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Posts Tagged ‘Galatians 4:4-7’


Matthew 1:1-17: Genealogy

Jesus’ Family Tree

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

As commentary explains the issue of genealogy, the purpose of Matthew’s inclusion of this long list of who begat whom serves to describe the fourteen generations in this listing, 14 being the numerical value of the letters in the name David.  I once heard an entire lecture on numerology and the Hebrew alphabet, concepts important to Matthew’s audience, the Jewish people at the time of Christ.  The salient point here is that Matthew was making the case that the man Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah who springs from David’s line.  Yet, despite this affirmation that emanated from their way of thinking, despite the many signs and fulfillments of Old Testament scriptures and the prophets, the people refused to accept the evidence before them. We might ask why; and the answer is . . . because they wanted to.

When Jesus came into his family, his town, his country, his culture, he upended many of the long-held tenets.  He came to set the world on fire, to cause discussion, to move the people out of their comfort zone.  He did this in his own time and he continues to do this with us today. He does this with an inversion that startles and even frightens us, but that also transforms us.

We might turn to Paul to better understand the genealogy we share with Jesus. Paul explains to the Galatians, and he explains to us . . . When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Family was important to my parents – both the generations before us and the generations to come. These cohorts formed a foundation on which Mother and Dad stood and from which they drew strength as they met the daily challenges of life. We need to practice standing and stretching. We need to practice patience and forgiveness.

Today we read of Jesus’ legitimacy.  Let us reflect on our own legitimacy as his adopted sisters and brothers.  Do we share his patience?  Do we share his love for those who curse us?  Do we share his love for doing God’s will?  Are we legitimate heirs of the redemption Jesus has given to us?

For more information on Jesus’s Family Tree, visit the PBS Frontline site at: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/tree.html 

For details on this tree, for comparisons of Luke’s and Matthew’s genealogies, visit: http://www.complete-bible-genealogy.com/genealogy_of_jesus.htm

Tomorrow, loving our enemies. 

Adapted from a reflection written on February 4, 2008.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011 – Ezekiel 4 – The Inevitability of God’s Love

There is an inexorable force which drives our existence.  Some of us identify its scientific origin, others of us focus on its spiritual origin.  Some of believe that God drives this science; others of us believe that synchronicity and evolution direct our existence.  But no matter the origin of our thinking, and no matter our circumstances, we all see the predictable: those of us born into human flesh will come to a very human end.  This is an inevitability we cannot avoid.  This is the greatest gift ever offered.  This is a promise none will want to doubt.  Ezekiel’s audience turned away from his prophecy because they could not bear to hear the truth which they saw as terrible but which was, indeed, wonderful.  Today when we hear the good news that we are loved beyond measure and that all our worries and woes can be put into God’s hands . . . will we turn away . . . or will we choose to trust God and the inevitability of His love?

Yesterday we reflected on the certainty of Ezekiel’s prophecy and how history tells us that his predictions held true.  We also made a connection between the unavoidability of this prophecy and the persistent nature of God’s promises to us, the unrelenting presence of God’s love for us as shown by the birth of the Christ.  The ancient oracle foreshadows the promise kept. 

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.  As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, crying out, Abba, Father!”  So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.  (Galatians 4:4-7)

El Greco: The Nativity

Whether we want to admit this fact or not, we are in intimate relationship with God.  This is something we cannot change.

Whether we feel God’s presence or we do not, we are in constant union with God.  This is something we cannot reject.

Whether we feel God’s love for us or we do not, we are the center of God’s focus at all times.  This is something we cannot rebuff.

God is so good, so generous and so overpowering that we cannot avoid closeness with him.  God is so patient, so forgiving and so compassionate that he waits with us as we struggle against the fears and anxieties of the world.  God is so caring, so tender, and so loving that he allows us to behave as we like as he continues to offer this gift of self to us.  God has known us from our origin and God knows our path.  And God waits.  God persists.  God loves.  Inevitably. 

Jerusalem fell and God’s people were taken into exile. This was predicted.  This came to pass.  This was inevitable.  This we now know.

Jesus is among us to deliver us from all that pains us.  This was predicted.  This has come to pass.  This too is inevitable.  This too we can know. 

As this Christmas Day dawns, let us consider God’s inevitable gift and promise. 

As this Christmas Noon passes, let us rejoice and be glad. 

And as this Christmas Night takes us in . . . on this most blessed night of all nights, let us act as if we believe in these good tidings.  Let us give thanks for this wondrous and profound gift of God’s inevitable love.

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