Today, Pastor Doug spoke about how God has been at work throughout history, from the creation of Adam through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Looking at Matthew 1:1-17, we see Matthew’s version of the Christmas story. But Matthew is not just writing the Christmas story, he is writing a biography of the life of Christ, the most amazing story ever. His birth, his life, his ministry, his death, his burial, and his resurrection.
The first 17 verses of Matthew contain a genealogy of all the descendants leading up to Jesus—46 names in all! But why does Matthew begin his story about the greatest person who has ever lived with a long list of names? The most obvious reason is that he is writing to a Jewish audience who have been waiting for centuries for the promised Messiah to come. The Old Testament Prophets said that the Messiah was going to come from a certain lineage. Jesus has the lineage that the Prophets said the Messiah would have, and Matthew wants to drive that point home.
The long list of names would have been very familiar to Matthew’s audience. They would have known the stories behind the names. And so when they heard a name, they thought, “Oh, yes! I remember him. I know his story!” Because as a people the Jews were really into genealogy—it was valued in their culture. And so when they saw a genealogy like this, they were interested. We don’t always see it that way, and so we just skip the names and see where the story picks up. But think about it. It would be different for us if it started with a list of people who have been important in American history. People like Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, or Martin Luther King, Jr.
The big picture of what Matthew is trying to show us is that God is with us. He is always at work in our lives and in our circumstances. He is always at work to accomplish his purposes. And so as you begin looking more closely at this genealogy, you can see that God is at work through history. Matthew 1, verse 17 says, “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.” Those are three very different periods with very different things happening in history. They really couldn’t be more different, but one thing they each have in common is that God is at work!
When you boil it all down, the truth is that God works through families. In fact, what you see in Scripture is that this is God’s design! It is through families that God works to spread his message. Faith is meant to be passed from parents to children, and fathers specifically have the responsibility to make sure that truth is passed on to the next generation (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
Christmas provides an amazing opportunity for parents to teach their children about God’s great love and mercy in sending His son Jesus, to instruct them on the things of God, and to pass along their faith. This doesn’t happen by accident. It happens by making a deliberate plan and setting aside the time to do so. Triangle Community Church has put together some resources that will help you as parents be intentional about teaching your children the true meaning of the story of Christmas; just visit our website (TCC.org) and type in the keyword “Christmas.” Parents, do so this week, or you are liable to wake up on the 24th or 25th only to realize that you have missed an important opportunity to transfer your faith to your children.
As we enter into this Christmas season, expect God to work, because that is what He does. He is working in every era of history, no matter what is going on around us. And we know that He is specifically working in families; so let’s rejoice and eagerly look for signs that He is working in our lives and, indeed, throughout the world!
Application / Challenge
- Worship, thank, and trust God that he works through families—godly and ungodly. God even works in spite of us and our sin. He uses ordinary people—like us!
- Determine to purposefully and actively lead your family toward godliness. Use our TCCExtra resources to Connect with Christ & Each Other this Christmas: click here.
- Jotham’s Journey – A Storybook for Advent – Arnold Ytreeide
- Tabitha’s Travels – A Family Story for Advent – Arnold Ytreeide
- Bartholomew’s Passage – A Family Story for Advent – Arnold Ytreeide