Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 12 No. 12 December 2010
Page 11

Santa's Genealogy

D. Gene West

D. Gene WestWe recently heard the story of a Gospel preacher who had in his youth memorized the genealogy of our Lord as it appears in the Book of Matthew, Chapter One. This it would seem to most preachers to be a formidable task and one which, if one did not memorize the history that goes with each name, would not appear to serve any great purpose. Most of us are content to know where the genealogies of our Lord are found to make easy reference to them when we need them. However, this brother, who obviously had great faculties of memory, memorized the one appearing on the pages of Matthew’s record of the life of Christ. One day, he found himself within easy hearing distance of two men who were discussing whether or not Jesus Christ had ever lived on the earth, and if so, did he do the things that are attributed to Him in the records of His life. They came to the conclusion that no such person as Jesus ever lived, and consequently, the stories told about Him in the records of the Gospel could not be true. One man concluded this conversation by saying, Jesus is very much like Santa Claus, and He is just the figment of a very fertile imagination.

At that point the preacher, whose name has been forgotten to protect the innocent, stepped up to the two men and casually recited the entire genealogy of our Lord from Matthew. Then, he laid out the challenge, “Let me see you do that for Santa Claus!” This was told as a true story, and at the time the preacher was named, but his name has slipped my memory. However, the loss of the name notwithstanding, there is a great moral in this story. Real people have genealogies, imagined ones do not!

If there were no other evidence in all the world that our Lord lived and did what is attributed to Him by Matthew and other Gospel writers, His genealogy would be proof enough. One can go back through the Bible, even today after all the volumes of Jewish genealogy were destroyed in the Temple in 70 A.D., and find the history of these men. One may reject some of the narrations that surround these people, but he has no evidence that would warrant rejecting their having lived on this earth and begetting the children who are named as their descendants. If one were foolish enough to reject the genealogy of our Lord, one might, with the same logic reject the genealogy of that person making the claim to his face that he did not exist! How would he prove he did exist as the person he claimed to be if one were to deny that his parents ever existed? After all, there is an old joke which says, “If your parents had no children, it is not likely that you will have any either.” He could present all kinds of evidence such as social security number, a birth certificate, a passport, etc., but none of this evidence proves his existence as does his genealogy.

Jesus Christ had what jolly old St. Nick does not have – a human genealogy. One may disclaim a great number of things about our Lord, but he cannot read the list of ancestors in Matthew Chapter One and prove that He did not exist. The imaginary character that our children and grandchildren call Santa Claus has no such genealogy, and because of that, he cannot exist. There is no way to prove that he lives on this earth, much less that he does the things that are attributed to him such as flying around the world in a sleigh loaded with toys drawn by nine tiny reindeer. We do not take him seriously after we are about six or seven years old, though we may still pretend that he is real for the sake of younger children in the family. Even if we did continue to believe in his existence, despite all the evidence to the contrary, none would stake his eternal soul on it!

With Christ it is entirely different. One reason we believe He was who He claimed to be, and did what He claimed to do, is because He was a real man – a fact proven by His genealogy!

Prison Did Not Rob Paul!

Mark N. Posey

Mark N. PoseyPaul used every situation to advance the borders of Christ’s kingdom; he even used prison as an opportunity to further the cause of Christ. While prison robs a person of freedom, family and choices, Paul was not robbed of certain things, such as:

1. HIS PEN. The prison epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon) were all written while Paul was in a Roman jail.

2. HIS PURPOSE. Paul had been chosen to spread the name of Jesus to the Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15). His purpose was to preach, and his life was for Christ (Philippians 1:21).

3. HIS PULPIT. Paul was successful in preaching to the elite Praetorian Guard (Philippians 1:14), something possibly unattainable had he been a free man. He capitalized upon every situation for the sake of Jesus.

4. HIS PRAYER. While in prison, Paul prayed for the brethren. Ephesians 1:15- 23; 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11 and Colossians 1:9-12 illustrate his prayer life on behalf of the saints (cf. Romans 10:1; 2 Thessalonians 7:17; 1 Timothy 2:1-8).

5. HIS PRAISE. Paul and Silas sang praises to God at midnight while in the Philippian jail (Acts 16). Although they were confined, their hearts were full of joy and thanksgiving in the form of melodious song.

6. HIS PATIENCE. Paul was confident in God’s plan for his life; therefore, he endured patiently. He was willing even to postpone going to heaven in order to help the Philippian Christians in their spiritual growth (Philippians 1:21-25).

7. HIS PEACE. Paul found peace in Jesus Christ. He said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11). Furthermore, he wanted the Philippians to know that while prison was a place of capture, the Gospel was continually preached (Philippians 1:12).

Paul is a great encouragement to all Christians. Though in trials, he was triumphant; though in chains, he was challenged. Paul was confined, but not controlled; restrained, but not restricted; incarcerated, but not incapacitated. Paul was in prison, but prison did not rob him of the most important thing in life – his desire to spread the Gospel. Therefore, Paul can be described as the apostle of the heart set free.

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