Saint Matthew begins his gospel with what looks like a long, boring, irrelevant list of names:
Perez begat Herron, Hezron begat Ram, Ram begat Amminadab, Amminadab begat Nahshon…
Why in the world are the names of these long dead men included? What could their lost stories possibly have to teach us about the coming of Jesus?
We begin to understand once we remember that this is a redemption story. Christ comes to redeem all of God’s creation–to reclaim and refashion it for God. That means no piece of human history is left out–no life is untouched. Learning these strange names–and about the lives behind them–uncovers the blinding scope and power of God’s redemptive work in Christ. Uzziah, Shealtiel, Jehoshaphat and Zerrubbabel–all of their stories are part of the story of Jesus. I hope you’ll join me to learn how. (If nothing else, it’ll be fun to watch my struggle to pronounce their names!)