This Sunday begins Advent Season 2016 – already! Advent is a time of anticipation and waiting. Waiting for what? The simple answer – GOOD NEWS – the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world. Every year the church around the world joins together in retelling the greatest story ever told – God’s story!
Beginning Sunday we begin a new message series from the Gospel of Matthew. And the Gospel of Matthew begins with a peculiar genealogy. Why is it peculiar? Matthew intentionally mentions five women. This is very unusual for several reasons. For one, women aren’t mentioned in genealogies of the Ancient Near East. Also, there are many women who could be mentioned but are not mentioned, like Sarah, Rebekah, or Leah for example. What’s going on?
Matthew is writing his Gospel story for a Jewish audience. From the opening words to the ending words, Matthew is proclaiming the Gospel message – beginning already with the genealogy – a gospel of grace! It is for all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, including gentiles, who believe in Jesus.
During Advent, we will explore the women of the genealogy of Jesus. By mentioning these particular women, his Jewish audience is ‘hearing’ something powerful. Jesus bloodline is a bloodline of grace. God carries out his plan of salvation for the world through ordinary, yet extraordinary, sinful people. In spite of the unfaithfulness of God’s people, God remains faithful to his plan of salvation.
After Christmas, we will continue our journey through Matthew to seek to understand and know Jesus better – through his teaching, his life and his death. And in knowing Jesus better, we will know and understand better what God’s will is for our life. We have been called by God to enter into his great story of grace.
In preparation for Sunday, take a look at the genealogy of Jesus as arranged and recorded by Matthew in Chapter 1 of the Gospel of Matthew. Notice the women mentioned there: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the wife of Uriah, and Mary. Then read the story of Tamar found in Genesis 38. Q’s: What is the heart of the issue for Judah? Why is he afraid to give his only remaining son to Tamar as the law of God requires (Deuteronomy 25:5-10)? Does the end justify the means of Tamar’s actions? Finally, where do you see justice and where do you see grace in this chapter? (Some answers are obvious and others not so much – Dig Deep!)