Links In The Chain…
(please click on Scripture passage above [and those below] to read the actual Biblical text)
Why preach on a passage of Scripture that just has a bunch of hard to pronounce names?
1. Because this passage has MUCH more than just that (please remember that ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful…2 Timothy 3:15-17) and we ultimately lose out when we see a passage like this and assume there is no gold to be mined.
2. Because we need to soak in Scripture, not just read (scan) it. This passage doesn’t give away much in a quick glance, just as you can’t learn another language in a few minutes, just as sometimes people find gold sitting on top of the soil but most of the time you have to DIG DEEP to find it. The Bible is not a microwave…it’s a Crock-Pot and we need to allow ourselves to marinade in it slowly.
3. Because we need to read passages of Scripture that we’ve never read before or haven’t read in a long time. Bodybuilders look real silly if they only exercise/focus on a particular muscle group–ever seen a guy with MASSIVE ARMS and skinny legs? Exactly. But the spiritual equivalent happens to us when we–often without realizing it!–gravitate towards certain books of the Bible or even certain passages within books. We are blessed to have ALL THE BIBLE–let’s use it! There might be certain seasons of your life on earth when God directs you to camp out in certain sections of the Bible–He has done this with me over my last 14 years: The Gospels primarily during my first few years, 1&2 Kings/Chronicles for a while, Psalms ALWAYS to help me through hard times, and most recently Paul’s epistles.
Some Gold From This Passage
1. The Bible Is Filled With REAL PEOPLE Very Similar to You and Me! The only main difference between us and the people of the Bible is technology–in nearly every other way we are the same! Dreams, goals, frustrations, victories, defeats, scars, triumphs, accomplishments, finances, family, work, worship, doubt, fear, etc. Lists of names in the Bible are not just difficult to pronounce words but are records of REAL PEOPLE! These name-lists remind us of this truth–the people in the Bible were REAL humans with REAL lives, not just characters in a story! They were DEEPLY FLAWED and yet loved by God; this can encourage us that God will love us despite our deep flaws. We can read the Bible–read about the REAL LIVES of people and see how God interacted with them–to learn about God’s beautiful character and how He will interact with us! What a blessing! What a gift that God did not “spin-doctor” or cover up the imperfections of the people of the Bible but revealed them to us concentrated, not watered-down. He took them as they were but did not leave them that way (unless they refused His love and grace and discipline); He will treat us in the same loving manner because He never changes!
2. Each Person In This Genealogy Was Born For A Reason/Purpose During Their Specific Generation…the same is true for you and me and everyone else today! (Acts 13:36) So even though sometimes we wish we had been born in a different time period, even though we might not realize how our “little/insignificant” lives fit into the weaving of God’s bigger pattern/tapestry, we can be encouraged that God Personally placed us to be born specifically/precisely at just the right place and time! How blessed it is, no matter how bad it might be where we are right now, to know that we are right where we are supposed to be! Not only that, we have a specific PURPOSE in our current generation/location, just as those in this famous genealogy had in theirs. Wow.
3. We Christians Are Links In The Chain of what God is doing in the world as He reveals His love, grace, and truth to those bound and condemned by sin. We are all part of the 29th chapter of Acts and we will get to spend eternity having that longest chapter of Scripture read to us by the LORD in heaven as He reveals all that He did through His children, as He tells the great unheard stories of His mighty power working through stay-at-home Moms, exhausted Dads who still read books to their kids and fubbed their wife’s feet, teenagers who…etc. etc. The people in Jesus’ earthly geneaology had NO IDEA of the royal family they were part of–oftentimes I think we don’t realize it either. Boaz–when he generously, sacrificially, and compassionately chose to protect Ruth and Naomi by marrying Ruth and becoming her Kinsman-Redeemer–had no idea that his and Ruth’s direct descendant would be the Savior of the world! Our lives are NEVER MUNDANE, NEVER BORING when we receive Christ as Savior and become part of the symphony through which GOd is playing His music of grace and forgiveness.
4. Jesus’ Earthly Lineage Proves He Will ACCEPT ANYONE Into His Family. ANYONE!
Loved ones, there are SO MANY people in this world who have not accepted/received Jesus as their Savior because they believe He would never love them in view of the sins they have committed (and/or the sins committed against them).
The Bible is clear:
Jesus runs TOWARD sinners, not away from us!
He doesn’t love us because we are lovable but because HE IS LOVE!
His love for us is based on His choice to do so,
not on His feelings coming from our “faithfulness” to Him!
Let’s look at the brokenness of the family lineage of Jesus from Matthew 1:1-17–the sinful/imperfect/wounded people whom Jesus is not ashamed to have in His family!
May the Holy Spirit use this list to help us see just how much Jesus wants us–no matter what we have done or what has been done to us–in His family as well:
Abraham: liar/coward (Genesis 20:1-2, 11), had a child outside of marriage (Genesis 16:1-4)
Isaac: favored one child (Esau) over the other (Jacob)(Genesis 25:28)
Jacob: liar/deceiver (Genesis 27:5-29), also favored one child (Joseph) over the other children (Genesis 37:3-4)
Judah: sold his brother (Joseph) into slavery (Genesis 37:12-36), slept with a woman (Tamar) whom he thought was a prostitute (but who happened to be his daughter-in-law)(Genesis 38:13-18)
Tamar: slept with her father-in-law (Judah) in order to have a son (Genesis 38:13-16)
Rahab: pagan prostitute (Joshua 2:1)
David: murderer and adulterer (2 Samuel 11:2-15), absentee Dad
Bathsheba: adulterer (2 Samuel 11:1-5)
Solomon: married hundreds of women and had hundreds of mistresses, worshiped false gods (1 Kings 11:1-4)
Rehoboam: cruel king who oppressed his people (1 Kings 12:13-14)
Abijah: an unfaithful king who did not learn from the poor choices of those before him (1 Kings 15:3)
Jehoram: unfaithful king who was easily influenced by others to do wrong (2 Kings 8:18)
As you can hopefully see, you do NOT have to get yourself “cleaned up” before you can come to Jesus, no more than you are supposed to wait to get healthy before you go see a doctor!
But once you do come to Him and accept His free forgiveness, He WILL clean you up because He already loves you, not so that He will eventually love you!
Please remember Jesus’ invitation to ALL of us in Matthew 11:28-30 NLT:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you,
because I am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear,
and the burden I give you is light.”
What an invitation! What a promise!
Please remember who Jesus invites to become a child of God through faith in Jesus (John 1:12-13NIV):
“Yet to all who did receive him,
to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God—
children born not of natural descent,
nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God.”
You may not feel like royalty, and you may not act like royalty,
but Jesus treats you like royalty and is inviting you into His family to be royalty…forever.
What an invitation! What a promise!
Open it, accept it, and embrace Jesus with your dirty hands, tattered clothes, foul soul-odor, and bleeding wounds…The Doctor is in the house!
He loves you just as you are (and He loves you too much to leave you that way)[Rick Warren]…
Receive Christ today…
If you want to receive Jesus as your Savior, please talk to Him and say something like this:
“Jesus, I believe that you are God and that you died on the cross and returned back to life to pay the penalty for my sins that I deserve.
By faith I receive You as my Savior–I humbly accept what You did on the cross as my only ticket to heaven, to forgiveness, to eternal life.
I thank You now with words–thank YOU!
Please help me to thank You moving forward with my actions.