The Great Production Meditations No.3: The Players
Mt 1:1 “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham”
So here we are imagining we are in a theatre just waiting as the curtains draw back for the big Advent production to start. We forgot to read the program before it started so let’s try to pretend we don’t know what it is about and who the players are. We started to touch on them already but as each one appears we’ll try and view them through new eyes.
The most obvious thing of such a production is that the ‘play’ is made up of players, everyone is important, it’s about who they are and what they portray. When you look up a film being advertised on Netflix or Amazon Prime or Sky or whoever else you get your entertainment from, you look to see who is in it and if a familiar name pops up, you go for it.
But this play is all about Jesus, and we think we know all about him, but the script demands we go back to beginnings so that the human Jesus is seen in the context of a family tree – a cast beginning with Abraham and going through David. There were lots of others, but these two are particularly important. The nativity didn’t ‘just happen’ it was planned long ago, actually even before the world began. In the human picture it starts with the ‘friend of God’, Abraham (2 Chron 20:7) who, in the opening Act suggests we can all become Jesus’ friends (Jn 15:14,15). A play about God, about people, about relationships, about you and me.
But as we said at the end of the first study, these named people are people with feet of clay so that, like you and me, they get it wrong sometimes, sometimes badly wrong.
Yes Abraham may have been the friend of God, the father of faith (Rom 4:16), the father of the Jewish people (Mt 3:9, Jn 8:39) and yes he may have obeyed the call of God and left his home (Gen 12:4) and so much more, but he didn’t do so well when it came to caring for and respecting his wife (Gen 12:12,13 & Gen 20) and distorting the truth, and later when she became impatient with God he went along with her suggestions (Gen 16:2-) with lots of bad consequences.
David, although a mighty king who brings peace to his land, becomes an adulterer and a murderer (2 Sam 11), didn’t manage his family well so Tamar was raped (2 Sam13) and Absalom revolted against David (2 Sam 15-) and allows his pride to lead him into a wrong action (1 Chron 21:1)
So why is God happy to have His Son identify with these ‘sinners’? Because He is going to identify with all of us as he comes in human form, mingles with us, and dies for us. God doesn’t wait until we are good people, nice people, no, it was, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8) There are some scary things in this ‘play’ but this isn’t one of them.