Names

Luke 3:23-38 (Message)
Son of Adam, Son of God
23 When Jesus entered public life he was about thirty years old, the son (in public perception) of Joseph, who was–
son of Heli,
24 son of Matthat,
son of Levi,
son of Melchi,
son of Jannai,
25 son of Joseph,
son of Mattathias,
son of Amos,
son of Nahum,
son of Esli,
son of Naggai,
26 son of Maath,
son of Mattathias,
son of Semein,
son of Josech,
son of Joda,
27 son of Joanan,
son of Rhesa,
son of Zerubbabel,
son of Shealtiel,
son of Neri,
28 son of Melchi,
son of Addi,
son of Cosam,
son of Elmadam,
son of Er,
29 son of Joshua,
son of Eliezer,
son of Jorim,
son of Matthat,
son of Levi,
30 son of Simeon,
son of Judah,
son of Joseph,
son of Jonam,
son of Eliakim,
31 son of Melea,
son of Menna,
son of Mattatha,
son of Nathan,
son of David,
32 son of Jesse,
son of Obed,
son of Boaz,
son of Sala,
son of Nahshon,
33 son of Amminadab,
son of Admin,
son of Arni,
son of Hezron,
son of Perez,
son of Judah,
34 son of Jacob,
son of Isaac,
son of Abraham,
son of Terah,
son of Nahor,
35 son of Serug,
son of Reu,
son of Peleg,
son of Eber,
son of Shelah,
36 son of Cainan,
son of Arphaxad,
son of Shem,
son of Noah,
son of Lamech,
37 son of Methuselah,
son of Enoch,
son of Jared,
son of Mahalaleel,
son of Cainan,
38 son of Enos,
son of Seth,
son of Adam,
son of God.

If I’m being honest, this is the kind of text that I just tend to blow past in scripture. It is a list of names. Some of the names are familiar, others are not. Yes, I am aware of the scholarly debates over the names themselves and the conflicts and consistencies with Matthew’s genealogy and the debate over whether it represents the proper number of generations to remain consistent with the messianic prophecies. Yes, that’s interesting to a degree but ultimately, yawn. It is still a list of names… half of which I can’t pronounce.

So what do we do with a text like this? Do we just skip it and move on to more exciting readings? Do we just jump to our favorite, “go to” verses? Maybe. Over the last few years, however, as I have read through the gospels a number of times, as I’ve read through these lists of names it has given me cause to simply stop and give thanks for family. I am thankful for my family — for Michelle, and Zachary, and Marin and for all my extended family.

I am also thankful that in Jesus God became a real, in-the-flesh person with a family of real, in-the-flesh people. God knows first hand the ups and owns and ins and outs of family life. As our family learns to live on mission together I feel like God can relate to and truly understand our joys and our struggles.

This list of names, however boring it may be, represents a royal blood line. It reminds me that, because of Jesus, you and me are part of this same family tree. We can skip it. We can argue about the details. Or maybe we can simply acknowledge that through Jesus, we have been made children of God. We are part of the family — this ROYAL family! Because of Jesus we now have claim to all of the authority and power and privilege that comes with the family name. This is who we are! God has named us and claimed us as his own.

How might we express our thanks for family today?
How might we express ourselves as a member of God’s family today?

2 thoughts on “Names

  1. This is how I believe I need to respond.

    6 “Is this not the fast which I choose,
    To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
    To undo the bands of the yoke,
    And to let the oppressed go free
    And break every yoke?
    7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
    And bring the homeless poor into the house;
    When you see the naked, to cover him;
    And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

    Isaiah 58:6-7

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s