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Unknown Except to God

Matthew 1:12-16
After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. (NIVUK)

The deportation of Jews to exile in Babylon was a shameful episode in Israel's history. It was God's punishment of a nation which has refused to submit to Him. But it was not the end because God had promised to bring them back again after 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10-11). A key figure of the return was Zerubbabel who led over 42,360 Jews in the first of three waves of returnees. Born in exile, he was trusted by the Persian King, Cyrus, and was able to lay the foundations of the second temple in Jerusalem. But what he did was imperfect and required others like Ezra and Nehemiah to bring the people back to honouring God's covenant law.

The next nine people in the genealogy are unknown to us. The Bible shines no light on their lives. They have a purpose in being human ancestors of the Lord Jesus Christ, but they have no glory. Even Joseph's special role in being the guardian of the Son of God, has only a functional mention here. We know more about Mary from Luke's Gospel, but her role is limited here to being the human mother of God's Messiah. You see, the gospel is not the good news about Zerrubabel, or Joseph or Mary; but it is the good news about Jesus the Messiah becoming the Saviour of the world.

We like to glorify people: we have our heroes and examples. Perhaps we might even want to be somebody else's hero. But in comparison to Jesus, we have no glory of our own. Even our best actions are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). But we are known to God; and in some wonderful way He weaves our little stories into His big story – not so that we have the honour - but so that we and others will submit to Jesus (Philippians 2:9-11). Although all those who love Him will share in His glory (Romans 8:17), it is not an independent glory: because it is all about what Jesus has done (Revelation 5:11-14). So, in this age of celebrity, do not seek to be known. Accept that God knows you and that your future does not depend on what you can do, but in trusting what Jesus Christ has done for you.

Prayer 
All knowing God. Thank You for knowing everything, and for knowing me. Please forgive me for wanting to gain glory for what I do or who I am because I know that all the glory must go to Jesus Christ. Please help me to live and work to His praise and glory. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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