Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Nathan

I am fascinated by the geneologies in the Bible. Perhaps this stems from the fact that I can only trace my roots to my great grandparents. They fled famine in Ireland and military conscription in Hungary. I do not know the origins of my maiden name. It seems to be a truncated version of a longer name. Was it English or Scottish?

Jesus' geneology winds its way through the Old Testament and is laid out for us in Matthew and Luke's gospels.

Matthew starts with Abraham and ends with Joseph. This is the geneology that names Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba by name. This is the geneology that lists Solomon, Hezekiah and Josiah. The Jews remembered God's promise to David and looked for the Messiah to come from this line of kings. This was the geneology that gave Jesus his pedigree. His credentials. His name.

In the seventh chapter of 2nd Samuel, Nathan delivered God's promise to David, "...I will raise up you offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." These were the words the Jews held onto with hope. Four chapters later David and Bathsheba sinned. Chapter twelve details the showdown between David and Nathan. Remember Nathan.

Luke's geneology starts with Mary's father and works backward to Abraham and back even farther to Adam. The two geneologies trace the same path from Abraham to David. After David, for the most part, they part ways. The words Nathan, the son of David absorbed my whole attention. Nathan. Jesus physically descended from David but it wasn't through Solomon. It was through Solomon's brother, Nathan. I would have to imagine that this Nathan was named after the prophet. Perhaps David chose this name to express gratitude. Nathan dared to confront him in his sin. Obedience was restored to David's life through that confrontation.

Nathan. While all eyes were on King David's successors, the DNA that would create Jesus' physical body was being passed from generation to generation in the shadows. The lesser men and women carried this honor. This speaks of intentional humility. God planned the humble birth of his son long before there was no room at the inn.

It does not matter that I know little of my own geneology. It does make a difference to my faith to know the geneology of Jesus. When I wade into the names that make up Jesus' lineage, I am again left in awe of the deliberate way that He chose to interact with humanity.

4 comments:

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Kate,

This was one of those things that I know, but the way you put these words together, makes me want to go back to my Bible and read it all again with a fresh perspective. Thanks.

Love you,
steph.

Kathy at Sumballo said...

Fascinating insight. Those are the details of the Bible we often rush over. Thanks for pointing that out, because it does reveal much about God's nature. If Jesus walked the road of humility (and he gave up the power and glory of heaven to do it), where do I get off thinking my road is any different? Great post!

Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Kate,
Did you realize that the study I wrote is called Ordinary People for Extraordinary Things follows the line of Jesus. That is what it is all about. It follows each person in the Matthew line and what we could learn from their lives. It covers the rich heritage! I love this post because I am glad I am not the only one interested in that! If you would like to look at it just let me know. I learned so much from it!
Love you!
Ang

bubandpie said...

It's a rare thing, Nathan's gift to confront sin in a way that restores instead of alienates. And look how much creativity he employed to do it. Instead of going to David and saying, "The Lord has laid it on my heart to confront you about this...and by the way everyone in the church agrees with me," he led David step by step until his entire point could be summed up in the words, "You are the man!"