At this difficult time when there is fear and much searching, the remembrance of Jesus Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection offers us hope. In light of this, I thought it would be interesting to look at a couple of genealogies recorded in the Bible.
Firstly, two of the four gospel accounts record the genealogy of Jesus. Why is this important? The authors were writing to different audiences and wanted to convey different attributes of Jesus, His nature and ministry. The first gospel with a genealogy, Matthew, was written primarily to the Jews, showing that Jesus was King and the Messiah, and a king must have a genealogy to show his right to reign. Secondly, Mark's gospel, which was written primarily for the Romans about Jesus the servant, lacks a genealogy as a servant doesn’t need one. The other gospel with a genealogy was Luke which was written to the Greeks who were preoccupied with what constituted the perfect man, and of course every man has a genealogy. Finally, John, which also lacks a genealogy, was written to a more general audience showing that Jesus was God, and God doesn’t have a genealogy as He is self existent, without beginning or end.
These genealogies of Jesus do not gloss over the failings of its members. It includes Rahab who was a prostitute from the city of Jericho, Ruth a Moabite (Moab was a pagan nation and hostile to Israel), king David who committed adultery and murder, and many more. Often times in my research I come across a family scandal that previous generations have tried to cover up or ignore. But Jesus was not ashamed to associate with humanity but came to save us. If humanity’s relationship with God was lost by a man, namely Adam, it could only be restored by a man – Jesus the Son of God! You can read about this in Romans chapter 5.
This brings me to the final genealogy which is found in Genesis chapter 5 that traces the lineage from Adam to Noah. In recent history people would often name their children after the king or queen at the time eg. George or Elizabeth, or after either one of their parents or grand-parents. By contrast, the names of people in the Bible, especially Hebrew names, had significant meaning and were associated with events or personal experience. So it is with the genealogy of Adam to Noah, the names of which are: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah. Their respective names translate as follows: Adam - ‘Man’ (is), Seth - ‘Appointed’, Enosh - ‘Mortal’, Cainan - ‘Sorrow’ (but), Mahalaleel - ‘the blessed God’, Jared - ‘Shall come down’, Enoch - ‘Teaching’, Methuselah - ‘His death’ (shall bring the), Lamech - ‘Despairing’, Noah - ‘Rest’. This is the Gospel in a nutshell, God's promise of salvation, thousands of years before Jesus was born.
So if you are despairing during this pandemic crisis, there is hope to be found by trusting in Jesus Christ who paid the price for man's sin and rose from the dead.