Family genealogy has become quite intriguing to me the past few years. We had a membership to ancestory.com for a few years and also became very interested in NBC’s show, “Who Do You Think You Are. I’ve been thinking about family lines a lot this week. Tuesday would have been my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary had my dad still been alive. I called my mom to wish her a happy anniversary because even though that day has changed in form, it is still a day to celebrate a very joyous and important marker in the history of our family. Contemporaneously, David and I are reading through the Christmas story bit by bit. I took the first turn of reading a loud on December 1st and warned David that he might just fall asleep because yes, I was going to read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. As I read, several memorable names in His family tree reminded me of how important the stories of our families are. The one that struck me with the most blunt force this time was Uzziah.
A year or two ago I did a Beth Moore study that looked at Isaiah 6 in great depth. I remember making this connection back then, but the profundity of it struck me this week. In the line of Jesus through his earthly father, Joseph, King Uzziah is listed as one of His forefathers. I’m not an expert on King Uzziah, but I do know that the end of his life was memorable enough for it to be a part of Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord. When he looked back over his life, Isaiah recalled the specific time when he met the Lord and realized that he was an unholy mess in the presence of holiness defined. “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord…” (Isaiah 6:1a). If you’ll recall, it wasn’t long before Isaiah was exclaiming, “Woe to me! I am ruined! I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (v.5). Yet, God chose to use that unholy mess named Isaiah to be a voice to tell the world about His Son. The king who died the year that Isaiah met the Lord personally would be part of the family line that ushered in the King of Kings to the world so that the rest of us would have the chance to meet Him personally too.
Have you met Him personally? If so, what or who is a marker for you? My marker is my mom, who not only gave me the gift of life, but also led me to the giver of life when I was four years old. God allowed her to be born into our family line not only to be a marker for the person who brought me into this world, but also to be His messenger as she told me the good news of God’s Son just as Isaiah did to his people. There are many markers past her, though, that made that day possible. Those markers are wedding days. My parents’ wedding day on December 4, 1982 never would have happened if T.W. & Mary Helen Wilson and Glenn & Patricia Pereira hadn’t had their wedding days. Their wedding days wouldn’t have happened if Jesse Hooks hadn’t married Thomas Walter Wilson, Sr.; Helen Player hadn’t married Carl Sellers; Henrietta Rodgers hadn’t married Manuel Pereira; and Cecelia Tomulty hadn’t married Peter Francis Murray. Without their stories, my story would have never happened. The list continues beyond my knowledge, but Jesus’ list is astonishingly well preserved. But His list wouldn’t have been the same if the stories of the people in the line had not happened. Suppose Ruth’s first husband had still lived? She and Boaz would have never given birth to Jesse, the father of King David. He was the pivotal person in the family lineage that many prophecies of Jesus the King were centered around. God has filled in the blanks with most of the people in this lineage for us and given us great details for how He established His family tree. Even in the not so brag worthy skeletons in the closet, such as Rahab, the prostitute, He welcomed the drama of their lives to be a part of His story so that He could bring meaning and redemption to their stories.
My Mimi has a plaque hanging on her wall that says it all when it comes to those that make up our family tree, “Families are like fudge: mostly sweet with a few nuts.” God used a bunch of sinners (aka nuts) and saints to establish the family line of Jesus. He’s used a bunch of sinners and saints to engraft me into the family line of Jesus too. The most beautiful part of all is the genealogy that is listed in Matthew 1 isn’t actually a bloodline to Jesus. (Remember, God the Father was the one who united with Jesus’ mother, Mary to conceive Him.) It’s the line of His adopted father. God saw that Joseph was important enough in the life of His Son to list his entire family line to tell the story of how he came into the scene. Joseph was trusted to take care of Jesus while He walked this earth. But Joseph didn’t adopt Jesus. Joseph didn’t love Jesus because he was his wife’s first born. He loved Him because the triune God that Jesus is a member of loved him first. Jesus adopted Joseph. Jesus did the same for me. He chose me from the family line I was born into and adopted me into His own. Whether they intended to or not, all of those people in my genealogy were instrumental in getting me to Jesus by keeping the family line going and giving me the gift of life. So, in the sixth year of my parents’ marriage, I saw the Lord for the very first time with clear vision. I realized what an unholy wreck I was and what perfection He was. And He adopted me into His family with a love for me that is far greater than the love I have to offer to Him in return. He adopted me with the same love that He sought His very first adopted family member with. I’m related to Him because of how He related to me. And thus, my name has been added to the genealogy of Jesus, just as Joseph’s was.
We love Him because He first loved us.