that I underlined parts of the list of ancestors. Those are places where Jesus’ ancestral story is particularly sordid and/or evil. The sort of thing you might expect one to clean up. But Matthew goes out of his way to remind us of these incidents. That is not on accident. From the outset of his Incarnation, Jesus is the spotless lamb who takes on the sin of the whole world and this is nowhere more evident than in highlighting the sins of his own human family juxtaposed with his own virgin birth. Jesus comes fully embedded in the human story and also comes with a unique purity.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Monday mediations Ps. 105.17: your not so random path

The Lord sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. Ps. 105.17

If you’re not familiar with the story of Joseph, it is worth the read, one of the most captivating stories in the Bible (see Gen. 37-46). In short, he was the 11th out of 12 brothers and clearly his father’s favorite. His brothers grew quite jealous of their special brother, faked his death, and sold him as a slave to a caravan headed to Egypt. Nice. Once there, things initially looked like they were improving for Joseph, until he wound up unjustly (and indefinitely) imprisoned. Turns out, God sent Joseph to Egypt in order to save that entire nation and his own (large) family from starvation in a 7 year long famine. And the mode of transportation God arranged for Joseph was a slave caravan. And the lodging God prepared for Joseph was a jail cell. Things worked out quite well for Joseph in the end and for all who were touched by his work. Joseph later tells his (guilt ridden) brothers that the whole thing was God’s design to save many. This Psalm tells us, “until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” Funny how our paths can seem so random at times and yet completely fit with who we are and who we are becoming. If you are in the pit/slave caravan/jail phases of your journey, don’t despair. They are as much a part of your path as the dreams God has given you. Tests forge character, preparing you for what God has for you. All the random, loose ends of your life are neither random nor loose, they have been set in your path on purpose. Accept the Lord’s transportation and lodging, however he chooses to send it. Be as faithful as you can (as Joseph was as a slave and inmate) where you are, doing all like you’re doing it for Jesus himself (because you are), and try to enjoy the ride. Reflect this week on what it might have felt like to be sent via slave caravan and how the random (especially negative) experiences in your life might be part of God’s sending you for a great purpose.