Peace Lutheran Church
If you watch television for more than an hour on any given night, the odds are pretty good that you will see one of a variety of commercials for ancestry.com. The commercials feature individuals who one day decided to start researching their family tree, and made some rather startling discoveries about their ancestors that they otherwise would never have known.
I am sure the same is true with your own ancestors as well as mine. Scattered throughout each of our family trees are people who did remarkable things, and knew remarkable people. Some of these people we may have met, others are known only by the stories passed down through generations, and others, are forgotten. It is as the commercials say: all you have to do is start looking and you never know what you will find out.
What the commercials leave out however, is that while you may find some people in your family tree that are rather remarkable, you may also find some people that are not so remarkable. Certainly none of us wants to discover that we are related to some of the less than savory characters of history, or that one of our ancestors did some things that we would be embarrassed of. And yet, it is always a possibility; because you never know what you will find.
Certainly when we look at the family tree of Jesus we are going to find some rather remarkable people. In St. Matthew 1, we see that Jesus is related to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the founding fathers of Israel. We also see that Jesus has Judah in his family tree, which is not a bad tribe at all to be connected to. We also see that Jesus finds Himself in the line of David and Solomon; so not only does Jesus have the founding fathers of Israel in His family tree, He also has the kingly line running through His family tree.
But Jesus also has some less than savory characters in His family tree. In the same lines that we find Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and King David, we also find Tamar, who was abused by members of the tribe of Judah. And a few generations later we find Rahab, who was a prostitute. And later still we find Ruth, who was a Gentile who at one point worshipped pagan gods. And then we find Bathsheeba, who along with King David committed adultery. And of course, there is Mary, who has no standing at all to be in the family of Jesus.
This Advent, we will focus on these less than savory characters who find themselves in the line of Jesus during our midweek services beginning on November 30th. While each of them has a checkered past, each was included for a reason, for each of them plays a key role in telling us who Jesus is and for what He has come into the world. For Jesus did not just come to prepare a place for those people that we are proud to have in our family tree, He also came to prepare a place for the abused, the sinners, the outsiders, the adulterers, the liars, and the unsuspecting that we find in our family trees. For if Jesus has a place prepared for these, then how much more so can you have confidence that He has a place prepared for you.
In addition to our midweek services this year, Sunday morning Bible class will look at another person in the line of Jesus: His earthly father, Joseph. The Men’s Network of Lutheran Hour Ministries has produced a four session Bible study titled Joseph: Carpenter of Steel, focusing on Joseph and we will study it on the Sunday’s in Advent, beginning on November 27th.
As always there are special Advent devotionals from Lutheran Hour Ministries for this time of Advent and Christmas. Please make use of them, as well as these additional times of prayer and study as we prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world in the manger, and as we await His coming on the Last Day.