Many people are concerned about what their genetic backgrounds are, whose names are attached to the branches of their family trees.
Knowing this information was important to the Jewish people, when it came to their lives and their faith. The prophecies concerning Jesus were clear that the Messiah would come from the lineage of David. When Matthew was writing the Gospel of Matthew God began this gospel with the family tree report for Jesus Christ on Joseph’s side. Joseph was Jesus’ earthly father, although not his biological. Biologically Jesus was the Son of God and Mary. Luke records the family tree of Mary. Both Joseph and Mary were biologically from David, the former King of Israel. This fulfilled prophecy concerning the promised Messiah coming from the house and lineage of David. (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-37)
As the Son of Man, Jesus was biologically from the blood line of David. As the Son of God, Jesus was the Son of God. As human beings we are the products of the genetics of our parents and all of their relatives back through time, since time began. As spiritual beings we are the Children of God, our salvation a spiritual birth that makes us God’s children.
At Christmas time most of us think about home. We think about whose children we are and remember Christmas’ in the past. We want our children to come home with their spouses and children because we want those relationships and those memories. When it comes to these relationships it doesn’t matter whether we are biologically connected or not, we are connected by our lives, our hearts, our memories, our up’s and downs, our good times and our bad times; simply because our lives are entwined within one another.
Jesus could no more deny who He was as the Son of God than He could deny who He was as the Son of Man. His relationship with Joseph was as a dad and son. His relationship with Mary was as a mom and son. Nor can we deny who we are, even when we want to or it would make life easier.
As humans though we get entrapped in WHO people are in the social realm and the economic levels of the world. Think about the clichés we throw out in our lives:
“It isn’t what you know, it’s WHO you know.”
“It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is a poor man.”
“She brings nothing to marriage but her looks, and it doesn’t look like those will hold out long.”
What about the unsaid but incredibly implied standards we pass along? Things like:
“If your clothes don’t have a designer label then you aren’t good enough for our group.”
“Don’t sit by her, she’s not cool.”
“So what if he’s rude? He’s the ‘s son (or a football, basketball, baseball, soccer star, super cute, super rich etc…)”
Most troubling to me is the evidence that while the ground at the cross is level (because God looks at who a person is in their heart) but it isn’t always level in our churches. Let’s be honest okay?
Our kids struggle as hard to fit in at church and youth group as they do at school. Why? Because “cool” and “being popular” is determined NOT by the fact they’re all spiritually from the same Father, but because biologically they aren’t. There are those kids, the same ones usually who do the same thing at school, who seem to be pressed against the panes of glass walls around the youth group looking in, trying to make it appear that being outside is okay with them but unable to completely hide the hunger and desire to be inside those walls.
The kid’s aren’t alone in this either. Through the years, both as a person on a church staff and as a layperson, I’ve seen committee’s be selected based on WHO someone is rather than who is best for the position. I’ve witnessed the evidence of wonderful vocalists being bypassed for solos because of either who they were in the community or who their spouse or parent was in the community. Great teachers have sat in the chairs while teachers without experience, who are as dry as two-week old bread or lack in Biblical knowledge have led Bible studies because of who they were socially or what their economic status happens to be.
Also, because we’re human, some of us are annoying and I will willingly include myself in that category. The fact I am choosing to give my viewpoint on this subject probably qualifies me for the annoying category in itself.
Some of this is in every church because, like it or not, we’re human and we’re flawed. Sort of like raccoons we’re attracted to the shiny objects, the shiny parts of people. Sort of like the grain of sand that gets under the sensitive body of the oyster there are pearls in the making all around us in church.
Perhaps it isn’t just at Christmas we need to think more about WHOSE we are spiritually rather than WHO we are biologically, socially or economically. The ground at the cross is level, the ground at the church should be too.
From not so level ground,