Ok, I admit it. You caught me. In my personal study of scripture, I almost skipped the opening verses of Matthew’s account of Jesus. Who wants to read a dusty old lineage going back millennia, wade through a list of strange and unusual names foreign to my tongue, names having nothing to do with me? Not I. So, I almost cheated. Nearly missed all together, an important journey initiated by Matthew’s pen.
A faith journey. On Matthew’s parchment, it all began with a man after God’s own heart, promised a kingdom and a throne that would endure. A journey well planned, beginning with a promise, ending with the Promise Keeper.
I recognized it, in that moment, as my own journey. The journey of every child of God. The heartbeat pulsing throughout history tying us all together … the unifying tie of kingdom family.
I still remember something the pastor said when my youngest grandson, Elijah Christopher, was dedicated three months ago. It had to do with the importance of identity. The pastor had long since shorted his birth name, and throughout his adulthood had gone by Mike. Then a few years back, he stumbled across something that redirected his life. By shorting is name, he’d lost his identity … his God-given heritage.
The pastor’s name, Michael, Hebrew in origin, meant who is like God? Think about it. “Michael”,when you think about it, serves many purposes. It reminds clay that despite claims to the contrary, there is one and only One God. It serves as a safeguard against pride. It reminds the bearer that the Almighty, yearning for fellowship, desires him to be conformed to the image of His son.
The pastor never returned to his nickname. When he hears people call him by name now, he is reminded of who He is, who his Heavenly Father is, and who he is called to be in character and likeness.
Maybe that’s what inspired me to take a deeper look into the lineage of Jesus. In that genealogy I unexpectedly caught a glimpse of who I am … where I came from, and where I’m going.
Faith’s family tree covers interesting ground, unexpected terrain. As I looked closely, the grace’s common thread lie boldly in the forefront … right where it belongs. For apart from Grace, there’d be no family.
Take a peek.
Abraham – began as the father is exalted who then became the father of many
Isaac – laughter
Jacob – supplanter; following after
Judah – praise
Perez – a breech (& Zara –a rising) [ twin sons of Judah & his daughter-in-law Tamar (palm tree)]
Hezron – blooming
Ram – exalted
Amminadab – my people are willing/exalted; one of the prince’s people
Nahshon – oracle; enchanter
Salmon – raiment; strength
Boaz – in him is strength (son of Rahab – broad¬ – the Canaanite harlot who believed)
Obed – servant( son of the Moabitess Ruth – friendship; companion)
Jesse – Jehovah exists; wealthy
Solomon – peace
Rehoboam – freer of the people
Abijah – Jehovah is father
Asa – physician; healer
Jehoshaphat – Jehovah is judge
Jehoram – Jehovah is high
Uzziah –my strength is Jehovah
Jotham – Jehovah is perfect
Ahaz – he holds; possessor
Hezekiah – Jehovah is strength
Manesseh – causing forgetfulness
Amon – builder; trustworthy
Josiah – whom Jehovah heals; Jehovah supports
Jeconiah – Jehovah establishes
Shealtial – lent by God; I have asked of God
Zerbbabel – born at Babel; seed of Babylon
Abiud – my father is majesty; father of honor
Eliakim – raising up by God
Azor – helper
Zadok - righteous
Akim – the Lord will establish
Eliud – God my praise
Eleazar – help of God; God is helper
Matthan – gift
Joseph – increaser; let him add(the husband of Mary – [from Marah – bitter; grieved; or Miriam - their rebellion; strong)]
Jesus – Jehovah is salvation
Did you discover yourself? Discover your legacy apart from God? Discover the grace, first revealed in Eden, and the inheritance now yours?
Faith begins in the heart of the Exalted Father. A righteous judge, who is trustworthy. One Who is my strength. My salvation.
The usurper, who throughout the millennia of his existence tries to dethrone the Almighty, attempted to tamper with God’s beloved … with that God-breathed clay. Where God breathed life, the usurper breathed rebellion. He succeeded in creating a breach between God and the beloved. For when clay picked up rebellion’s banner making it his own, a breach opened an chasm clay had no hope of ever mending.
Laughter rang throughout the heavens. Though the usurper laughed at his own success, the last laugh was on Him. For the Almighty God, the Great Healer, wasn’t concerned about Babylon’s seed. It may have infected the clay God loved, but God Himself provided a covering. God Himself established a lifting up … resulting in the gifting of family ties that could never be broken.
My grief, the bitterness of my soul, immersed in the salvation of the Lord dissolved as peace’s garments wrapped tightly around me. I learned my sins were hidden … in the Almighty’s covering. God has forgotten them, buried them as far as the east is from the west … and remembers them no more.
Almighty God, for His Name’s sake, has established me as His child … holding me close to His own heart, forever and ever and ever.
Matthew’s opening words proved to be anything but a dusty sojourn through strange-sounding names. They’re my roots. Jesus’ lineage provides a hidden picture of God’s grace. From a garden, to the salvation born through a lifting up, to a table prepared for me in the presence of the King. It’s a family story, this story of faith … my story.
Now there is a family tie that binds … a tie binding the heart of Almighty God to this redeemed clay … and I will praise Him forever.