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Gene Pools 遺伝子プール

A: My gene pool 私の遺伝子プール

Some of you might look at me and think “Wow, this guy is so wonderful he must have some incredible genes in his family tree”. On the other hand, others might look at me and say, “Oh boy, this guy is so weird he must have some really messed up genes in his family tree”. Today I’d like to share with you a little of my DNA history and you can decide for yourself whether I’m safe to approach or should be avoided.

i. In 1801, my great, great, great grandfather on my mother’s side (named John) was arrested for stealing King George III’s horse and riding away with it. He was probably drunk at the time which spared him from execution but he was put on a boat with all the other plebs and bums and criminals and sent to Australia.

ii. In the mid 1800s, my great, great grandmother on my father’s side (named Hilga) was a Swedish woman who, living in Australia found and married a Swedish man. He failed to please her. So she bumped him off and then found and married another Swedish man. He, too, failed to please her, so she bumped him off and married yet another Swedish man. That Swedish man also failed to make her happy so she bumped him off too. After murdering 4 Swedish husbands, she lived with a 5th Swedish guy but he ran off when he found out what was going on.

iii. Toward the end of the 1800s, my great grandfather on my father’s side, a Spanish man named Diego sailing with a fleet from Spain decided that Sydney harbour looked rather nice, so he jumped ship and decided to stay. He became what is now known as an illegal alien in Australia and a Democrat in the U.S.

There are many more colourful characters in my family background but for time purposes I’ll stop there but, I just want to say to Remi, if you didn’t know any of these stories I’m sorry you had to hear it like this.

Without going into detail, while my family background does include thieves, drunkards, serial murderers and illegal aliens, it does also include some war heroes, professors, scientists, congressmen and nationally renowned entertainers.

Most of my ancestors, however, were insignificant, talentless and boring people of whom I have no stories to be either ashamed of or to brag about. But I’m still grateful for them because without them, I wouldn’t be here today.

B: Jesus’ human gene pool イエスの人間の遺伝子プール

Now, as we look to Jesus at this Advent time, and worship Him and celebrate who he was and what he achieved, we might want to look at his gene pool, too – as the gospel writers did – to find out more about this wonderful, wonderful man. He must have had some sensational DNA before him, right?

There are two genealogies given of Jesus, one in the gospel of Matthew and the other in the gospel of Luke. One thing that is interesting about these genealogies is that they’re very different. One of the reasons for this is that Matthew was primarily following the legal line of Jesus’ earthly father Joseph, while Luke was following the gene pool of Jesus’ mother Mary. Both genealogies include some colourful characters.

Luke 3:23-38

Joseph’s line includes Abraham, who had a child with his servant-girl because he couldn’t trust God to come good on his promise. This was an act which the world is still paying for to this day as the Jews and the Arabs continue to war with each other. (Ishmael became the father of the Arabs, Jacob became the father of the Jews.) Joseph’s line includes Jacob, who lied and deceived and stole his brother’s birthright. David, an adulterer and murderer, was also a part of this family tree along with many others who were less than holy.

Matthew 1:1-16

On Mary’s side we have Tamar, a Canaanite woman (outside the Jewish gene pool) who deceived and seduced her father-in-law to have his child. We also have Rahab, another Canaanite woman who was a prostitute, We have Ruth, a good woman but another alien (a Moabite) outside of the chosen gene pool. And we have Bathsheba who committed adultery with David.

It’s interesting and no accident that the gospels link these women to Mary, Jesus’ mother, since she too found herself in a ritually taboo pregnancy and in a marital situation that was very unusual.

Now, there were some heroes and faithful and mighty people in Jesus’ gene pool as well. But far and away, most of the people we read about in Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies were insignificant, talentless and boring people of whom we have no stories to be either ashamed of or to brag about.

This is good news for someone like me, and maybe like you. It seems we’re not alone in having come from a very checkered gene pool. The lineage that gave us the Messiah Jesus was built upon not just the great and the talented, but equally upon the poor and the insignificant.

And what is exciting for us to contemplate today in this Advent season is that God continues to work through the same odd mix of people. It’s not just that totally unknown people were part of the story of Jesus’ first Advent, but that relatively unknown characters today (you and me) are still an essential part of the Kingdom of God as we work towards Jesus’ second Advent.

What a wonderful message for us today! However heroic or simple or sinful or odd we might be or have been, we all have a role to play in the story of Jesus and His Kingdom.

C: Jesus’ divine gene pool イエスの神の遺伝子プール

There is more to Jesus’ gene pool however. Much more! And this is where the Advent story really comes into its own.

We know that Jesus was a man. Fully man. But He was also fully God.
[Jesus was fully man and fully God.]

The apostle John writes:
In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1,2

Jesus was the Son of God and the Son of Man.

Paul wrote to the Philippian church:
[Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. Philippians 2:6,7
7 かえって、おのれをむなしうして僕のかたちをとり、人間の姿になられた。その有様は人と異ならず、フィリピの信徒への手紙2:6,7

When it says that Jesus emptied Himself, it doesn’t mean he gave up His deity but rather that he laid aside His glory.

Jesus was God in the beginning who became a man. When he walked the earth he was fully God and fully man. He came from both a human gene pool and a divine gene pool.

If this is hard to understand, let me use a simple analogy which might help. I’m really happy to have my daughter Niki back here with us for a while. Isn’t she beautiful?! Give her a clap and those sitting nearby can give her a pat on the back or a hug. (I just love to embarrass my kids.)
Despite the common terminology in Japan, Niki is not a ‘half’. She’s not half Australian and half Japanese. She doesn’t have half an Australian passport or half Japanese citizenship. She is both fully Australian and fully Japanese. She has full entitlements to both countries. Likewise, Jesus was both fully God and fully man with full access to both the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God.

Understanding this is what makes the genealogy of the Messiah, the promises foretold about Him and their fulfillment in the life of Jesus so wonderful and so exciting.

The prophet Isaiah wrote:
“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution
he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
Isaiah 35:4b-6
5 その時、見えない人の目は開かれ、聞えない人の耳は聞えるようになる。
6 その時、足の不自由な人は、しかのように飛び走り、口のきけない人の舌は喜び歌う。それは荒野に水がわきいで、さばくに川が流れるからである。

The apostle Matthew wrote:
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Matthew 11:4-6
5 盲人は見え、足なえは歩き、らい病人はきよまり、耳しいは聞え、死人は生きかえり、貧しい人々は福音を聞かされている。
6 わたしにつまずかない者は、さいわいである」。
Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. He was the God-man promised from ancient days.

Isaiah wrote:
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Matthew recorded this fulfilment:
Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
19 それゆえに、あなたがたは行って、すべての国民を弟子として、父と子と聖霊との名によって、彼らにバプテスマを施し、
20 あなたがたに命じておいたいっさいのことを守るように教えよ。見よ、わたしは世の終りまで、いつもあなたがたと共にいるのである」。マタイによる福音書28:18-20

Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. He was the God-man promised from ancient days.

As we prepare our hearts this Advent to receive afresh the truth of the gospel message, the love of God and the Spirit of Jesus, let’s rejoice in knowing who this Jesus was and who He is – the Son of God, the Son of Man, the risen Lord, the King of Kings, God with us – and worship Him with all our hearts.