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This summer I had the…

September 26, 2007

opportunity to visit with a friend at her place on the lake. While we were lounging around on her deck, enjoying the weather, I asked her how she and her husband had come to find this place. She said that when they had moved to the area, they had asked about potential lake properties. Very little was available but they put out the necessary real estate feelers and just waited.

Eventually they received an invitation to look at some property. When they arrived to view the land, the property owner bluntly asked them, “Now, who are your people?” My friend was a bit taken aback but not unwilling to answer the question–once she understood it. The point came out that the property owner was not asking for the names of an imagined or real entourage but was placing great importance on the family background of my friend.

Good news for my friend was that the family line was not only known but favorably known. The property owner consented to sell the lot and welcomed them to the neighborhood.

Now, I grew up in the South and know that pedigrees are taken very seriously, and not just the ones on your hunting and lap dogs. I have heard dozens of conversations between my Mimi and the aunts over the lineage of certain so-and-so’s that we know why he acted that way, because his daddy’s a Limehouse! Or you know that her marriage was going to turn out that way cause her mama’s a Bagwell and all Bagwell marriages turn out that way. And so on.

I’ve been questioned about my pedigree because my maiden surname is Hispanic, and inquirers have wanted to know was my “arrival” here properly stamped and certified. It was.

Anyway, the point is that we do put a lot of stock into people’s backgrounds, implying future failure or success from said background. When a long line of less than greats produces a great, there is a general exclamation of wonder. And a Paul Harvey “The Rest of the Story” biopic.

So back to the genealogy of Christ and look at His pedigree. (Matthew 1:1-17) It was extremely important to the Jews that the Messiah be able to demonstrate His claim to Messiahship, as according to the Old Testament prophecies. Jesus uniquely fulfilled the prophecies, verified the claims and stood as the only Son of Man able to be the Messiah.

Even though His background of descendants included a man who allowed his wife to be taken off by another man-twice; a man who used a prostitute–his disguised daughter-in-law; a prostitute who risked her family’s life; a shepherd who played the harp well and also peeped at women taking baths; a mottled lot of kings who did right in the Lord’s eyes with as many that did much evil in the Lord’s eyes; a man cursed to childlessness because of his evil doings. You get the point.

From this amazing line of heroes, heroines and tremendous villainy, God deigned to bring His Son. He could have placed Him in any esteemed family, but He chose this one. In doing so He shows that His redemptive power overrules the difficult circumstances, the wicked hearts, the despairing situations, and the control of man.

May His Name be praised that He chooses to use the unlikely, the unlovely, the unrighteous. May His Name be praised that He restores, redeems, that He saves His people from their sins!

**My apologies to any Limehouse or Bagwell readers. These are fictional entities.
***Luke 3:23-38 lists the other genealogy of Jesus through Mary. My examples were taken from Matthew.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2007 8:19 am

    He has chosen the foolish to shame the wise…one especially foolish woman here…behold His grace!

  2. September 26, 2007 9:09 am

    Beautiful…how blessed we are that he restores, redeems, and saves us from sin past, present, and future!

  3. September 26, 2007 9:41 am

    I’m a Yankee, therefore the concept of pedigree is lost on me. And my husband, who was adopted at an unknown age from a foreign country, obviously has little idea about this background, other than a general feeling that it’s not pretty.

    But praise be to God for his redemptive work, no matter our background! I love the genealogies for this very reason.

  4. September 26, 2007 3:32 pm

    Yes…and God can make a great man come from a long line of not-so-great men. My husband is living proof. Statistics say that alcholism and abuse continue in the next generation…but God is stronger than all of that!

  5. Clemntine permalink
    September 26, 2007 4:12 pm

    Very well said, Elle.

    With love from your friend,

    Clemntine Limehouse Bagwell.


  6. September 27, 2007 6:05 am

    (ROFL at Clemntine’s comment!)

    A wonderful post. We always remind our children that they represent our family name when they leave our home and expect them to honor that.

    My husband comes from a dysfunctional and non-Christian home and has chosen to “break the cycle” with our family. How lucky and blessed I am to be married to a wonderful Christian man and be the mother for our four children.

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