Are you like most Bible readers who skim past the genealogies? Sometimes we call them "the begots." Here at Christmas, the genealogies of Jesus give us insights. Matthew 1:6, in tracing Jesus's legal lineage, makes this point: "David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah." Those familiar with the Old Testament know the story well. Have you ever heard Jesus' family called "the holy family?" Go back a bit more, and you find that His ancestors weren't all that holy. David was king of Israel, and at a time when kings should have been at the battlefront, David was on the roof of his palace. He happened to see a woman named Bathsheba bathing, and in his lust over her, he committed adultery with her. Not only that, he also had her husband Uriah essentially executed by ordering him into a certain-death frontline situation. The sin would be found out, though, because Bathsheba became pregnant. That child perished, but a future child of the couple was named Solomon. This child became king and - get this - part of Messiah's lineage.
We've heard Romans 8:28 many times. We have it on paperweights, greeting cards, bumper stickers, and more. What God did in the birth of Christ, though, is an example of His Romans 8:28 ability. God endorsed neither David's murder of Uriah, nor his adulterous union with Bathsheba. But He did work David's tragic mess together for good - to bring us Christ.
The message is clear and powerful. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." (Rom. 5:20). That's what Christmas is all about. God is so wise, magnificent and gracious that He took a situation as shattered and horrific as what we created through sin and brought out of it the spotless Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Glory to God in the Highest!
In 2 Timothy 2:2, the Apostle Paul instructs his protégé Timothy: "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." These words set forth an effective plan for spreading the Gospel and investing meaningfully in the lives of others. For this devotional, our focus is on the word "commit to." It means "to entrust, to commit to one's charge." A helpful picture of this action is the relay race where the one currently carrying the baton commits that baton to someone else who is reliable, who will, in turn, be able to hand it on to someone else.
As I was studying this text afresh recently, I came across a resource that explained reasons that professionals have identified for what they call "baton drops." What goes wrong that causes a costly baton drop. I was amazed to find principles that can carry over in our discipleship efforts to pass our faith on to those around us and future generations. Here they are: