Tuesday of the Third Week in Advent
(Genesis 49:2.8-10; Matthew 1:1-17)
Most people find genealogies “interesting.” They look for characteristics of earlier generations in later ones. But this is not Matthew’s purpose in beginning his gospel with Jesus’ genealogy. Rather he wants to how show God fulfills his promise to Abraham. Abraham was to be the “father of many nations.” That plan is realized when Jesus sends apostles to all nations making them one family.
The plan meets high hurdles at various points. These are marked in the genealogy by the mention of women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of Uriah. These women were either foreigners or the wife of a foreigner. But God has little difficulty integrating them into Jesus’ lineage. Mary’s name is also given as the mother of Jesus. Joseph, her husband, is not Jesus’ father although he provides his Davidic lineage. It is learned a bit later that Mary conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
We should see in the genealogy a model for how God works. He has prepared for His Son’s coming into the world through Old Testament figures. There are anomalies but nothing stops the continuity. When Jesus is about to be born, something as wonderful as it is new happens. Jesus is conceived of a virgin. He is not only human but divine as well. He is worth our full attention. In the end we will see that he is worth everything we have. He is worth our very lives.