There were four hundred years of silence after God spoke through the prophet Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament. Four hundred years! Can you imagine that period of waiting, doubting, hoping? But this week we don’t have to wait for the rest of the story. We get to keep reading and discover the good news as we begin the New Testament.
The very first book of the New Testament, Matthew, opens with a genealogy. As subjects go, reading through a catalog of names that go back some four thousand years hardly seems appealing. Who wants to trudge through a list of hard-to-pronounce names? The genealogies trace God’s hand in the lives of his people, they demonstrate how he uses ordinary people to be a part of his extraordinary story, and they ground the story in history. These were real people—real moms and dads and sons and nephews—many of them familiar to the original audience. Once we understand how the different parts of the New Testament play a role in God’s story of redemption, we can come to appreciate every part of the Scriptures.