Today’s Gospel is the beginning of the book of Matthew. It gives us the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Abraham, sixteen generations. I can tell you from my own experience that it isn’t easy to trace your family back that far. Even with the Internet, I’m stuck on three generations. But here’s Matthew with a remarkably complete family tree for Jesus.
But why? How important is it that we know this? It was really important to the people in Jesus’ time. See, family was everything. You were identified by your family connections. And the prophets had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house of David. Matthew’s rather long-winded family tree proved that the prophets had been right.
Jesus was of the house of David which was why He was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem was the City of David to which Joseph had to return for the census. Just one week before Christmas Eve, Matthew reminds us of Jesus’ heritage. It’s just one more way we know that Jesus is who He is. I’s also a reminder to us of how many things had to happen in a certain way for each of us to be who we are. If any one of our ancestors hadn’t met and married the right person, you and I would be completely different people, if we had been born at all.
Let’s pray for our ancestors and give thanks to God that history played out the way it did.