Advent Reflection December 19
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
The first few names in this list we know from the stories of Ezra and Nehemiah when the people returning from captivity began to rebuild their civilization. After that time, the canon is largely silent, but there are some records in other places. Strife is a good way to categorize the lives of these people. Strife and hardship. How is your story as you wait on rescue?
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
Matthew lets us know that 42 generations have passed in all this time. Biblically, a generation is about 70 years. These names are not merely names, but lives. Full lives lived out in different periods of history with different but similar longings, hopes, dreams, losses, attainments, sins, and struggles. All waiting for the coming of the Christ who would set things right and fulfill ancient promises. Remember during this season, that we celebrate because God keeps promises, even if it takes longer than we wish.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Please note in this old and familiar promise, only a partial fulfillment. So often we get wrapped up in the idea that God has kept his promises this time of year that we forget an important truth. There is more to come. Yes, the king has come. Certainly we have a rescuer. But there is still government in rebellion, injustice remains righteousness in and around us is often lacking. We still wait. But we live in a time where we have begun to taste his promises. Continue to rest in his promises.