Every time I read the first chapter of Matthew, I’m struck by how important it must be to trace the connections of the past to the present.
Matthew was inspired by the Holy Spirit to include Jesus’s family tree at the very beginning of his account of Jesus’ life, so, clearly, God wants us to notice.
There must be intrinsic value in us being reminded of how people in the past connect to those alive now… how a cultural past has created a current reality… how my own past has led to my own present.
But for Matthew, a genealogy like this isn’t a ‘wallowing’ experience. There is some serious drama hiding between the lines of this family tree (“Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers“? anyone?), but Matthew doesn’t elaborate beyond his task of tracing the thread. The stories exist elsewhere for us to read; his job is to document the chain, not drag up the brokenness within it. The connections themselves are valuable.
But we still must read the stories, for only then will we understand the phenomenal truth of these people’s lives being linked to the birth of our perfect Savior. We will understand that a thread of broken people who make bad decisions has always been God’s chosen medium for displaying his glory.
In a thread like that, I can find a place to stand.