InWashingtonD.C.the Vietnam Memorial consists of 2 – 247’ walls of polished black granite engraved with the names of deceased Vietnam War soldiers.
There are also 2 traveling walls “The Moving Wall” and “The Wall That Heals”, which are half-size creations to bring accessibility to communities for them to experience and see the names of lost loved ones.
Similarly, each year for September 11 there is a ceremony that involves reading the list of names of those who died on that tragic day.
Why would/should we recognize long lists of names? I believe we do so to show appreciation for who they were and what they did. We do not want to forget their memory, both as individuals and collectively for what they stand.
Likewise, in today’s Luke passage, we approach a text of names – a genealogy – that at first glance would seem natural to gloss over. However, we shouldn’t be so quick. There is something to understand about God and in application to us today. Our focus will continue our theme of We Are: Growing Godly Generations.
EXAMINE Luke 3:23-38 We Are: Growing Godly Generations
Why does Luke include this genealogy?
1) To carefully communicate to the reading audience. The Gospels have different approaches in telling the account of Jesus.
Mark writes primarily to a Roman audience. Romans were multi-ethnic and global empire at the time. Their concern was mostly on the actions of a person that led to power and influence. So, Mark does not contain a genealogy but is a fast paced account of Jesus’ works as the Son of God.
John writes primarily to a Greek audience. Greek philosophy was very esoteric and concerned itself with divine and human wisdom. Therefore, John opens his account with Jesus as the eternal Word (logos) who was Creator yet entered creation and became flesh; full of grace and truth.
Matthew was written to a Jewish audience. They would have looked back to their forefathers such as Abraham and David, along with Old Testament prophecy. Accordingly, Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogical lineage through Joseph, Jesus’ legal (adoptive) father, and leads back from Abraham onward through David as the promised Messiah. Fulfillment of OT Scriptures are highly emphasized.
Luke writes primarily to a Gentile audience whom would have been curious about God (i.e. Theophilus) and specifically the truth of Jesus’ incarnation – humanity and divinity. So, Luke writes with careful investigation and eyewitness testimony surrounding these events and then traces Jesus’ lineage back to the original human, Adam; and ultimately God. That he does not stop with Abraham shows that Jesus is not just for the Jews but all peoples, an emphasis in Luke. That Jesus has a genealogy at all shows that he is real and true, unlike the mythical gods of Greek & Roman religions.
2) To show the significance of people.
Luke’s use of the 77 names (38 of which are only found here) are not a perfectly comprehensive genealogical list. Often, individuals would be adopted and be seen as a legal lineage and such it can be difficult/confusing to equate multiple lists. Nonetheless, the list is quite inclusive and at times coincides with Matthew’s genealogy and other genealogies in Scripture (Genesis 5, 11 and 1 Chronicles 1 – 3).
History matters. This was especially expressed in previous generations where people were rooted in family, geographic locale, vocational heritage, communal relationships (neighbors, marriage, education, social structures, etc.).
Children are valued. In many societies and cultures children are viewed condescendingly. They are unappreciated, undervalued and underestimated. In Biblical times children were sometimes cast away, sacrificed to idols, or done away with as inconveniences. Consider today that not much has changed. Abortion on demand rules our preferences under the guise of “choice” and “tolerance”.
µ Today we recognize Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. It is a day that unfortunately we must recognize. I say unfortunately, not because I (we) do not desire to recognize the value of life, but because it is unfortunate that murdering ~115K each day or 1 in 5 pregnancies is a cold reality.
- Someone will say, but what about those babies caused by rape or incest or that could cause harm to the mother. Planned Parenthood’s own stats show that this is the case for less than 1% and that 93% of all abortions are performed on healthy mothers and babies.
- Just follow the stats and research and not to mention the Scriptural viewpoint to understand the importance of valuing life from the moment of conception.
µ Therefore, as Joseph, we affirm and encourage means of adoption, foster care, and the work of Pregnancy Centers to help protect the sanctity of life.
µ Ultimately, we value the life nurture and maturation of the next generation.
2-3 Principles of Growing Godly Generations
God is faithful across multiple generations.
As you see this list of 77 names you can notice two things concerning God’s faithfulness. The first is the blessing of a long family lineage. The gift of life, children and future generations is not guaranteed. There are times when God told certain generations they would die out, while others were promised many offspring.
Psalm 119:90 “Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.”
– Some in family line were great sinners, but God is a great Savior. He never gives up and is faithful!
- Joseph considered divorcing Mary but chose marriage and adoption of Jesus
- David lied, committed adultery and murder
- Judah traded slaves and adulterer
- Jacob was cheat and thief
- Abraham was liar, gave away his wife twice and committed adultery
- Terah was an unbeliever lacking faith
- Adam was lazy in protecting his wife Eve
– Some in family line are unknown, but God sees, cares and knows each name. Each has significance.
– God cut off multiple generations but saved Noah and his family (Genesis 5-9; 9:9)
– God promised numerous offspring to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; Gen 15)
– God spared offspring as a grace (2 Samuel 9)
In Luke 3, we see God’s persistent pursuit of His plan. And He is relentless to accomplish His redemptive work. The Jesus Storybook Bible says that “God loves us with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” This is true. And even more, it is true not because humanity is good or deserving of God’s love but in spite of our unfaithfulness, He remains faithful. That’s His character. Salvation is based on a covenant agreement of which it all rests on God to fulfill the obligations of the covenant. We break the covenant but God’s love is unconditional grace.
ð I pray that each of you enters into a covenant with God – grace (Christianity) not works (religion).
ð Likewise, we as a church seek to have covenant church membership.
- We have members who are in covenant with God; not just people who think they’re <><
- We have members show unconditional love, grace and forgiveness to each other.
- We have members who covenant together to Love God, Love Others, Lead Generations
- Love God: Do you participate in worship? Bible Groups?
- Love Others: Are you sharing your faith?
- Lead Generations: Are you serving in a ministry?
- Needs in Nursery, SS, TeamKID, Youth, Adult Group Leaders, Seniors Ministry
God expects faith for future generations.
As you look at this list of names, we can not only see God’s faithfulness but His expectation for the faith of future generations. God can and does accomplish His redemptive plans with various people and in a variety of ways. The invitation is for you to participate.
Malachi 2:15 “And what does God seek? Godly offspring.”
Psalm 78:4-8 “4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. 5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, 6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. 7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. 8 They would not be like their forefathers—a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.”
ð We each have a part in Growing Godly Generations. WE ARE Christ’s body, each generation.
PZ is going to share a challenge with us about who is this next generation, why we should and how we can reach them.
µ Who are the next generation?
µ Why should we reach them?
µ How can we reach them?