Advent 2022 Banner - The newborn king


የጌታ ክብር፣ በኢየሱስ የትውልድ ሐረግ እንደተገለጸው

Amharic | Matthew 1:1–17

So, all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

– Matthew 1:17


One day, as always, I had a chat with my grandmother. As we were talking, she started to give us some advice on marriage. It’s not the kind of advice that you are thinking right now. Rather, it had to do with the background of a potential husband. She was firm in insisting that he had to be from a well-known family and that we should ask him about his ancestry and lineage. In the culture of the northern part of my country, it’s kind of an unwritten rule that you research back five to seven generations before you get married in order to be sure the partner is acceptable. Part of it is to check that there is no mix of families, but the other part is to make sure that the lineage is familiar and known. Genealogies and family lineage do really matter in most of the societies in my country, and I assume the same is true with that of my fellow Africans and beyond. It gives an assurance of relatability for the families and also for future generations!

Jesus needs to have a lineage one can associate with. Matthew (1:1–17) presents Jesus as the consummation of Israel’s history by listing the genealogy starting from Abraham, who is the bearer of the promise of God to make him a blessing to all the people on earth.

The contents of the genealogy give us a new definition of the glory of God. As we study the details of the generations, we see different kinds of people with different kinds of character as well. Such a genealogy gives us an assurance that Jesus has a reliable background and a lineage that we all can relate to. Let us see how it is the redefinition of the glory of the Lord.

As Matthew has written it, we can see it in three categories. The first category is from Abraham to David. This includes all the patriarchs, the fathers known for their strong faith, the ones who called God their Lord. Their stories and actions were very well known. Surprisingly, we also see three women mentioned, which is not the usual case in a genealogy in the history of Israel. On top of that, these women did not even have widely accepted character and lineage—two of them were Gentiles!

In the second category, we see kings, starting with the mention of David as king. In this category, we see fourteen kings, of which only two were found to be righteous— Hezekiah and Josiah. Again, we also see a woman, Bathsheba, though her name was not mentioned. Rather, she is presented as the wife of Uriah. Nevertheless, she is listed as the mother of Solomon, the second king. In the third category, I tried to look for the names in Scripture but could only find three of them! The others are unknown—i.e., not patriarchs or kings or prophets, but regular people, I assume. Again, we see one woman, called Mary, who is presented and featured when Joseph is introduced as “the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born.”

The glory of God was made known before, in the Old Testament, in some specific ways, but in ways that seem distant and unrelatable for everyday people. But the glory of God finally manifested through Jesus Christ is redefined. He is the manifested glory of God (John 1:18 and Colossians 1:19), a son of David, and the son of Abraham. But when we see His lineage, it has all kinds of people in it—Jews and Gentiles, patriarchs and kings, harlots and faithful women, unknown people and regular people. The lineage of Jesus is indeed an assurance that any one can associate themselves to it—and to Him—whether we are famous, sinful, righteous, messy, low–class, high–class, commoner, or king.

The full and final manifestation of the Lord’s glory is all about inclusion not exclusion in Jesus! Our background, our reputation, mistakes, gender, languages don’t matter. Jesus’s lineage is telling us that He belongs to the whole world, and we all can relate to Him. The coming of Jesus, the birth of Jesus, is about inclusion, assurance, and relatability.

Tigist Gelagle

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tigist Gelagle studied under Langham Scholar Dr Seblewengel Daniel at the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is the founder and National Director of Spark Valley, a non–profit organization focused on discipling high school and university students, and she serves as a Deacons Commission Secretary for the Mennonite World Conference.

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