Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David.

                        Romans 1.2,3

Two Fathers

As children of Reason and Science, comprehending the Virgin Birth is beyond the pale for a lot of us. That’s a blessing in disguise. If Jesus came to us in a rational fashion, we could rationalize everything about Him. And if we were able to do that, we’d give up a Savior to get a Nobel Peace Prize winner. So it’s no accident that the first thing we learn about Him demands absolute faith. His story starts there because that’s where the story of our relationship with Him must start. “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” Hebrews 11.6 says.

Still, it mystifies me why the Bible goes out of its way to trace Jesus’s earthly lineage through Joseph. Matthew starts with this. Then he abruptly pulls a U-turn and says emphatically that Jesus was conceived in the Virgin’s womb by the Holy Spirit. If it weren’t the Bible, I’d be prone to ask, “So why did you drag me through all those generations, if—technically—Jesus had no genetic commonalities with the likes of Aminadab, Roboam, and Eliakim?” I think the answer isn’t in who Jesus’s “real” father was, but in the fact that He had two fathers.

Reverse Adoption

John 1 tells us Jesus was in the beginning. He was with God. He was God. This means that, as God, He decided who His earthly father would be. We could think of it as a highly selective reverse adoption process, with God/Jesus looking closely at millions of candidates until, at last, They found someone whom They felt sure would provide the Christ Child with the love, discipline, and example that every father’s son needs. One of the qualifications clearly foretold by the Prophets was Jesus’s terrestrial dad had to be a descendant of David. In other words, he had to come from good people. From a theological standpoint there’s a lot more to it than that and I’m sure many pulpits are filled by “Rev. Dr. Smiths” who spent a good chunk of their lives researching and writing dissertations on this subject. But for us common folks, who haven’t the time or genius to tease through the technicalities, here’s something to consider.

Who’s Your Daddy?

In his salutation to the Roman church, Paul writes, “as to his human nature [Jesus] was a descendent of David.” Jesus opted to identify with the House of David. That was where He chose to put down His roots. While our circumstances are the direct reverse of Christ’s, we’ve been given similar options. We have no say about who our earthly fathers are. But there is no end of candidates to choose from when we decide to adopt a second father. We may decide to be children of Power or Wealth or Success. We may decide to descend from certain houses—minorities or orientations, religions or political persuasions, for example. The people and houses we identify with define our nature—i.e., our personalities. This most certainly was true of Jesus. In being, He was God’s Son. But in nature, He was Joseph’s boy through and through.

Of course, we should desire to be children of God. If that’s Whom we want to identify with, then we have to put down roots in Him. And we have to remain steadfast in Him to grow. Some of us want to claim dozens of fathers. We want to limit God to Sunday visitations and spend the rest of the week with our other dads—Popularity and Pleasure and Passivity and all sorts of other less demanding types. That’s why we don’t grow in God and why we’re always such a mess. We don’t know who we are because we won’t commit to choosing one nature to descend from. Obviously, choosing the best nature—namely, God’s—is essential. But deciding to choose is the first step toward making the right choice. So who’s your daddy?

The nature we adopt answers the question.

(Tomorrow: Keeping Watch)


Annette said...

Tim, Thank you - as always for making me think and reminding me of the gods I choose before Him. The times we are in - war, economic fears, have a great purpose for a people (us/me) who put the god of wealth, materialism and pride first at times. Your thoughts are a great reminder for us all, not only at this Christmas season, but in a season of turmoil. The only real place we will find peace is in Him. I needed this today. Thank you.

Tim said...

Annette, I'm completely on-board with you here. The times call for true children of God, who will take on His nature and ensure His presence is felt.

The developed world has had nearly half a century of watching news about dire hardships and catastrophes far from home. Now, we're getting the first tastes of what I expect will be a long lunch of how it feels to be the news. And after so many charlatans and bullies have cravenly manipulated us for so long by whipping up false fears, we're starting to grapple with what real fear feels like.

As the old song says, if we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need Him now. And He needs us to be His children more than ever. With amazing swiftness a lot of these other "daddies"--Security, Safety, Pride, et al.--are disappearing. Their kids are going to start looking for a new father they can depend on and emulate. That's where we come in...

Thanks for the comment. Right now, work has got me going in 40 directions at once, stealing time I need to think and write cogently. I winced after clicking the "Publish" button on this one, not being at all sure it made a whit of sense. I truly appreciate you easing my mind!

Blessings always.