The Christmas Résumé
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In our time and culture résumé, you recommend yourself to others. A résumé does not list our parents, ancestors, or family members. In the Bible time and the time of Christ, a résumé was your pedigree, family, and clan.
Genealogy was a way of saying to the world, "This is who I am."
Matthew starts his book with the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah. He is confirming who Jesus Christ is in history. For Jesus or anyone to claim to be the Messiah, they will have to prove to be a descendant of Abraham.
"This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1 NIV).
"Lord had promised to Abraham, "through your decedent shall all of the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 22:18).
God promised David that He would build David a house and that his decedent would sit upon the throne forever. God was promising that the Messiah should come through his family line. Jesus does fulfill both of the requirements promised to Abraham and David.
This Christmas résumé of Jesus can encourage us many ways.
1. It encourages me that the Promise of a Messiah took generations to come to pass.
"Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah" (Matthew 1:17 NIV).
14 Generations Abraham to David,
14 David to Exile into Babylon,
14 exile to Messiah.
When Mary was with Elizabeth, she sang a prophetic song that Luke recorded,
"He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors" (Luke 1:54-55).
Notice that there are six generations of sevens. Jesus is the forty-ninth generation of seven generations. Jesus is the beginning of the Jubilee or fifth generation. If you want to study that more, look at the "seven years" through the Bible.
I want you to see that God may take his time, but he keeps his word.
When the promises do come to pass, it is usually not as we anticipated. Christmas means that God is working out his purposes. He will fulfill all of his promises.
"He isn't really being slow about his promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way. But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent" (2 Peter 3:9 TLB).
This Christmas résumé proves to me that his promises are true and they will all come to pass. God's timing is not my timing.
2. Encourages me to see the people God uses through the generations to fulfill his purpose.
"Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers" (Matthew 2:2).
Look at what Revelation says about Judah.
"One of the twenty-four elders said to me, "Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David's throne,[a] has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals" (Revelation 5:5 NLT).
Judah was a child of Jacob. Do you remember the story of Jacob? The Bible is not timid about his scams. Despite all this his mistakes, he met Leah, and she became an ancestor of Jesus What encouraged me is that God chooses the unattractive sister. The one Jacob did not love to be a mother in the ancestry of Jesus the Messiah.
As you read through Matthew's genealogy, there are five women listed. Three of them were Gentiles; Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. By including these women, Matthew is openings up some of the most immoral incidents in the Bible. Incidents you would not want to have in your résumé.
"Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar" (Matthew 1:3).
"Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David" (Matthew 1:5-6). Verse six continues, "David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife."
This historic family Jesus came from encourages me. Why? They were not perfect.
The firstborn son always receives the main inheritance in ancient times. But how does God work?
Through Abel, not Cain.
Through Isaac, not Ishmael.
Through Jacob, not Esau.
Through Ephraim, not Manasseh.
What about women? Ancient cultures valued women for beauty and childbearing.
God choose Sarah, not young Hagar.
God choose Leah (the unattractive sister), whom Jacob did not love over Rachel.
God choose Hannah, who was barren, to be the mother of the prophet Samuel.
God choose Samson's barren mother.
God choose Elizabeth to be John the Baptist's mother.
Does this encourage you?
"Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful." (1 Corinthians 1:26-27).
3. Encourages us to have Confidence about the past.
If God could fulfill his promise through them, then he can fulfill all his promise through us.
"Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us" (Philippines 3:13-14).
4. Encourages us to have Confidence about the future.
My mistakes are not controlling the final outcome of my life or God's purpose.
5. Encourages us to have Confidence about the present
"I looked for good but evil came instead. I waited for the light, but darkness fell." (Job 30:26 NL)
Have you ever felt that way?
This Christmas you may feel overwhelmed? Are you going through a dark time? Let this "Christmas résumé" encourage you. God will fulfill his plan and purpose in and through you.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).
When dealing with the trials and tests of our lives, this gives us peace and strength. Like Joseph could say to his brothers: "You met it for evil, but God met it for good." God is in control of the affairs of our world.
"We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
"I have the strength for all things in Christ who empowers me. I'm ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me" (Philippians 4:13 AMP).
Have a very Blessed Christmas,
Larry & Janet Neville