I am a shameless Downton Abbey watcher (yes, man card revoked). If you are not familiar with the show, Downton Abbey is a dramatic portrait of a fictional early 20th century English family who live in an enormous manor in Yorkshire. It is run by The Crawley family and led by Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham. Throughout the series, the family endures a world at war, courtships, marriages, babies, death, and a collision of societies within the walls of Downton. Most importantly, the series focuses on the struggle of the family to figure out a clear heir to the estate.
Downton Abbey’s storyline reveals the importance of family legacy whether rich or poor. As the family looks ahead, they are finding it difficult to forget the past and how to honor those before them. Meanwhile the world is changing around them at increasing speed. It is an amusing series that can often feel like a soap opera but is well-written and highly entertaining.
Along with watching Downton Abbey this week I have been humming a few tunes. One that won’t escape me is Andrew Peterson’s Matthew’s Begats. It is from Peterson’s popular Christmas album, Behold the Lamb of God. Growing up, I have read the book of Matthew in the Bible and glossed over the first chapter multiple times, clueless to its importance. The pseudo-bluegrass song by Peterson is designed to teach us about the genealogy of Jesus and brings a child-like smile to me every time I hear it. Listen to it here:
While most likely neither you nor I own an estate like the Crawleys, we all do have a family lineage here on earth. Like the Crawleys, I find myself full of worry some days about if I will be able to take care of my family properly and ensure they live a safe and secure life. Then I realize that I am wrong to believe that narrow view of family where life’s true happiness and security resides. For those of us who have chosen to follow Christ, we have a family that continues into eternity. I am reminded when I look at my genealogy, I am an heir of Christ. I do not deserve this but he freely gives it to me.
Romans 8:17 reminds us of the importance of this genealogy,
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Read the genealogy below one more time in Matthew 1.
Matthew’s Begats reveal that the legacy is through us. There is no need to worry because I am part of his legacy. You are his legacy. We are his legacy.
1 The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
From Abraham to David
2 Abraham fathered Isaac,
Isaac fathered Jacob,
Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar,
Perez fathered Hezron,
Hezron fathered Aram,
4 Aram fathered Amminadab,
Amminadab fathered Nahshon,
Nahshon fathered Salmon,
5 Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab,
Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth,
Obed fathered Jesse,
6 and Jesse fathered King David.
From David to the Babylonian Exile
Then[c] David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon fathered Rehoboam,
Rehoboam fathered Abijah,
Abijah fathered Asa,
8 Asa fathered Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat fathered Joram,
Joram fathered Uzziah,
9 Uzziah fathered Jotham,
Jotham fathered Ahaz,
Ahaz fathered Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah fathered Manasseh,
Manasseh fathered Amon,
Amon fathered Josiah,
11 and Josiah fathered Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the exile to Babylon.
From the Exile to the Messiah
12 Then after the exile to Babylon
Jechoniah fathered Shealtiel,
Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel fathered Abiud,
Abiud fathered Eliakim,
Eliakim fathered Azor,
14 Azor fathered Zadok,
Zadok fathered Achim,
Achim fathered Eliud,
15 Eliud fathered Eleazar,
Eleazar fathered Matthan,
Matthan fathered Jacob,
16 and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary,
who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Messiah.