Daily Devotion for December 30, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart.
Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Prayer for PeaceMay the forgiving spirit of Him to whom we dedicate this season prevail again on earth.
May hunger disappear and terrorists cease their senseless acts.
May people live in freedom, worshiping as they see fit, loving others.
May the sanctity of the home be ever preserved.
May peace, everlasting peace, reign supreme.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Semonkong Waterfall in Lesotho (Africa)
Shoot out Your arrows and destroy them. Stretch out Your hand from above;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, From the hand of the unholy,
Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
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.
Notes on the Scripture
It is important to understand this intimidating and tedious-looking introduction to the Gospel of Matthew. It is, first off, the genealogy of Jesus. It lists the line of descendants from Abraham down to the birth of Christ. This, Matthew wants us to understand, is Jesus' royal heritage. Kingship is hereditary, and a king was (and still is) expected to prove a claim to the throne by virtue of his lineage.
The lineage of all Judaism began with Abraham. David, the great king of Jewish history, thus traced his bloodline to Abraham, to bolster his credibility as a proper king, one anointed by God. (2 Samuel 7) It was his pedigree, so to speak.
These are the two most important names in the genealogy, and they are stated right at the beginning. In other words, Matthew 1:1 is saying, "Here is proof that Jesus of Nazareth was the proper King of Israel." What this tells us is that the book is addressed to Jews who are sceptical of Jesus' authority. Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter's son, yet here are the early disciples calling him "King".
Roman Judea was not a Western democracy, where a boy could be born to poor farmers and expect to become President. It was a fixed hierarchical society. Every person knew his tribe, his land, and his place by virtue of his birth. Priests, for example, had to be from the tribe of Levi, i.e. descendants of Aaron. Even land ownership required a knowledge of one's family tree, because the Jews would have "Jubilee Years" in which all land was returned to its original family, meaning the owner had to trace his rights back to the original grant of ownership from God, in the era after Moses.
Everyone recognizes that Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem for a tax census. Even the Romans realized how Jewish society was organized. Joseph was registered, not where he lived, but in the home of his ancestors.
The deportation of the Jews to Babylon was a signal event. When, at the end of 70 years of captivity, the Jews returned to their homeland, they once again had to decide who had rightful claims to what land. Their laws and records were enormously advanced for the time. A man's wealth, when returning from Babylonia, was completely determined by his ability to show his lineage. (This all ended in 70 A.D., when Titus Vespasian sacked Jerusalem, massacred over a million Jews, and dispersed the remainder. He destroyed all the records of lineage so that today, almost no Jew has any idea of his ancient ancestry.)
Matthew describes Christ's lineage through Joseph, whereas Luke traces His ancestry through Mary, who was also descended from David. Of course, in point of fact, it was actually Mary who had David's bloodline, as Joseph was Christ's stepfather. (Christ's lineage on His father's side, of course, gave Him claim to be the King of Earth for all time.)
I'm sure you've read enough, but it needs to be said, that discussion this passage encapsulates a book's worth of reading. There are prophets, kings, apostates, idolaters, prostitutes, adulterers, and even children of incest in the royal line — not much different from a British King's heritage!