"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ...If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."Recently my church hosted an annual fall festival that entailed baking 800 apple dumplings. New to the congregation, I decided to help with the two-day event as it created an opportunity for me to meet other members. (No, the above photo is not the baking committee.)
Assigned to measure out vegetable shortening for each batch of dumplings, I chatted with a young woman who stood across the kitchen counter from me. Our questions flowed in sync as we scooped out, measured, and placed individual portions of shortening on serving trays. Are you a student? Where do you attend school? Why did you move here? Where did you move from? One question resulted in an answer that led to another inquiry.
Our conversation became more animated when we discovered Trish's grandparents live in the community where I was raised. I made a note of their names; and that afternoon, I called my mother, who lives 875 miles away, to determine if she was familiar with this young woman's family. To my amazement, I learned not only is my mom acquainted with Trish's grandparents, but Trish and I are cousins. Trish's great-great-grandmother and my grandmother were sisters!
Genealogies have had a significant role in history since the beginning of time. The first family tree recorded in Genesis 5 begins, "This is the written account of Adam's line."
In the New Testament book of Matthew, the account of Christ's life begins with a genealogy 17 verses long. It is like a pedigree giving evidence that proves a title and making out a claim that confirms our Lord Jesus is, indeed, the son of David and the son of Abraham.
Matthew's aim in writing his gospel is to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. Proof of a man's lineage was required before a Jew would even consider a man's credentials for royalty, the priesthood, or even his place among the people of God. Consequently, it is imperative that Jesus' direct line to the throne of David, and His link with Old Testament prophecies concerning that line, be fully traced before beginning the account of His birth.
All Bible genealogies culminate in this final line of descent that ends with the birth of Jesus. Once Christ was born, the only family line needed is the one that has its direct source in Christ. Through faith in Him, every individual who becomes a "child of God" is an heir in His family, with all the attendant rights and privileges.
Where our earthly families are concerned, connections are valuable. Connections are one way we keep this big world smaller, simpler, and more intimate.
The following day when I arrived at church to finish our dumpling project, I hugged my newly-found cousin and showed her a never-before-seen picture of her ancestors. That day, the world became a bit more personal for Trish as she made a connection with her great-great-grandparents, as well as her great-great-great-grandpa.
"Cool," she said in a hushed tone as she cradled the photo in her hands and studied the faces of her ancestors.
I agree. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are Abraham's true, spiritual descendants. We are recipients of his promise. God is definitely "cool."
Friend, you never know who you'll meet. How are you connecting with God's family of believers to help make your world a little smaller, a bit more personal?
Blessings, dear friend.