The family tree of Jesus Christ, David’s son, Abraham’s son: Matthew 1:1 (MSG)
I remember back to grade school and some of the contests of pride me and the boys would get into on the playground, in the lunch room, and during recess. Whose dad is bigger? Who is better at [fill in the blank]? Who was related to somebody famous?
It’s silly to look back on now, but some of those things are simply a part of human nature, and they carry down through generations. Walk onto any playground today and you’ll hear variations on the same pissing match.
Even in Jesus day, the people took a great amount of pride and interest in who was related to whom. In those days, much of your life was determined by the tribe in which you were born. In fact, the writers of the gospels knew quite well that the Old Testament prophets claimed that the Messiah would come out of the royal line of David. Unless Jesus could trace his lineage back to David, the people would not accept him as the Messiah. That’s why both Matthew and Luke begin their biographies with a family tree. Matthew traces the lineage through Jesus earthly father while Luke traces the lineage through his mother. Either direction, you find the key link to David.
And, while Jesus could have bragged to the other boys on the playground about being from the royal line, they would have taken one look at the list and given Jesus grief that the line also included prostitutes, deceivers, adulterers, murderers, and evil idolatrous kings.
Everyone can point back to honorable and dishonorable branches in the family tree. While the past can help us understand who we are and where we came from, the journey is all about the steps we choose to take in propelling us forward.