You have, no doubt, seen or heard the many ads for genetic testing on TV, social media and radio. The rise of these sites to trace one’s ancestry has led to the creation of genetic testing kits. The commercials for these kits proclaim you receive intimate knowledge of where one’s ancestors are from and hence one’s own record of their past.
In the bible there are several genealogies. In Luke’s and Matthew’s gospel, we have two genealogies for Jesus. While similar, there are differences. Luke traces Jesus’ genealogy all the way back to Adam. Matthew only goes as far back as Abraham. Luke takes Jesus back to the beginning of time; Matthew takes Jesus back to the father of Israel. Both are trying to tell a story.
Just as Adam fell, Jesus, a direct descendant of Adam, rises from the dead to wipe away the sins of the first man. Jesus as a direct descendant of Abraham, puts him squarely in the family of Jewish leaders and brethren through his legal father Joseph. Matthew provides Jesus’ bon fides as a Jew.
Sometimes genealogies are used to prove one person is superior to another because of where their ancestors originated. While we all have a story, no one is better or worse than another’s. A royal bloodline is still red like everyone else’s blood is.
What matters is how one is grounded in the story of one’s past ancestors. One is given a place to stand and a foundation from the past, which are important. One can learn a lot from the past.
However the past can never be a sword used to cut away whole swaths of people as “less than” because of one’s ancestors. We all have a story and we are all valuable. Pompously claiming one’s story above all others is wrong. It is not something Jesus did nor should we do as His followers. He welcomed everyone into His family and genealogy, Jews and Gentiles, sick and healthy, poor and rich, men and women. How can we do any less?
Dear God, You knew from where You came and drew upon Your ancestor’s memories to form a more diverse “family” within the love of God. Help us to do so as well. Amen.