A column by Matthew Raley, pastor at Grace Brethren Church, Chico, Calif., was published in Saturday’s Chico Enterprise-Record. A portion of it appears below. Click here for the complete column.
Pastor Talk: The multi-ethnic Jesus
Last June, our arts team at Chico Grace Brethren started planning Advent, the season when Christians remember the first coming of Jesus Christ and anticipate his return. We took inspiration from an unlikely source, Jesus’s genealogy in Matthew 1.
Then our nation had a summer of racial violence and a campaign season that put the animosity front and center.
In September, the arts team realized that our unlikely source of Christmas drama was quite timely. Matthew emphasizes that Jesus’s human bloodline was not ethnically pure.
It’s hard to keep the Bible’s ethnic groups straight. They’re bewildering. Still, we understand biblical characters by tracing where they came from. We see, for example, that the nations of Canaan and Moab were enemies of Israel. When we find out how deep those ethnic antagonisms were, ancient history seems less ancient.
Click here for the complete column.