Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work. He was the son (as was thought) of Joseph son of Heli, son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melchi, son of Jannai, son of Joseph, son of Mattathias, son of Amos, son of Nahum, son of Esli, son of Naggai, son of Maath, son of Mattathias, son of Semein, son of Josech, son of Joda, son of Joanan, son of Rhesa, son of Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, son of Neri, son of Melchi, son of Addi, son of Cosam, son of Elmadam, son of Er, son of Joshua, son of Eliezer, son of Jorim, son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Simeon, son of Judah, son of Joseph, son of Jonam, son of Eliakim, son of Melea, son of Menna, son of Mattatha, son of Nathan, son of David, son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz, son of Sala, son of Nahshon, son of Amminadab, son of Admin, son of Arni, son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor, son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah, son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech, son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalaleel, son of Cainan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.
Just imagine the makers of television’s Who Do You Think You Are trying to put together a programme about Jesus, based on the genealogy Luke provides. It seems full of possibilities. Lots of material to explore – seventy-plus names, some of them famous, though sadly information on female ancestors is lacking.
It wouldn’t be long before other problems arose either. Researchers would point out that this list and Matthew’s don’t tally. What about those names on Luke’s list that nobody else mentions? Where did they come from? Then there’s the lack of written records for the time of Noah and Methuselah, to say nothing of Adam.
When they get to the end of the list the wheels really come off: Adam, son of God? What are they to do with that? It’s time to give up, and hand over the material to their colleagues at Songs of Praise. In fact, that’s the better way to read this list; primarily as praise.
Jesus, about thirty years of age, ready to start out on his work, is thought to be the son of Joseph. Look back further, however, and you discover he is child of Adam who is child of God. Jesus is a human child of humankind, who right from the start are created by God to be in God’s image.
Jesus is just like you and me, living life as a fellow family member of the human race; a child of Adam. Luke’s good news, though, is that this child of Adam is setting out on his public work as Son of God. He’ll do that in a way we fellow children of Adam, and God, have never matched. This will have such a positive effect on our family relationship with God that it’s worthy of our songs of praise.
O God, thank you for allowing me to be your child. Thank you that you have included me within the human family. Thank you for the work of your Son, Jesus; child of Adam, child of yours. For all of this, I sing your praise. Amen.
The Rev’d Trevor Jamison, Saint Columba’s United Reformed Church, North Shields
St. Andrew's United Reformed Church - The United Reformed Church in Monkseaton and Whitley Bay
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