This amazing opening to the New Testament contains so many important things! We are familiar with most of them. But if there is a part of this beginning to the gospel we pay the least amount of attention to, it is surely the very first part of it, the geneaologies. Closer examination of these and those in Mark’s gospel show that Matthew was establishing the legal ancestry of Jesus and Mark his bloodline. That is consistent with what is Matthew’s evident method of presenting Jesus to the Jewish nation as the legal fulfillment of the promised Messiah.
But do these ancestral lists hold much interest for us non Jews, apart from appreciating their original intent which importance should not be overlooked or minimized? Jesus had no blood connection to His father Joseph, yet this is how the New Testament begins.
Many of us have family to which we have no blood connection but who are as important to us as Joseph was to Jesus. We don’t have any need to establish pedigree, but we regard an adopted child with as much love and acceptance as we do a biological child. And that works many directions as with blended families, “step-children,” “step parents,” “step brothers and sisters,” etc.
Unless a person has close involvement with such situations, they may not understand, but here in this section of scripture is a reminder to consider these relationships and learn to at least recognize their importance in those families that are so constructed.
A preacher friend of mine adopted three children and was surprised when his wife became pregnant with a biological child they thought would not be possible. When this family visited places they would sometimes be asked, “which one is the REAL one?” My friend would reply, “this one is real, the others are plastic.” A gentle rebuke of how the question, which should never be asked, was phrased.
Witnessing that happen, left me with a sensibility to the kinds of familial relationships that are so abundant around us.
And reminds us that “we are all the children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7) through faith in Jesus Christ.
We are all “adopted” sons of God (Romans 8:15). None of us are “plastic.” We are all real. We take great consolation in this relationship which was established when the legal criteria were met. That’s how adoption works. The New Testament makes quite clear that this adoption is made real when we come to the place that we are “in Christ” (Eph.1:3; Gal.3:26,27).
The document that confirms this relationship, authored by the Holy Spirit Himself through those He inspired, becomes the witness of our adoption (Romans 8:16).
We are the family of God.