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November 30 2022 Advent Reflection

November 30 2022

Read: Matthew 1:1-18

When choosing a scripture to write on for the advent devos, the genealogy of Jesus was highlighted to me. It turns out that I wasn't the only one to notice this passage as Drew wrote about it on the first day.

Some people may find that reading a genealogy, or a list of names is not very interesting. However, that list of names represents a story. That story is one that has been crafted by God himself and He is not surprised by any of the names on that list.

Here is my genealogy for the last few generations:

Jakob S and Lena W were the parents of Anni S

Anni S and Waldemar D were the parents of Wendy D

Wendy D and Hari S were the parents of Kyle, Jakob, Joshua and Wesley S.

Just reading the names doesn't mean much but the stories behind those names speak to God's goodness. As a quick overview, Jakob S was born in Russia and Lena W was born in the Ukraine. As Mennonites, they both fled religious persecution through China to Paraguay where Anni was born. The family found their way to Niagara Ontario. Waldemar was born in Poland under German occupation. In his late teens he made his way alone through Germany and eventually to Niagara Ontario. Wendy D was born to Waldemar and Anni D and she moved to Waterloo. Hari S grew up in communist Romania . After university, he skipped around Canada for a while and ended up in Waterloo. Together, God gave Wendy and Hari four boys.

There are soo many stories within these stories. It always amazes me how God has brought my family together from so many corners of the world. God’s hand was on each person's journey.

Matthew seeks to prove to the Jewish readers that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah from the line of Abraham and David. Right from the start Matthew refers to the covenant between God and Abraham and the promise God gave to David. Galatians 3:16 talks about how Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham. 2 Samuel 10:7-13 describes the covenant God made with David where Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to David.

As we read through the genealogy, the names in the genealogy also come with a story. Through these stories there is a tension of uncertainty on how God will fulfill His plan. Within the genealogy the struggles and the tensions that could hinder this promise are noted, but God’s goodness shines through abundantly!

Abraham has a son in his old age, who eventually fathers the tribe of Israel. However, this tribe of Israel ends up in slavery in Egypt. Will this be the end of Gods promise?

No! God provides a miraculous escape which through the passover also is a foretelling of Jesus death and redemption.

They escape only to wander in the desert for 40 years. Will the Israelites perish in the wilderness?

No! In the desert God introduces the tabernacle which represents our relationship with God.

Will they be squashed like grasshoppers by the Canaanites?

No! In fact, God incorporates the Canaanites and godly women from other cultures into Jesus lineage. When the spies scout out the promised land, Rehab, a Canaanite woman, saves them and she becomes part of Jesus genealogy. Ruth, a Moabitess marries Boaz and gives birth to the grandfather of David.

Matthew wants to ensure that it is clear that Jesus is from a royal lineage. Matthew outlines the kings in the next section of Jesus genealogy through the line of Judah. Here we read about the good kings whom God blessed and the evil kings who did not revere God. There is that tension on how will God fulfill His promises when His people are not following in His ways. However, God’s goodness and faithfulness prevails! Solomon builds the temple, a house of God which represents God’s relationship to his people. Jehoshaphat creates a travelling torah school (2 Chron. 17:7-9) and Josiah, the child king held a revival (2 Kings 23:1-3).

The last section of Matthew's genealogy chronicles another exile into Babylon and return. We are left to wonder if this must be the end of the people of God. There are not many stories about the specific people on this part of the list with the exception of Zerubbabel who helped rebuild the temple (which was laying in rubble) after the exile (Ezra 3:8). This is significant because once again, with Zerubbabel’s help God is rebuilding a structure which connects God to His people. There are many stories of God’s faithfulness through this time period as well.

God is not constrained by time and by geography when crafting the story of Jesus. God is also not limited by characters, situation or circumstance. Mathew has clearly outlined Jesus royal lineage. Reading a genealogy can simply be a dry list of names. However, looking a little closer, we see God’s promises to Abraham and David fulfilled. We see stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness. We see God’s provision and protection over his promised people depicted through the genealogy.

Written by: Wendy Stirbet


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