The silver screen gleams. As we sit in silence, a story unfolds. Through film our emotions entangle with those of the characters. Captivated, we cheer for them in the midst of their struggles. We want their problems to be conquered, and deep down we are hoping ours will be as well.
With the opening, the actors’ names may appear, intertwined with moments that set up the story for us. I believe that is what Matthew does in in chapter 1.
After years of waiting and the excitement of this big release, the film, is finally here! You’ve not stopped talking about this. You’ve seen every trailer and devoured every juicy detail you could. You, your friends, and family preordered tickets. Now it is the moment you’ve waited for.
We are just settling in the theater. It’s packed. The lights are cut. There’s a natural hush.
“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:”
At the name Abraham we look at our friends who are sitting next to us and we all smile with anticipation. This is going to be good.
“Abraham was the father of Isaac,” Seriously! That film was amazing! How did Abraham and Sarah wait so long for Isaac? They have patience I only aspire to. My eyes look away for just a moment, remembering the horror of the sacrifice. But God provided a ram! You look at me and nod, my mind goes back to these events on the screen.
“Isaac the father of Jacob,” Oh, Jacob, he’s the man that wrestled with God and survived.
“Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.” To say Judah had brothers is an understatement.
We know those brothers. They are the relatives we’ve heard about all our lives. Some of the stories we hear we wish we hadn’t, but they are family just the same.
“Judah the father of Perez and Zerah,
Whose mother was Tamar,” How did Tamar go through all of that? She has a story like no other.
“Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,” Someone just passed the popcorn, but we can’t eat anything yet because we will run out before this is over and there is no way I’m missing a moment of this.
“Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon” This man is bold. He married Rahab, the woman God used to rescue the spies who had been sent to Jericho.
“Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,” This story is amazing! Remember how she and those in the house with her were rescued?
“Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,” Various scenes from previous movies flash by.
We see the name Boaz appear and someone in our group shouts, others in the theater try to quiet him down, but we all smile as the fields of ripe barley appear. How can we keep quiet? It’s like we’ve lived this, we’ve heard Obed’s story so many times. It’s remarkable how he would be King David’s grandfather. Ruth wasn’t even from our country to begin with, but she and Boaz both knew and loved God. He provided for them, and for us, in ways they couldn’t have imagined when life was hard. Ruth overcame so much death and sorrow. We need more women like her, ones that will trust God through everything.
“Obed the father of Jesse,” Even those who haven’t seen all the behind the scenes reels yet know who Jesse is! Talk about excitement!
“and Jesse the father of King David.” The musical score changed for this one. Yes!
“David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,” That film was a rough one to watch. David fell for another man’s wife and it is so tragic and then terrifying what happened next. Yet, David confessed his sin to God. Then God showed him so much mercy and He shows me mercy daily.
“Solomon the father of Rehoboam,” Remember the scorpions? That metaphor was costly.
“Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,”
The names continue to dance on and off the screen. Our anticipation grows.
At last, we hear the narrator’s faithful voice,
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.”
* * * * *
The credits roll at the close of the film. We see many names. Some we recognize from other films we’ve watched. We know some filming locations because they are in our hometown.
Then we see the best name. It is the first and the last. The name we all know because we actually know Him. He’s been not just to our hometown but He even ate dinner with us. We stand and clap with tears!
It wasn’t just our theater that was packed tonight.
Dear Lord, Thank you for orchestrating every detail. You are good and your love endures forever. Please cause me to be captivated by Your love. Cause my heart to overflow with love for You that others may know You as well! In Your Name, Amen.
Thoughts to ponder
At the theater last week, I was reminded again of the fascinating way the Bible rolls credits. We may not know the people personally, but other generations did. How did you see God’s faithfulness through the stories listed in Matthew 1?
Who will you share your story of faith with?
Other Films by the same Director, Producer, and Cast:
The wait and gift of Isaac:
A promise - Genesis 15:1-6
Another promise – Genesis 18:10-12
A fulfilled promise – Genesis 21:1-7
The sacrifice of Isaac:
The test – Genesis 22:1-3
Obedience – Genesis 22:3-4
Trust – Genesis 22:5-10
God’s provision – Genesis 22:11-14
Another promise – Genesis 22:15-18
Jacob wrestles with God and survives – Genesis 32:22-32
Judah and his brothers –
They sold their brother Joseph - Genesis 37:27-28
Joseph’s conversation with his brothers after he is second to Pharaoh - Genesis 45:1-5
Jacob’s other sons head to Egypt – Genesis 46:1-27
Tamar – Genesis 38
Rahab – Joshua 6:22-25
Ruth and Boaz:
Ruth goes to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law –
Ruth 1:22 “…arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.”
Ruth gleans in Boaz’s field – Ruth 2:4-13
Boaz marries Ruth – Ruth 4:11-15
Obed is born – Ruth 4:16-17
David takes Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite’s wife – I Samuel 11
David is confronted about his sin – I Samuel 12:1-12
David confesses his sin against God – I Samuel 12:13
David’s Song of Praise – II Samuel 22
Solomon becomes king – I Kings 1
Rehoboam: I Kings 12:1-24
Passages quoted came from Matthew 1:1-7 and 18 through the New International Version of the Bible (1984).