Aug 23, 2009

Bad News and Good News from Jesus’ Genealogy

Genealogies are not normally considered fruitful fields for spiritual edification. Nonetheless, God has chosen to include a number of these lists in sacred Scripture. So it is always interesting to me when I come across an interpreter who is able to draw out spiritual truths from these oft ignored sections of the Bible. Thomas Fuller (1608–1661) an Anglican priest noted the following in his study of Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1.

“Lord, I find the genealogy of my Saviour strangely chequered, with four remarkable changes in four generations

Rehoboam begat Abijah: (A bad father begat a bad son)
Abijah begat Asa: (A bad father and a good son)
Asa begat Jehoshaphat: (A good father and a good son)
Jehoshaphat begat Jehorom: (A good father and a bad son).

I see Lord, from hence,
That my Father’s piety cannot be handed on:
That is bad news for me.
I see also that actual impiety is not hereditary,
That is good news for my son!”

Thomas, Fuller, Good Thoughts in Bad Times, Good Thoughts in Worst Times, Mixt Contemplations in Better Times (Liverpool: Edward Howell, 1863), 44.

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