Friday, 13 May 2016

Family Tree - Son of David, Son of Abraham


There’s something about family tress that fascinate us.

The thought that these famous people are related to us makes us feel excited. Of course we know that we also have some difficult relatives…thieves, drunks, the lazy…and we are also related to them. But we don’t like to talk about them so much.

What about Jesus’ family tree?

We have it in Matthew…let’s read some of it…you might think it’s going to be boring, I tell you, it’s exciting…

Read Matthew 1: 1 – 6

Lots of names, but we learn something very beautiful about Jesus Christ from this genealogy…

The genealogy of Jesus Christ tells us that God loves sinners and suffered for them.

How, in what ways does the genealogy tell us this?

At least two ways

1. Jesus is not ashamed to have the difficult people in his family tree.

We would expect Jesus to have all the great and holy people in his family tree, all the really religious people who never put a step wrong. And if you just glance at the list it might seem like that – David, Abraham…but spend a bit of time looking at this list and it gets pretty shocking.

Jacob – liar, two wives, two mistresses…

Then his sons, well the best was Joseph, why isn’t he there, why is it Judah who wanted to kill Joseph…and then it gets worst…Judah is the father of Perez and Zerah – by Tamar. Guess who Tamar was – his daughter in law.

It’s all in Genesis 38.

And here is David all so innocent in the picture. But the Bible takes away the tarrof…what does Jesus family tree remind us of….Solomon was the son of David, by…the wife of Uriah. It’s adultery. And David murdered Uriah.

This genealogy is very messy. Just like mine is, just like Mojdeh’s is….we like to talk about the artists and engineers and doctors…but I’ve got drunks and adulterers and wheeler dealers in my genealogy; and I am sure Mojdeh’s got them in hers…and I am sure you’ve got them in yours.

But we weren’t expecting them in Jesus’.

How can Jesus come from such a line of sinners? How can the Holy One have these names attached to him? And then you know that lovely feeling when your stomach knows it’s going to receive something really succulent…that’s what starts happening now as you chew this over and begin to slowly this beautiful truth that’s coming out of this phrase ‘the genealogy of Jesus Christ’.

Slide Nine

What is it? God loves sinners. He was ready to become a part of their mess.
This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Liars, cheats and dirty old men.

It’s a mess. It stinks. Just one of these characters is smelly, now start adding them up…and the stink begins to rise…imagine a lift, and one man gets in with some rotten fish in his shopping, poooh…and then the lift starts filling up…rotten meat, rotten fruit, rotten fish, rotten everything…and it’s a long journey…a thousand floors, and on every floor people with rotten food are getting on…and the doors open, and there is someone who has never had a rotten thought in his life and never will have, whose whole nature recoils from rottenness…but He knows that if He gets in, He can change the smell of the whole lift…if he is willing to become a part of it…and so in he gets…

This is what blows my mind about God as I meditate here. He got into the stinking lift; he jumped into this filthy sewerage of human history; he climbed onto the rubbish tip…and then it gets even more moving…

Slide Ten

Imagine now the lift inspectors (BAZRUS) come along, or the river inspectors, or the rubbish inspectors, or the genealogy inspectors…

And it’s all very serious…and they call out Jesus and they say…now then….this is a despicable lot, these are all foul specimens of the race commonly known as human….you look about the only clean guy among them…probably you got in here by mistake…can you tell me who they all are…

And what does the Bible reply here…it says…these cheats, these liars, these men of lust,; these men of cruelty, these back biting gossipers, these people who can kill with a look, these people who fiddle on their taxes, and have kebabed in laws at the Persian Palace…this is….

The genealogy of Jesus Christ. Or as John said, The Word become Flesh. He has come to his own. Jesus told the lift inspector…this is my family. They belong to me, I belong to them.

 Our God is a God who gets involved. A God who comes to us. A God who does not say…oh no…that lot…no…nothing to do with me….that’s what you find in other religions…some of you come from a religion that says God is a billion miles away and will have nothing to do with sinful corrupt man…and some of you know you are sinful and corrupt and so you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re going to have to give God a wide berth.

But the living true God. The God revealed in Jesus Christ. He will have something to do with us, however filthy we are.

Genealogy. Just one word. And my heart is blessed. God is love, God comes to us, God becomes a part of our sin soaked humanity. He jumps in and says – you’re still my family.

This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

When this truth that God loves sinners gets into us it does something to us, it changes us…that’s what happened to Tony Compalo.

There was a preacher called Tony Compalo who arrived in Haiwai by plane and couldn’t sleep so he went for a walk and ended up in a dingy café having a donut and a coffee at about 2.30 a.m. when in walks a whole crowd of prostitutes. As he listens to their chat one of them says, ‘It’s my birthday tomorrow’, and another says, ‘Who cares?’ When they’d all left Tony asked Harry the café owner whether the one whose birthday would be there the next night. ‘Oh Agnes…oh, yes, she’ll be here. They’ll all be here. So Tony jumps in. Tony owns this genealogy. He becomes a part of this family. He says, ok, let’s have a party for Agnes. And that’s what happened. At 2.30 the next morning Tony came back, decorated the café, and hung up a huge sign saying ‘Happy Birthday, Agnes’. Other prostitutes had heard about the party, so by 3.15 the place is packed. At 3:30 on the dot, the door swings open and in walks Agnes and her friend. Tony has everybody ready. They all shout and scream "Happy Birthday, Agnes!" Agnes is stunned, her mouth falls open, her knees started to buckle, and she almost falls over. And when the birthday cake with all the candles is carried out, that's when she totally loses it. Now she's sobbing and crying.

Jesus jumped into our family…he didn’t put up his nose and say, they’re too dirty for me…and that’s what his follower did here…

Jesus had difficult, sinful, dirty people in his family tree, and he was happy to call them family. That’s the first way I know this genealogy tells me God loves sinners…but there’s one more I want to share with you

2. Son of Abraham

The main title, the most important title, that Jesus has in this title, the title that sums up all that he is, is in verse one….Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. The final title is – the son of Abraham.

The son of Abraham…the man who went on a journey, from Ur of the Chaldeans to the land God promised him. That’s worth thinking about.

The son of Abraham…the man God gave a promise to…and he believed…there’s a life time of chewing there…

But there’s a final part to Jesus being the son of Abraham and here today in my meditation I can’t resist…I have to sit and chew…

Jesus Christ, the son of Abraham. Who was the son of Abraham my meditating mind asks? It was Isaac. And what happened to Isaac? His father woke him up early one morning and said, we need to go on a journey to the land of Moriah. Mum’s not coming, we’ll leave her sleeping. My two faithful servants will come with us. And while Isaac was washing his face and getting dressed, he heard the sound of wood being cut, and then saw this rough wood being piled up on the donkeys. And so the party set out…first the cool of the day, then the heat, then a camp fire. They travelled for three days. His father was usually so talkative and full of stories, but Isaac found him quiet a lot of the time. On the third day Isaac saw Abraham look up and gazed at a mountain. Anguish swept across his father’s face. Abraham told the two servants to now wait with the donkey. He then took the wood that had been cut and laid it on his son. It was quite heavy, so heavy that Isaac almost stumbled. Abraham took a knife and some fire  and then bid farewell to his servants, saying, ‘My son Isaac and I are going to that mountain’ And the servants and Isaac could hear the old man’s voice shaking as he finished his sentence…’to worship….we’re going to that worship, to worship.’

Watch them as you meditate…father and son…walking together towards that mountain. The son sometimes stumbling (LAGZEEDAN) under the weight of the wood, the father trying to fight back the tears, gripping the knife he wished he could throw away.

Then in the silence a question from the boy.

Father…we have the fire, the wood, you have the knife…but where is lamb for the offering, where is the lamb to be killed?

Look into the old man’s eyes now…and hear him say…

‘God himself will provide a lamb’

But when father and son reached the top of the mountain, there was no lamb. And Isaac watched his father build an altar from the stones lying around. On top of the stones he carefully placed the wood. And then he took his son, his only son, and laid him out on that wood. He gripped the knife intensely as he raised it over Isaac.

And then God spoke – ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy….’

And they heard a lamb…

Isaac should have died, but there was a lamb. I should have died…but there is another son of Abraham. Jesus Christ, the Son of Abraham.

He was the son who carried the wood of the cross, and stumbled, and was laid down on the wood, and the nails (MEEKH HA) came…but for this son of Abraham, no voice came from the sky, only the horrified shakings of heaven and earth as God the Father forsook his son…letting the nails pierce his hands and feet, letting the sword pierce his side.

Where is the lamb? Isaac had asked.

Here is the lamb of God, your brother, who came into our sin soaked genealogy, who said, this is my family, these are my people.

His name is Jesus, the Son of Abraham. The Son who died.


The genealogy of Jesus Christ touches me very deeply. For I am a sinner…Jacob, Judah, David, Tom, Mojtaba…I am dirty…I am in that lift full of smelly people…and the door opens and Jesus comes in. He doesn’t mind the smell. He loves me as I am. He loves you as you are. He comes into the lift.

And when the call came for the true Son of Abraham to step forth.

And my response. My response is to give thanks.

Thank you that you came. Thank you that you were willing to say you belonged to my family. And thank you, thank you, thank you, that you died. 

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