A failure or a king – both need God’s grace

By Dave Henning / November 27, 2022

“In Jesus you stop having to prove yourself because you know it doesn’t really matter in the end whether you are a failure or a king.  All you need is God’s grace, and you can have it, in spite of your failures.”- Timothy Keller

“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile in Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.”- Matthew 1:17 (NIV)

Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 2 of Hidden Christmas with the second thing Matthew does say in his genealogy.  Matthew reminds his readers that the promise of a Messiah took generations to come to fulfillment.  In fact, God sent no prophets, let alone a messiah, in the four hundred years prior to Christ’s birth.

Yet, Rev. Keller advises, you can’t judge God by your calendar.  And even though God appears to be slow to you, He never forgets His promises.  Above all, when His promises come true, Timothy notes, they always burst the banks of your imagination.  Furthermore, this represents one of the main themes of the nativity story — and indeed the Bible.

Also, Longfellow’s poem Retribution, a translation of a German poem, puts it this way:

“Though the mills of God grind slowly: Yet they grind exceedingly small; Though with patience He stands waiting, With exactness grinds He all.”

In conclusion, the final thing we learn from Matthew’s genealogy is that Jesus is the ultimate rest.  Near the end of Matthew Chapter 1, the gospel writer notes the generations from Abraham to Christ.  Therefore, ‘six sevens’ of generations make Jesus the beginning of the seventh seven.  And the seventh day, the Sabbath, serves as a day of rest.

Thus, Matthew tells us that rest only comes to us through Jesus Christ.  Because Jesus died and rose again, we can stop trying to prove ourselves.  That brings rest inwardly, as well as rest from the troubles and evils of this world.

Today’s question: When do you feel like a failure or a king (queen) in God’s eyes?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The supreme miracle of Christianity”

About the author

Dave Henning

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