Saturday 17th February – Luke 3:23-38 ‘The True Human’

Luke 3:23-38

Ancestry is big business nowadays.  Millions of us now regularly use ancestry websites to track down our family trees, and overall the genealogy market is now worth over £3 billion worldwide.  Indeed, its popularity has even recently led to a change in the law.  In 2021, the way marriages are registered in the UK was changed.  Part of the reason for this was because vicars used to make too many mistakes – who knew?! – however, the major reason was so that more information could be recorded about our parents.

So, since May 2021, not just fathers are recorded on a marriage certificate, but you can also, if you wish, include mothers and even step-parents.  Their occupations are also meant to be recorded more accurately – and this is all being driven by our thirst to know where we come from, so that, in a hundred years’ time, your great-great-grandchildren can find out more about their family lines.

If you read scripture, you’ll know that the Old Testament is full of genealogies.  Implicit in this is the recognition that where we’ve come from says a lot about who we are and what we’ll become.  But it’s also deeper than that.  The bible is a book full of promises: promises made by a loving God to the world, and especially to his people.  The genealogies in scripture are really all about looking for the fulfilment of these promises: when will all the nations be blessed? When will the anointed ruler come to save us, and set us free?

Jesus’ own genealogy is told twice.  In Matthew it starts with Abraham and moves forward; Jesus is presented as the true heir, both of Abraham and of King David.  However, in Luke, he starts with Jesus and looks back, all the way to Adam.  Why?  Certainly not to contradict Matthew!  Although Luke’s genealogy inevitably has more names, as it covers a longer period, you’ll find the same key ancestors in each.

Rather, what Luke is telling us is that Jesus is the human being that each of us was always meant to be: he is, if you like, the True Adam, the human who lives in obedient and loving intimacy with God forever, just like God intended.  Jesus comes to put right what was lost by Adam and Eve at the Fall, and so to restore us back to wholeness and union with God.

That’s the plan.  And the rest of Luke shows how God achieves it, through Jesus – the fulfilment of all God’s promises to us.  As we close our week, give thanks that we are heirs and beneficiaries of the greatest of all family trees: the people of God.  And pray that our generation might pass that blessing on to a hungry world, that they, too, may know the joy of joining this global family.