Today’s reading from Matthew delivers a list of the ancestors of Jesus. It goes back a thousand years to David and even back to Abraham. The genealogy of Jesus is split into three triads, each with fourteen generations. Each generation influences the next generation. The first triad explains the succession from Abraham to the reign of King David. The second triad provides a detailed chain from David to Josiah during the Babylonian captivity. The third triad spans the release from captivity to the days of Joseph. The family tree of Jesus is important because it retraces every generation before him and this ultimately shaped and influenced the person he was.
This reading also stresses the importance of ancestry in general. We often forget how important our ancestry is and what our ancestors did to put us in the place we are today. Being an African American person, I often reflect on the significance of my genealogy. A few years ago, my family did an ancestry DNA report and what we found was very moving. We were able to trace my grandfather’s DNA back to a slave manifest from 1828.
When I read today’s reading, it made me think back to that manifest. I never imagined the terrible things my ancestors had to face to get me the opportunities that I have today; how much their sacrifices impacted my family without us even really knowing about it or understanding it. I think that if Jesus had an opportunity to reflect on today’s passage, he would feel similarly. Jesus would recognize all that his ancestors had done to put him where he was and he would not have taken that information lightly.
Looking at genealogy shows us how everything is meant to happen for a reason and how every relationship has meaning and importance. I think that Jesus was probably more thankful as he looked back over his ancestors. I know I am.
Maya Shields `21 is a student in Kent Hickey’s Sophomore Scripture Class. Maya is a member of the Varsity Girls Soccer Team and the Black Student Union at Seattle Prep.