I asked students recently what was the most boring material in the Bible. The answer quickly
came back: “genealogies”. We’re going to offer an exciting perspective on the genealogy in Matt
1 by daring to touch on the forbidden subject of egg fertilization within the “Holy Mother”.
Repent for the kingdom is at hand:
John the Baptist came announcing the imminent arrival of his shirttail cousin, Jesus: “Repent, for
the kingdom of heaven (God) is at hand” (Matt 3:2). After His baptism by John and temptation in
the desert, Jesus went public with, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven (God) is at hand” (4:17).
The words were exactly the same for both on each side of the covenantal divide but with entirely
For John, as for most white, American Evangelicals of our day, the kingdom was to be a God-
inspired, physical, conquering nation. For Jesus, the kingdom was to be the unseen eternal rule of
God – both a present reality and a future hope that would require the unmerited infusion of the
divine into the boring, sin-infected human genome.
Former tax collector, Jesus’ disciple Matthew, might have found comfort in tracing the prophetic
descendency of Jesus from King David, although through an obscure woman from the backwater
town of Nazareth in Galilee seemed to be too much of a stretch. We American Christians, of
course, find little of interest in any of this before our second cup of coffee.
“The Road Not Taken”:
Overlooked is the message from 1:18 of the branching of the human genome into two distinct
paths – one of natural descent; the other of nature and faith.
Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (1:1-18), might remind us of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not
Taken.” Imagine human nature diverging into two “genetic” options the very day the Holy Spirit
is said to have quietly fertilized one of the eggs in Mary’s fallopian tube. The option to
citizenship in the present, dynamic, victorious Kingdom of God was initiated without so much as
a committee meeting, let alone parental consent!
The genetic chain of sin is broken:
In that quiet, simple coupling, Mary became the expectant mother of a fetus both fully human
and fully divine – the eternal Godhead infused into the family line of King David. The genetic
chain of sin and rebellion was at last shattered, providing the way for the transmutation of flesh and
blood into the family of God.
If that is so; if that is the underlying hope retained by those of us who profess belief in Mary’s
child, one might wonder why so many of us are consuming valuable time supporting the MAGA
agenda of America as a quasi-Messianic kingdom!