As a kid I got interested in my ancestors. My dad’s reply to my questions: (are you ready?) “Herbie,” (yes, that’s what they called me, but don’t YOU try it!), “Don’t go looking too far up my family tree. You’re likely to find some people hanging there.” He meant it literally. He was wrong. I found people hanging on BOTH sides of my family tree.
All the way up and down the branches are patterns of brokenness of every kind. Repeatedly. Ugly. Nasty. Surprising. Disappointing. Wouldn’t think so since I am such a nice guy, eh? To be fair, there are many good people along the branches as well. I just didn’t realize how many messed up it is. Broken limbs.
I’m feeling better now. Recently I checked up Jesus’ family tree. You’d think, being the Son of God and all, that Jesus would a branch of a healthy, clean, nearly perfect family tree. And you would be totally wrong. Abraham was a liar, throwing his wife under the bus by claiming she was his sister to save his hide. Isaac was permissive, following his father’s footsteps and Rebekah was a controlling deceiver, following suit with her family system. Jacob stole his brother’s birthright and blessing, ran to his mother’s brother to avoid Esau’s wrath, was deceived by his future father-in-law and then turned around to do the same to him. Joseph was a spoiled brat and his brothers were angry and jealous enough to kill him. There are murderers, adulterers, prostitutes, outcasts and every other broken limb you can think of.
But He was the Son of God Who forgives, reconciles and empowers! The broken limbs of his ancestry do not define Him.
Nor do mine. Nor do yours. It doesn’t matter what they were, it only matters WHOSE you are!
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Why? Just so we could be better than the broken limbs of our past? No. So that we can enjoy the freedom and blessing of being whole. AND so that we taste, look and smell like Him, causing people to look at us but see Him. Salt of the earth, light of the world, aroma of Christ.
15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:15-21 (NIV)
If not for Christ, I would be one of the broken limbs. But Christ has made me new. Brand, spanking new creation. From the inside out, remaking this broken limb. No credit to me. All I did was say “Yes.”
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