Faith Daily | 17 December 2020
PRAYER of the Week| ADVENT THREE (APBA p.468):
you have made us and all things to serve you:
come quickly to save us,
so that wars and violence shall end
and your children may live in peace,
honouring one another with justice and love;
through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord,
who lives with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 1: 1-17
An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, 4and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6and Jesse the father of King David.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,* 8and Asaph* the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos,* and Amos* the father of Josiah, 11and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.*
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah,* fourteen generations.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Mary Dean
Why did Matthew begin his gospel with all these names?
Everyone has a past, and Jesus is no exception. This list proves to us that His birth is rooted in history. The gospels all present Jesus in different ways - Matthew’s gospel presents Jesus as Messiah and King and he sets out to show us where he came from.
So by starting with a genealogy Matthew establishes Jesus’ true humanity - a real man with a family tree. And when we go down that track some of us get very excited about what we might find!
And we find that God made specific promises to some of those named here - for example, God promised Abraham in Gen 22:18 “Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed”. God made a promise to David in 2 Samuel 7 about a son, so we see in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of Abraham and the promised son of David.
But we all usually find the unexpected too when we start researching our personal backgrounds! - There are four women in this list - and all with questionable pasts. (Most families have a closet story they’d rather not repeat!) Perhaps this could be to remind us that Jesus came for sinners which includes all of us. Martin Luther commented - “Christ is the kind of person who is not ashamed of sinners - He even put them in His family tree”.
Christ’s birth was rooted in God’s sovereignty, God’s promises and God’s grace - all of which are freely available to us.
FINAL PRAYER: Final Prayer for Sacred Stories[Celtic Daily Prayer Book II, Harper Collins, London.)
Adapted from Ngatiowa River Monastery]
We welcome you, Spirit of God,
You who seek our company
and choose to make Yourself known to us.
We are grateful for many blessings,
including bringing us together
at this time and in this place.
We ask that you would use this time
to challenge us, to encourage us, to change us,
that we may continue to grow and be transformed
and in this process find hope
to offer the world around us.