IN THE FAMILY OF GOD
Read through Matthew 1:1-17. I get it – it’s a huge long list of names. Start noting every name that is familiar to you from previous Bible studies, Sunday school, etc. You can underline them in your Bible, highlight them online, or make a list of the familiar names.
Genealogy is significant in Scripture. In several places, God gives us the full lineage of Jesus all the way back to Adam. Why do you think it’s so important? For a hint, check out Genesis 15:1-6.
If this was your family tree, how far back would you be able to go? I’m guessing not three sets of 14 generations like we have for Abraham to Jesus. But who are the important people from your family history? Why are they important – was it something they accomplished, or how they loved their family, or how they shared their faith? Maybe that person was important for less positive reasons – some notoriety that entered into family stories that were passed down.
Now go back to your familiar names from the Matthew passage – what are the things that you know about each of the people? Some you might know better than others. Some have more accomplishments, love, and faith in their storylines. Others might fall into the category of infamous, like the relatives that came to mind earlier. How many sins are we taught about through their failings?
As you think about your family, was there anyone who was perfect? Someone who never sinned, whose actions were so spotless that they could be in the heavenly hall of fame? Of course not! What about the ancestry of Jesus? Again, definitely not. Even Mary, for all of the ways she is honored in history, was a sinful human being. Yet all of these flawed people became part of the lineage of Jesus.
You come from a family of flawed people, just like Jesus did. Unlike Him, you aren’t perfect either. No one in all of human history has achieved a sinless life except for Him. But the best news is that Jesus, the sinless Son of God and Son of Man, took our sinfulness upon Himself as He died on the cross, and in exchange gave us His righteousness. No matter what you have done wrong, no matter how badly your family has messed up, He has marked You in baptism as God’s child, adopted into God’s family. You and your family and the family of Jesus, by faith, have been redeemed. That is amazing news worth celebrating.
Want a bit more?
- Pick one person from the list, and do a deep dive in Scripture to learn about them. Use a Bible app on your phone to search for the person’s name and read through their particular history. Where do you see the salvation of Christ reflected or foreshadowed in their story?
- Ask your parents or grandparents to tell you about some of the people from your family tree that you might not know about. As you listen, pay attention to the connections you hear that draw you closer to your own family history, and look for the ways that you are better connected to the family of God.
- For more lists of genealogy, check out Genesis chapters 5 & 10, and Genesis 11:10-26. How many other familiar names can you spot?