Day 1: Matthew 1:1-25
Most people want to skip the genealogy. A long list of names does not make for riveting reading. However, we are all interested in our past. One of the most searched-for items on the Internet is around our personal ancestry. We are curious to know where we come from, who preceded us, and who shaped us into the people we are today. And so the Gospel of Matthew starts with a genealogy. This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah (the anointed one; in Greek, the Christ). It is an extraordinary group. Most of those listed are men, with their fair share of complexities. Interestingly, only five women are listed: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary (the mother of Jesus). These are remarkable women. Tamar dresses as a prostitute to seduce Judah and maintain the familial line (Genesis 38); Rahab is the “harlot” who hid the Jewish spies (Joshua 2). Ruth is the Moabitess who married into the Jewish line; and Bathsheba is the famous wife of Uriah—the object of King David’s lust and ultimately the person he makes pregnant (2 Samuel 11-12). So how does God work in the world? We learn from this genealogy that God takes our complex lives and allows grace to emerge. It is not that God approves of King David’s seduction of Bathsheba (and ultimate murder of Uriah), but even our depravity cannot stop the purposes of God. Often God’s providence can only be seen in retrospect. As we look back, we can see God’s grace—and discover hope.
Reflect on your life. Look back at the hard and difficult times. How did God’s grace create a pattern for hope?
Loving God, take our broken lives and use them for your grace. Help us in the difficult times to trust that a pattern of hope will emerge; and help us to look back with gratitude on the way your loving embrace held us and created a presence of hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, PhDDean and President of Virginia Theological
Crafton, Barbara Cawthorne. A Journey With Matthew: The 50 Day Bible Challenge . Forward Movement. Kindle Edition.