Monday, November 26, 2007

Coming Soon: Matthew 1:1-17

This week, our church is beginning a year long study on the book of Matthew. Our worship planning team has set three goals for this year: 1) Re-learn how to follow Jesus (hence the study of Matthew), 2) Increase creative participation in our worship services (give people more opportunities to get involved in the service), 3) Help people develop boundary-crossing relationships through telling stories (get out of our social ruts to get to know people who are different from us).
This journey begins with what some people call the most boring passage in the New Testament, or even the Bible. It's the "begats" - to use the King James Version language. This is the genealogy of Jesus.
I'm just getting started with the study, but so far there seem to be a few possible lines of connection:
1. Jesus is the King. That seems to be the overall point of the genealogy. (The three units of 14 generations is a reference to Hebrew numerology. 14 is the sum of the numeric value of David.)
2. God can work through the messes and mistakes of our lives to bring out something good. Notice all of the people with messed up histories in this genealogy. If you don't know, try looking up each name on
3. Jesus comes as a historical person. He enters into history, lives in a time, in a place, among a particular people. This earth, this world, this history, our actions, our cultures, what we do - all of this really matters.

I'm also thinking that I might try to dig out some of my family's genealogy, as an illustration. Another idea I had is that I might try to get one of the Korean family history books. Some of those have family records going back 500 years. The Hebrew system would have been similar, but oral.

Questions: What is the basic message of this genealogy? How do we connect that with our lives today? I may need to get into some scholarly and unfamiliar territory. How can I bring this back home to our modern/postmodern tech-filled lives?
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