Love Down The Line (11AM)
Today is the final Sunday of Advent (Advent being the four Sundays prior to Christmas morning set aside to prepare for the miracle of Jesus’ birth). Christian faith claims that at Christmas God voluntarily left heaven and entered human history. When we rejected God He did not reject us. When we walked away from Him He did not walk away from us. Instead, He came for a specific purpose. Several times He stated, “I came to seek and save the lost.” That’s us. His birth was the first stage of a rescue mission.
Our theme throughout these past weeks has been a line from the beautiful Christmas Hymn “O Holy Night” … “‘Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” When He appeared, and only then, did we begin to understand God’s love, and our worth.
Today’s sermon passage is another unusual choice for an Advent message (as has been the previous three). This morning we will read through a long list of names found at the beginning of Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life. Why would Matthew open his story of the greatest life ever lived this way? Why would he remind us, in this list, of all of the unsavory and questionable characters in Jesus’ lineage? What does this list of names tell us about God, ourselves, our worth?
As we gain in years we often find a growing curiosity about our ancestors. Organizations, websites, DNA tests, are dedicated to helping us discover where we came from and who we are related to. Many hope to find a direct connection with someone famous, someone of influence, someone who helped change the world. When we find such a connection we can’t wait to tell others. “I’m the great, great, great, great cousin of …” Our past plays a role in defining how we see ourselves today. As we explore Jesus’ ancestors we will find something there that will define us too. When He appeared...