Today as we look at Luke 3, I really want you to open your Bible and read all of Luke 3. There are some great things in this chapter, and we won't have time to cover them all.
On Thanksgiving Day, Carl and I “called” each of our families over a video chat. When we called my family we saw, my grandpa, my aunt & uncle, my parents, both of my siblings, their spouses and my 4 nephews and my niece. My sister chose a great spot for the web cam as we could see the entire room. I saw my youngest nephew put his face right up to the screen because he couldn't believe the people on the computer were talking to him. And all the way across the room I saw my older nephews being silly back ground. We witnessed a room full of laughter and 4 generations of my family acting crazy and enjoying the holiday. I was so proud to be a part of that family.
Today as we look at Luke 3 we are going to look at the part that most of us skim over when reading the Bible. We are going to look at the geneology of Jesus found in verses 23-38.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Lk 3:23-38
Now we usually skip over these parts of the Bible because we don't know who most of the people are, but today I want you to read through the list again and see which names you recognize.
As I read through the list I was amazed at how many “big” names from the Old Testament were included in Joseph's lineage. I thought back to the stories of these men and how God had used them to pave the way for Jesus long before Jesus came to earth as a baby. The men and women in Joseph's heritage not only paved the way for Jesus, but influenced who Joseph was as a man and as a father.
So I started thinking about my own heritage. I think about the men and women who have invested in me and influenced who I am as a woman and a mother-to-be. A few months ago, I got to speak at a conference in Hastings, NE. As I looked around the room my eyes filled with tears because I realized that most of the women in that room had invested in me in some way during my growing-up years.
Some had changed my diaper, some had taught me to sing, some had walked with me through my high school years, some had been my neighbors, some let me babysit their children, some studied with me through college, some loved me when I was unlovable, and the list goes on. As I attempted to begin my talk on identity, I realized that in this precious room sat the women who influenced my identity. These were the women who taught me about life and most importantly about Jesus. I was so overwhelmed that I teared up with humility knowing that it was only because God had allowed these women to go before me and invest in me, that I was could stand up in front of them and tell them about what Christ had done in my life. What a humbling experience.
So as I read through these verses in Luke 3 I thought about how much the actions of the men on this list influenced Joseph. I wondered if the faith of these men allowed Joseph to have faith that his bride-to-be was telling the truth about her pregnancy. Did the faith of these men gave Joseph the courage to believe Gabriel and stay engaged to Mary? And I wondered, after Jesus birth, how much Joseph's heritage influenced the way he raised Jesus.
This weekend I think it would fun for each of us to call or write one person who had invested in us and let them know that we are proud to be part of their lineage. This person doesn't have to be a relative, just someone whose life has influenced you in a positive way. Let them know that their investment has made a difference in your life.
Then, think about your legacy. Who are you influencing? No matter what your age, 10 or 100, your life influences others. Is there anyone in particular in whom you want to intentionally invest? Is there someone you know with whom you can share the love of Jesus? This Christmas season wouldn't it be great if we not only gave physical gifts, but if we also gave of ourselves? Who can you love on and invest in this Christmas?
I'd love to hear the names of men and women who have influenced your life for Christ, so please post a comment today. You can tell us about this person, or just share their name, but let's take time to thank these precious people! I can't wait to hear about your lineage.