Advent Week 3: Immanuel, God with Us

Advent devotional readings from Christianity Today.

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Sunday: Greatness and Grace

Today’s Reading: Matthew 1:1–17

During Advent, as we seek to encounter and worship Christ, we often look for him in the shining star that led the Magi to the miracle in the manger. We look for Christ in the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We look for him in the heavenly host of angels singing to shepherds watching o’er flocks by night.

We don’t often think to look for Jesus in his genealogy. There we see the mention of great men like Abraham, the father of our faith, or King David, the warrior and worshipper. Yet the Messiah’s genealogy highlights not only greatness but also grace. His lineage names not only leaders but also those least expected—unlikelies like Tamar, a tainted woman; Ruth, a Moabite; and Rahab, a woman of the night.

A genealogy isn’t just a list of names to skim and skip through. Genealogies are paragraphs of paradoxes that point to a God of the impossible. A God who had it in his mind for our Messiah to come from a bloodline of kingdoms and crowns as well as from criminals and castaways.

The genealogy of “Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham” not only invites us to ponder that God chose some of the unlikeliest of people, places, and plots to accomplish his plans for his people; it also provides us a record of promises and prophecies from the heart of a faithful God who fulfilled the very future he foretold. More than a mere summary filled with names, Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus reveals the fulfilled prophecy of a Messiah who’d “come up from the stump of Jesse” …

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