On this first Sunday of Advent, we begin the book of Matthew. Advent, which means "coming" or "arrival," is a time of anticipation, celebration, and longing. Advent is the beginning of the church calendar. Why celebrate and talk about Advent? Because Jesus is Lord of all time and space. Jesus is the true King of the world, and his story is how we tell time. His story is what shapes our lives as his apprentices. Advent is a time to intentionally reflect upon the coming of Jesus the long-awaited Messiah King. It's an invitation into the story of Jesus, the true story of the world and humanity.
This is the first in what will be a lengthy teaching series exploring the gospel according to Matthew. As we begin Matthew's account of the life and ministry of Jesus we find ourselves reading what appears to be a boring list of names. Why on earth would Matthew begin his work with a list of names? How would Matthew's first-century audience understand this genealogy? What would be going through their minds? And how on earth does this list of names speaks God's word to us two thousand years later?