Scholars generally note that the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew introduces us to the main character of the story by showing that Jesus is at the center of all that God has been doing in redemptive history. The term redemptive history is a way of looking at history that shows God at work for the purpose of redeeming sinful people. It sees history as a story that God is telling - not a series of random events. Sometimes God works in the story directly and clearly, other times he is at work indirectly, behind the scenes. So, while we might be tempted to skip the genealogy as a boring list of names, we encounter some old friends there and remember God at work in the lives of normal people. For example, Boaz and Ruth were topics of recent sermons at City Reformed. They were ordinary people doing seemingly ordinary things, not knowing that they would be part of the lineage of the Messiah. By contrast, in the short story about Joseph and Mary, we see the direct role of the Holy Spirit in the birth of Jesus. We are told that this miraculous birth was a fulfillment of prophecy from Isaiah.
In all of these things - whether directly or indirectly, whether clearly miraculous or behind the scenes - God is at work, preparing the way for Jesus. Jesus arrived "according to plan." Jesus was not an afterthought or a backup plan. God had prepared a way to "save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21) from the very beginning. Our salvation has always been central to God's purposes. Though we live in a world that often seems like it is spinning out of control and though our inner world is buffeted by temptations and disappointments, God is at work - saving his people from their sins.
How does it change the events and circumstances in your life when they are viewed against the backdrop of redemptive history? - MK