There are many reasons to appreciate my pastor. A recent sermon titled “The Genealogy of Jesus” highlighted one of them: he respects the Word of God. Yes, even those seemingly endless and boring chapters that list names.
Most of these chapters are in the Old Testament. For many people, that’s double the reason to skim over them or ignore them altogether.
But the list he preached a fabulous sermon on is found in Luke chapter three. It’s an essential genealogy for Jesus Christ because it proves his heritage as the Messiah. For the Jews, this lineage had be unquestionable.
But for those of us under the new covenant, there are other reasons to read the genealogies listed in scripture. Let me recommend listening to them on an audio version of the Bible so you don’t have to struggle through the pronunciations.
If these lists of names were unimportant, God would have left them out of scripture. Here are the five reasons the pastor gave for their importance:
- God cares about history. Remember, people who don’t learn from the mistakes made in history are doomed to repeat them.
- God interacts with real people. Those aren’t just names. They’re real people who lived. In fact, of the 77 names listed in Christ’s lineage in Luke 3, thirty-eight of them are ONLY mentioned in that passage. All we know about those “real people” is that they were ancestors of our Savior.
- God uses imperfect people for His purposes. And aren’t you glad? I sure am.
- God cares about families. Every list of names represents a family tree. God is the author of family life and he cares about our families.
- God understands our situation. Thousands of years later, we might not grasp the situation faced by the people whose names are listed in what can feel like “endless genealogies”, but God understood what they faced. And He understands what you’re facing today, too.
Which reason connects with your heart? What would you add?
Listen to the whole sermon here.