Joseph was the son of Mattathias. Mattathias was the son of Amos. Amos was the son of Nahum. Nahum was the son of Esli. Esli was the son of Naggai. (Luke 3:25)
There are many passages of scripture that read like this one. The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles sound a lot like this. Why does this Bible record genealogies? Why is it important to know who the grandfather was or the great grandfather, etc.? What is it about lineage and the family tree that warranted it being recorded in scripture?
The most important factor is the promises that God made to men like Abraham and David. The bible records the genealogy to prove that God kept His word.
As you read through many of the genealogies of the Old and New Testaments you will come across names that are not found anywhere else in the scripture. We know hardly anything about these men or women other than who their father was and who their son was. The history of their life is not told; we are only informed that they were a link in the chain that completed the promise of God to both Abraham and David concerning the Messiah. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty important role in history.
Many Christians read right over the genealogies; the names hold no significance to us and therefore we skip ahead. There were generations of time that passed between historically significant events yet during these years God was performing His promise through the birth of the next generation. We may casually read over the names of many of these men because we are provided with no significant information on their lives or deeds other than that they fathered a child but we would not have the New Testament today if these men had not fulfilled God’s role for their lives as fathers and sons.
Many Christians today are relegated into insignificance in the church. Many find themselves as names listed on a church membership role but rarely find themselves engaged in Christianity beyond the worship service. Many Christians when asked about their faith reply with “I am a member of ______ church”. Church membership is important, but our individual walk with Christ and our fulfillment of the Great Commission hold a much greater significance. Our participation in extending the family tree of heaven is one of the most important things God has called us as Christians to do.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Christianity has two main goals:
- For us as individuals to be reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus Christ
- For us to share God’s message of reconciliation with others
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (1 Corinthians 5:18-21)
I don’t want to downplay the role of fulltime ministers in the body of Christ but I would like to make an assumption and say that 99%+ of the body of Christ has not been called to fulfill the Ephesians 4:11 roles of an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. The overwhelming majority of Christians are believers who will spend the majority of their time outside of the walls of the church and it is in the places we live, work and fellowship outside of the church that Christianity must truly thrive.
Most of our names will not be placed in lights or hold great significance to the body of Christ at large. Most of us are genealogy level Christians in the grand scheme of things. As those whose names appear in the genealogies of the Bible most of us will only be remembered by those who we brought into the Kingdom. I believe this is a truly significant role in the history of the world.
The genealogy of heaven through you could read:
“And Joe shared the gospel with Mike who in turn shared the gospel with Brian who in turn shared the gospel with Jennifer. This is the same Jennifer who shared the gospel with Alex who became pastor of the church in St. Louis and won many thousands to the faith.”
Our role in the body of Christ, regardless of our station in life, gifting, calling, etc. is to reproduce and extend the family tree of heaven. Jesus wants our name to be in the genealogy of heaven. The gospel line cannot stop with us; we must produce generations of believers beyond ourselves.
The Great Commission of Matthew 28 and Mark 16 reminds me of God’s first command to man in Genesis 1:
Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)
God commanded man to reproduce and fill the earth. The New Testament has the same command; we are to expand the Kingdom of God through the preaching of the Gospel. We reproduce through reconciliation.
I want to keep this message short but here are the main points I am hoping to communicate:
- There are no insignificant members of the body of Christ
- There should be no barren members of the body of Christ; we are all called to reproduce
- We reproduce through reconciliation; bringing people back to God because of Jesus.
Your life matters to God. Your life matters in your community. Your life matters in the history of this world. Extend the family tree of heaven by sharing the gospel with those who have yet to believe.