Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 30 and Luke 3.
Luke 3 ends with a long list of names. Jesus has come into the world, born of a virgin. Ancient prophecies have been fulfilled. Angels have joyfully announced his arrival. John the Baptist has been calling people to bear fruits in keeping with repentance. A voice from heaven has echoed on earth as Jesus was baptized: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:21-22).
The next verse tells us,
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi… (Luke 3:23-24)
Name after name after name is listed–77 names in all. We recognize some of those names from the Old Testament: Zerubbabel, David, Jesse, Boaz, Judah, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Noah. But notice how the list of names concludes.
…Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:36-38)
While 77 names–many of them difficult to pronounce–are a lot to wade through, think about what these names represent. After 39 books of the Old Testament and thousands of years’ worth of men and women struggling under the curse of sin, we finally see the One with a direct connection, not simply to King David or father Abraham, but to God himself. Jesus is the royal heir, the Anointed One, the hope of both Jew and Gentile, the curse-breaker, the blessing-bringer, the seed of woman, the serpent-crusher.
This long list of names in Luke 3:23-38 is a testament to the faithfulness of God. Each name is a small reminder that the God of precious promises keeps his promises. The God who initiates covenants with men and women is faithful to his vows. The God who created mankind loved his image-bearers enough to send his own Son for our salvation. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Because of the Father’s faithfulness and the Son’s sacrifice, the words Jesus heard after his baptism can apply to me and you. “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.”
The next time you run across those long lists of names in your Bible, remember: God is faithful.