The Bottom Line of Advent

The tendency is to skip them. Or maybe at least skim them quickly and move on. We know that all Scripture is profitable, but those genealogies?

“God really spoke to me in that long list of names I couldn’t pronounce,” said pretty much no one ever.

Which makes it interesting, or at least odd, that Matthew starts his gospel this way. After all, this is the greatest story ever told. Why give people a reason to skip the beginning?

It’s probably too much to ask for you to stop and read Matthew 1:1-17 right now. But would you give a little over 2 minutes to watch this video of it put to music?

Ok, so the song is creative and now we can all say we didn’t skip it. But isn’t there more to it than that?

Yes, absolutely there is.

Matthew is establishing Jesus’ pedigree and connecting him to the promised Messiah that would come from the line of David and Abraham. The genealogies also remind us that God is always at work in the world to accomplish his purposes. They remind us that God works through families, even families with lots of dysfunction and drama.

There is actually a lot we can learn from Matthew’s genealogy list by looking at the stories behind the name. But let’s focus our attention on two names in particular: Rahab and Ruth.

Two women. This should cause us to pay attention since genealogies were traced from father to son during this time. But these two women are mentioned by name, and they are in ancestors of the Messiah.

Rahab, the Caananite prostitute that helped protect the Israelite spies in Jericho. And Ruth, a Moabite woman known for her faithfulness to her mother-in-law.

Both of these women were outsiders. Not of the nation of Israel. Not part of God’s chosen people. But yet, they are.

When God made his promise to Abraham, he promised to bless him and make him into a great nation. And he also promised to bless all the nations through him.

The evidence of this Bottom Line plan is seen on just about every page of Scripture, and in every story. Even here, in Matthew’s genealogy list.

Two Gentile women are not just included in the blessing. God brings them into the royal family and uses them to prepare the way for the ultimate blessing to arrive one incredible night in a stable outside Bethlehem.

This gospel is for all nations, all peoples, all tribes.

Rejoice in that today as your celebrate Advent. And pray for opportunities to make Him famous during this season and all the seasons. Let’s live for the bottom line.

Lance Shumake