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Luke Study #28 – Back Story

The Gospel Of Luke

Luke 3:23-36 (CEV)

23 When Jesus began to preach, he was about thirty years old. Everyone thought he was the son of Joseph. But his family went back through Heli, 24 Matthat, Levi, Melchi, Jannai, Joseph, 25 Mattathias, Amos, Nahum, Esli, Naggai, 26 Maath, Mattathias, Semein, Josech, Joda;27 Joanan, Rhesa, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel, Neri, 28 Melchi, Addi, Cosam, Elmadam, Er, 29 Joshua, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat, Levi; 30 Simeon, Judah, Joseph, Jonam, Eliakim, 31 Melea, Menna, Mattatha, Nathan, David, 32 Jesse, Obed, Boaz, Salmon, Nahshon; 33 Amminadab, Admin, Arni, Hezron, Perez, Judah, 34 Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Terah, Nahor, 35 Serug, Reu, Peleg, Eber, Shelah; 36 Cainan, Arphaxad, Shem, Noah, Lamech, 37 Methuselah, Enoch, Jared, Mahalaleel, Kenan, 38 Enosh, and Seth.

The family of Jesus went all the way back to Adam and then to God.

Back Story

There’s a church cemetery in the heart of Manhattan in New York City. It looks like any old church cemetery full of graves of people you’ve never met, and know nothing about. But as you go around the corner of the property and walk down the sidewalk, you would come across this tombstone of this man:

Alexander Hamilton's Grave

Alexander Hamilton’s Grave

And if you were either a history buff or a musical theatre buff, you would know that Alexander Hamilton was the man on the American $10 bill for his role in setting up the U.S. Treasury. You would know that the reason he died at aged of 47 was because of a duel. You would know that his wife outlived him for almost another 50 years. You would know that he was a remarkable writer and an incredibly persuasive individual. And so you might, like my eldest, get very excited to see this historical landmark.

But if you didn’t know anything about American history, or this Broadway musical that has taken a Pulitzer Prize and numerous Tony awards, among others, then none of that would mean very much to you, would it? If you wanted to get excited about this name or this tombstone, then you might have to go back and read a book or two, or listen to the musical, or something.

I guess that if you were part of Luke’s original audience you might also get excited to see the names on this list. You might remember stories about these people. It might set you thinking back to the days of your nation’s past, through the ups and downs of great leaders and horrible defeats.

This genealogy – this list of names – stretches back through all of Israel’s history. Back to David, to Judah, to Jacob, to Abraham, the founding father of the Israelite nation. And then it, too, throws a twist. To it’s first-century Jewish audience Luke leaves everyone in shock when he keeps on going back, all the way to Adam, the ‘first man’, and so links Jesus back not just to King David or the tribe of Judah, but to all people, telling us that Jesus came to earth for all of us, Jews and Gentiles alike.Journal Questions:

If you feel like you know the Old Testament pretty well, I encourage you to take some time to find four or five people listed in the genealogy above and write out why they are important.

  1. What does it tell you about Jesus to know that these people were his ancestors?
  2. What do their wives or moms tell you about Jesus’ ancestry? (Hint: you might want to check Matthew’s Genealogy as well over in Matthew 1:1 …)

If you feel like you don’t know the Old Testament very well – or maybe not at all, I’ve got four ideas for you:

  1. Contact Roy and join our Alpha Course. It started on Thursday, but it’s not too late to join, and learn some more about all of this.
  2. If you like quick, simple explanations about things, try the videos here or here for an overview of the Old Testament and an overview of the Messiah.
  3. If you’re willing to watch a few more videos and want to go through the Old Testament, but aren’t much of a reader, then there’s a youTube channel just for you called ‘The Bible Project’ which has little five minute videos explaining each book of the Bible, starting at Genesis and going through the Old Testament to Malachi.
  4. If you’re a reader, and you’ve been meaning to read the Old Testament for ages, this might just be the time to pick it up and start reading! Some people find “Through the Bible in a Year” plans helpful, and others just get started. Some read a few chapters a day, and others try to clear larger chunks of time and read a book all in one setting. Either way, if God’s been bugging you to do this, it might be time.

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