The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ ... Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers ... and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. (Matthew 1:1a, 2, 15-16)
"Tell me about your family," we ask when we're trying to get to know someone. What can we learn about Jesus from His ancestors?
Start with Abraham—the "friend of God" who left his family to go wherever God would send him. He is a great man of faith, yes; but he abandoned his own son Ishmael in the desert, and allowed his wife Sarah to be taken into another man's harem to save his own life.
Isaac? We honor him as the young man who was willing to lay down his life, if necessary, at God's command. But he's also the father who played favorites and set up his sons to be enemies for years.
Jacob? The man who tried to cheat his way through life, only to realize in the end that God was the one who would give him help and every good thing.
We don't have time to run through all Jesus' ancestors—David, the faithful king—and adulterer and murderer; Rahab, the prostitute who saved Israel's spies; faithful King Hezekiah, who fathered Manasseh, who offered his child as a human sacrifice! Good and evil, faith and faithlessness, appear on every level of Jesus' family tree.
And isn't that the way it should be for someone who came to save us all? Jesus' ancestors are like us. We too are mixtures of good and evil; and we cry out for a Savior to help us. By sending Jesus, God has heard our cry.
WE PRAY: Come, Lord Jesus, to be Savior of us all. Amen.
* Are you proud of your ancestors, if you know them? Ashamed?
* Why do you think God didn't pick only good ancestors for Jesus?
* Jesus came for you personally. What does this mean to you?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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