My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Do you have any relatives that have a bad reputation?  Were they guilty of breaking the law?  I got into the ancestor search a few years back.  Originally, my maternal family came from England and settled in Virginia in 1609.  The family spread in two directions from Virginia.  One son remained in Virginia.  Another son went to North Carolina and the third one moved to Sevierville, Tennessee.  Then some moved from East Tennessee to East Madison County near Brownsville.  My great-grandfather and his immediate family left Brownsville and traveled to middle Arkansas.  He was murdered during a card game.  Was he cheating or was it another player?  One thing is clear, my great-grandfather wasn’t quick enough on the draw.   I know that my aunt Vida Chandler Watts never would allow spots cards in her house because of that incident.  After that incident, my grandfather and family left Arkansas, traveled West and settled in Stratford, Oklahoma.  This move was shortly after Oklahoma became a State.  I grew up and lived in Oklahoma until I traveled East to study in Memphis, Tennessee in 1958.

Although there were some rascals in the Chandler lineage, their stories are interesting.  There are also businessmen, landowners, some who fought in the Civil War, World War I and II, law officers, lawyers, teachers, farmers, college professors, and preachers.  Some were recognized by society because they “came from good stock.”  Those who stayed in trouble with the law may have come from good families, they just didn’t stay with their raising.

Jesus was born in a manger or what we would call a barn.  That birth spot wasn’t because Joseph was poor, but because the inns were full.  Back then the early arrivals usually got the best rooms.  Mary was pregnant. Perhaps her condition meant more rest stops.  When a family has their first baby, most will take a lot of pictures.  Jesus’ baby book was located in Mary’s memory (Luke 2:19, 51).  On one occasion during Jesus ministry, Mark informs us about an unusual family event.  Jesus’ brothers and their mother attempted to take him home and restrict his public appearances.  They thought he was “out of his mind” (Mark 3:21 RSV, NIV, ESV).

Who would believe Jesus was God’s anointed one or Messiah?  Even his lineage contains some “shady” individuals.  There is a possible Canaanite woman whose name was Tamar.  She became pregnant through deception (Genesis 38).  She presented herself as a prostitute so her father-in-law would get her pregnant.  The second woman is also a prostitute and pagan whose name is Rahab (Joshua 2:1-14).  The third woman is a Moabite Gentile named Ruth.  Her son would be David’s grandfather (Ruth 4:17).  The fourth woman willingly commits fornication with David.  To cover his sin, David ultimately has her husband killed in battle and then marries her.  Solomon is their second son.  Solomon starts well but decides to try different things to see how each scenario plays out.  Living quarters for his wives and concubines must have been huge since he had 700 wives and 300 extra in-house women!  Solomon’s son Rehoboam was also a disappointment.  “Train up a child” didn’t help that royal kid.  However, from these imperfect individuals a prophesied Savior comes into the family.

God uses man where he is to accomplish His will.  God manifested Himself in the form of an imperfect man to save wayward mankind.  Some powerful men rejected him then and they still do.  His name is Jesus (Joshua in Hebrew), meaning “Yahweh or Jehovah saves.”

The angel told Mary about the child she would have.  Angels announced his birth.  Men from the East traveled to their rented house to worship him.  They brought expensive gifts and presented them to the baby.  Jesus as a youth astonished his mother with his knowledge and speech.  As a teen, his interests were different from others.  As a man, his wisdom and teaching continued to astonish and mystify her.  His miracles were mind boggling and crowds followed him to share in their benefits.  Yet, human misunderstanding stepped in and his divine actions were interpreted as an embarrassment to the family.  He was raised to be a carpenter but recognized as one having authority.  His lessons were not easy to accept.  His family thought their actions were right.  Mary’s son could not be right when so many preachers claimed he was so wrong.  So, they went to get him off the streets.

The prophets foretold of the Messiah’s coming.  Details were given that would be fulfilled by God’s Anointed One.  Mary was visited by an angel.  That was not a daily occurrence.  The signs and instructions were overwhelming to one so young.  She had never had sexual relations with a man, yet she was pregnant.  Explaining that condition to family, neighbors, and a future husband in that culture was impossible.  God spoke to her appointed husband.  The events surrounding her son’s birth were not ordinary.  Even as a boy, his actions and reputation were overwhelming.  As she heard about Jesus’ teachings and miracles, her awe and questions grew.  Yet, there she was, with her sons, to take Jesus, by force if necessary, back home.  They wanted to get him off the streets and away from the crowds.  Even a mother can have doubts.  The sons were not helpful in recognizing Jesus as the person he actually was.  Human inconsistency being what it is, the jealousy of Jesus’ brothers was alive and active.  One may also see Satan alive and active in their actions.

Despite the negative feelings Mary and the sons manifested, Jesus was not detoured in his mission.  We are not told when those brothers realized their error.  However, two stand out as believers after Acts 2.  James is referred to as “the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19).  He is mentioned in Acts 12:17; 21:18; Galatians 1:19; 2:9, 12.  He is also the author of the book of James.  The other brother is the author of the book of Jude (1:1).  James also stands out as a leader in the Jerusalem congregation (Acts 15:13-21).  The KJV uses the word “my sentence” to translate the Greek word krino in verse 19.  However, the ASV, NASV, RSV, and NIV use the expression “my judgment.”  The NKJV has “Therefore I judge.”  Some passages appear to describe James’ position in the church based primarily upon his family relationship to Jesus.

God stepped into man’s history, saving the imperfect through His perfection.  Yahweh is continuing that role today in your life and mine.  Doubt continues to flourish, but faith continues to save despite our imperfections (Acts 4:12; 16:30-33; Romans 5:9-10; 10:9; Ephesians 2:5, 8; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5).