Luke 3: 26 “the son of Mattathias”
In the UK we have a TV show called ‘Who do you think you are?’ where celebrities trace their ancestral roots. It is fascinating to watch them discover where they came from, who they were connected to. Some of them are shocked they came from royalty and others are equally stunned to realise they have a villain in their family!
Patsy Kensit, the ‘Eastenders’ actress knew that her late father was a villain who was deeply involved in the Krays’ criminal empire in 1960s London. But she discovered that her grandfather was also a prolific criminal – while another ancestor had been a vicar who dedicated his life to helping the urban poor.
Jeremy Irons learned that family folklore about a rebellious great-great-grandfather who rode to Westminster on a donkey to present a petition was true. Thomas Irons was one of London’s first ‘Peelers’, but was dismissed from the Metropolitan Police for deserting his post and being drunk. He helped deliver the Chartist petition, demanding a universal franchise, to Parliament in 1848. After the peaceful campaign failed, he was arrested with 13 others, accused of planning a militant insurrection and sentenced to 18 months in Newgate prison.
Why am I spending so much time thinking through Luke’s ancestry of Jesus? Especially when we have little references to many of the names. Why am I thinking again about another Mattathias? Here is the reason why:
Mattathias was a human being, a real person, who lived on this earth.
He was the 6th line generation down from his namesake.
This Mattathias was the 14th line generation down from Jesus according to Luke’s list.
Jesus and Mattathias are connected in a human story.
Jesus was really human, he didn’t just appear to be like us. (This was a heresy at the time of Theophilus who Luke was writing to. Luke was saying ‘Theophilus do not listen to the Docetics’).
Jesus had a Jewish heritage and Christianity can trace its lineage to Judaism. (This was also a heresy at the time and again Luke writes to Theophilus, ‘Don’t listen to those Gnostics’)
Jesus, fully human, a Jewish man, veiled in our flesh, knows what we are going through today, he has been in our place. We never pray to someone who doesn’t know how we feel.
Mattathias as we have already seen means ‘gift from God’ came before Jesus who truly was the gift from God. For God so loved the world that He gave …