Why ancestry.com? (Matthew 1:1-17)

Slow down! There’s a significant message in that list of names at the start of Matthew’s Gospel.

Open Matthew 1:1-17.

Matthew would never win a creative writer’s award. His first chapter is about as interesting as a Jewish telephone book. Why would he start with a list of largely unfamiliar names? Continue reading “Why ancestry.com? (Matthew 1:1-17)”

Esau’s ordinary kingdom (Genesis 36)

Esau’s kingdom story is such a contrast to the kingdom God is establishing through Jacob.

petra
Petra (in ancient Edom)

If you miss the kingdom perspective, you may wonder why Genesis 36 is in the Bible. It’s a repetitive jumble of names associated with Esau. Sure, Esau was Abraham and Sarah’s grandson; God promised them nations; and Esau has a nation. But there’s too much detail to just say that. Something else is going on. Continue reading “Esau’s ordinary kingdom (Genesis 36)”

Who will represent the sovereign? (Genesis 5)

We felt the despair of Cain’s version of humanity—away from YHWH’s presence, run by human power, offering greater violence as the answer to violence. We felt the contrast when Seth’s renewed humanity began calling on YHWH’s authority as their hope of survival. The narrator now leads us into this godly community. Continue reading “Who will represent the sovereign? (Genesis 5)”

How far does the kingdom of God extend? (Genesis 4:16-26)

For too long we have read Genesis 3 as a story about individuals, and Genesis 4 as a story about some other individuals. Genesis 3–4 is a communal story. It describes how human society sinks to something that is less than human when it resists God’s authority. Adam and Eve grasped power that belonged to God. Their son grasped power over his brother. The society Cain founds is a long way from God’s intentions for humanity. Continue reading “How far does the kingdom of God extend? (Genesis 4:16-26)”