Focal Passages: Gal. 4:1-7;
I recently received a
birthday card from my in-laws. It
was signed “Love Mom and Papa.”
Though I’m not related by
blood, my in-laws like to remind me from time to time that I’m part of their
family, and each time they do, I feel special.
Consequently, I’ve embraced
my role in the family with gusto.
I have sung the praises of
their favorite burger joint, cast evil glances at their rival high school,
worked a little on the farm, and even developed a taste for boiled
When they are anxious, I
When they celebrate, I
When they speak of ancestors
and family connections, I listen.
I want to know more about
their story, because along the way, I’ve adopted that story as my own.
When we read the genealogy
of Jesus, it’s important to remember that we aren’t just trudging through a
list of faceless names, even though many of them may not be familiar to
As my wife reminded me
recently, we are actually reading a list of stories, and the author of Matthew
presumes we know something about this who’s who of Israelite history.
A childless Abraham becomes
the father of a nation.
A duplicitous Jacob becomes
the namesake of God’s people. A giant-slaying David rises to power, and yet
falters by sinning with the “wife of Uriah.”
For obvious reasons, perhaps
my favorite name in the list is Ruth. Though not an Israelite herself, she too
adopted the story of an in-law, and thus secured her place in the most famous
genealogy of all time.
When Paul tells the
Galatians that they are children of God, Paul references the unfolding drama
that led to Christ’s birth (Gal. 4:4). History pointed in the direction of
Jesus, and when the “fullness of time” came, believers were adopted into God’s
Now we as believers adopt
God’s story as our story. By reading Matthew 1, we are not just rehashing
Christ’s genealogy; we’re delving into our own. Just as each individual in Matthew’s litany of ancestors
played a role in the story of Jesus, we too are invited to participate in what
God is doing here on earth. How do we participate? We must embrace our role in
We learn to like the things God likes, do the things God does,
care the way God cares, and love the way God loves.
My in-laws sent me a card to
remind me I was a part of the family. Likewise, God sent his Son as a
resounding message that humans no longer have to be outsiders. Because of Christ, we’ve been taking in
and embraced as one of the Father’s own.