Why Roots Matter (Ephesians 1, Romans 8)

Sunday begins our Christmas season sermon series which will run throughout the month of December – covering not only the four Sundays, but also as a part of our theme for Christmas Eve.

Our study will be called “The Roots of Redemption: Jesus’ Family Tree.” In our series brochure, as well as on our introduction page, we set up the series with this description:

Our origins speak powerfully to our identity—and destiny.  Where we come from tells us something about who we are, where we’re going. 

But not everyone’s family tree overflows with good fruit.  Some of us have closets full of skeletons.  Sometimes even our own past seems a barrier to our future. 

When we look at Jesus’ family tree, we find a lot of broken branches and scandal.  The ancient world believed that such past blemishes could tarnish your whole reputation—that yes, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.  But Jesus shows us that His life of purity can redeem even the darkest of family roots. 

Every family tree has some sap running through it – so goes the old saying. Yep, that’s true, and pretty much all of us don’t need to look as far back as Adam and Eve to find the sap. We’re more than a bit sticky ourselves!

I have been pretty open in recent years about my own identity search, and being adopted, I had two distinct family trees to go back through. Over the years I have known a lot about the family tree and history of the family with whom I grew up (which was biologically my mother’s side). But my father’s side was mostly a mystery with only a name and a mere handful of facts.

So with the resources of such research and computer tools like Ancestry.com, I was able to learn a great deal. I even discovered a long-lost cousin and connected with him for a visit one day. He died rather suddenly just a few months after that, so it was good I caught him. I learned a lot – much also that helped me understand myself a bit more.

But, be careful what you hope for and look to find out when you start digging through the recesses of a dark closet. I’ve only been able to get the roots (on my father’s side) as far back as three generations before me. The leads there grow cold and have been a brick wall. My best guess is that he was an orphan who was taken in by a miscellaneous family. He worked in a post office, got caught pilfering something in the mails, and spent time in a federal prison. However, it appeared that he completely changed his life for the positive after that event.

But it was certainly not what I hoped to find. I would rather that my biological history went back to the Founding Fathers of America or to an industrialist that fueled American exceptionalism and enterprise.

Yet even when there is some extraordinary individual in a family tree, as we saw with King David, there is a lot of clay in the feet of even the greatest human beings.

We all need a different sort of “additional” family tree – the family of God. And to be a part of it, we need an adoption into it. And that is what Christ came to do…………

Romans 8:14-16 – For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Ephesians 1:3-8 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.

We have a new family, with new roots. We are the children of the King through adoption into sonship by the redemption of the blood of Jesus Christ.