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harper-08292014This article is by Walt Harper. Hailing from New London, Iowa, Walt began attending Central in the Fall of 2002.  After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Research in 2006, he left Moberly to preach and attend seminary in Illinois.  While later serving as a youth minister in West Virginia, he accepted an offer to become Professor of Bible and Ministry with oversight of our Youth & Family Ministry program.  Other classes he teaches are Life of Christ I and Discovering the Bible.  Walt and his wife Jessi have a son named Levi.  You can contact him by email at waltharper@cccb.edu.

When I was young, I got the opportunity to be in a Christmas play at a church where I earned one of the lead parts: Joseph. This was exciting! I had a lot of lines to learn, and I got to wear a robe and be the center of attention. However, these lines were difficult to memorize because there were some names and words that were tough to say.  I realize that even today, around the Christmas season, the genealogy of Jesus is skipped over while presenting the Christmas story because of the fear of mispronouncing names or uncertainty of how to use such a list and make it relevant.

While I still might have a hard time pronouncing some of the names, I find myself in awe of the message that we find in the genealogy of Jesus.  One of the more prominent themes of this list of names is the fulfilled promises of God.  Since sin entered the world, there has been a pledge to make things right. God made a promise to Abraham that all of the nations would be blessed through his lineage, and He told David his throne would not end. Even in the darkest times of Israel, God kept his promises.

Maybe an even more inspiring message is found in the people that are listed in the genealogical record. I see Tamar, whose story is marked by deceit and scandal. There is Rahab, who is introduced to us in Scripture as a harlot, and Bathsheba, whose story is tainted with adultery with King David. Personally, I would love to brag about a king in my family line, but I probably wouldn’t be bragging about being related to Manasseh, who is primarily noted for his idolatry and desecration of the house of the Lord.

There are many reasons for the Jews to record a genealogy the way that they did, but I believe there is another message for us to take from the people that are mentioned.  The message is: God can use each of us.  It doesn’t matter what our background is or what our reputation might be; God can be glorified in and through us. As I search through the pages of Scripture and read about the great heroes, I do not see a book about awesome people. Rather, I see a book about an awesome God.  Today, we get to be a part of God’s big story of redemption and to present Jesus, the light of the world, to a very dark world.  How will God use you to show his great love?


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