Ana Kuykendall (12th Grade)
So, I read Matthew 1:1-17 today and found that I recognized several names in the genealogy of Christ. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Boaz, Rahab, Ruth, Jesse, David, Hezekiah, Joseph, Mary, and, of course, Jesus. These are names most every person who has grown up in the church will recognize. These people, who are the ancestors of our Savior, are often put in a sort of “Hall of Fame” of Bible characters. When it comes to genealogies, we often find ourselves skipping over the long, “weird” names and finding comfort in the stories which we know and love, the “Hall of Famers”. Abraham, the father of all Israel, whose descendants number with the stars of the sky and the sand of the seas, is a comfort character. Boaz, a man of great wealth and a man of integrity, is a comfort character. David, a shepherd boy that became a man after God’s own heart and one of the few men who led a united Israel and Judah, is a comfort character. Now, I am not at all saying that we should forget these men (and women) and skip over these genealogies. No, by no means at all should we do that. In these verses we have the history of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which is something we should not take lightly. The Bible does not waste any words, so the fact that this was included shows us that this is important for us to know.
In my life, I found that these verses applied to me mostly in the sense of how I act and treat people. Oftentimes, I will treat people like these verses are treated. I will act super nice and friendly to people whom I recognize and love; however, to strangers it is much easier and sometimes tempting for me to be standoffish and impolite. When doing this, it is easy to forget that people passing by you during your day have lives as well, and their lives can be incredibly amazing or incredibly tragic.
These “strangers” that you and I see may not even be truly strangers. They could the be the guy sitting alone at Chick-Fil-A every morning when you go for breakfast. They could be the girl who sits at the back of the classroom every day and doesn’t talk to anyone. They could be the person who lives across the street whom you see regularly but never talk to. Imagine if you got to know one of them and were just able to show them the love of Christ through your actions and words. When we pass over these people that we have repeated opportunities to reach out to, we can be missing out on the chance to show them the love of Christ. And who knows? Sometimes people have some pretty crazy stories when you get to know them.
One of those “weird names” in the genealogies, Zerubbabel (try saying that five times fast), whom I would venture to say that 99% of humanity today has not heard of, was a pretty impressive guy. Some background on him? Well, after the Jews had been held captive in Babylon for many years, Cyrus, king of Persia, finally allowed them to return home. Guess who the Jew’s leader was. Yep, it was Zerubbabel. He led home the Jews to Jerusalem and helped “oversee” the reconstruction of the temple and was the governor of Judah. Talk about a busy guy. In Haggai 2:23 ESV it says, “On that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the Lord, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.” This guy, Zerubbabel, was the governor of Judah and chosen by the Lord. How many people can put that on their résumé? However, if not for getting to know him and who he was (through the Bible), we would never have known who he was. In the end, if we take the time to actually engage the people around us, we could not only impact them, but they could impact us. This Christmas season, and even beyond Christmas, try to reach out to at least one person and see what the difference is. Merry Christmas!