Similar to laying out the events of a year, Matthew begins his book by laying out the lineage of Jesus Christ. His purpose in doing this is to prove that Jesus is a descendant of both King David and Abraham, just as the Old Testament writers had predicted. The first 17 verses of Matthew record the names of 46 people whose lifetimes span 2000 years.
If you look closely at the list, however, you will find that they were not all Bible heroes like Abraham and David. For example, two women ancestors, Tamar and Rahab, had shady reputations. Some were very ordinary, like Hezron and Nahshon. A few, like Manasseh and Abijah, were evil idolaters.
My eyes were opened when I read about Jesus’ ancestry. It is very clear that God carries out his plans and purposes despite human failure and sin. His work through ordinary people resulted in the birth of His Son and the unfolding revelation of His incredible love for us.
What does that mean for you and me today? Just as God used all kinds of people to bring His Son into the world, he uses all kinds of people to accomplish his will today. Joy of joys, God has a plan for my life! He wants to use me in his grand plan for the world, and He wants to use you, too.
Did you know that the words of the little Bible song, “Jesus Loves Me,” were written by a Sunday School teacher as a short poem in a novel that she and her sister wrote together? The year was 1860, and the author was Anna Warner. Her book was not a classic, and quickly went out of print. However, William Bradbury, a noted composer of the time who composed such hymns as “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and “He Leadeth Me” read the book. Impressed by the little poem on just one page of the book, he set the words to music. Today very few remember Anna Warner, but her words have been sung by children all over the world for over 150 years. Yes, God uses ordinary people.
This year I am resolved to open my heart and life to God’s plan and purposes for me.