A reading for Friday, January 13, 2017: Luke 3:23-38.

Seventy-seven generations... That's how many names are listed in Luke's genealogy. Seventy seven, "Son of..." Why would Luke go to the trouble of compiling such a list? What is so critical that he might take valuable space in his gospel accounting of Jesus' life, death and resurrection?

Two things: First, it's important in the ancient world that Jesus be related biologically to Adam. "For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous." according to Paul in Romans 5:19.

It's also the sense of perfection with the number 77. Seven is the perfect number, and so multiples of seven represent wholeness and abundance. Later in Luke 10, we will learn of the 70 (or in some translations 77) disciples that are "sent out two by two to all the places where Jesus himself intended to go." The point is not the number, but the perfection the number represents.

What Luke wants us to know is that something was happening with Jesus that had never happened before and has never happened since. Jesus was uniquely whole and his birth was the culmination of perfection. Those that are connected to Jesus have the capacity of connecting our experiences with God and then propagating those experiences to others that they too might be capable of God's perfection. (Schleiermacher)

On this anniversary celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. one more quote: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" Since we are connected to perfection and the abundance of God, we are capable of doing good for others. From the original 77, we too are the 77 and are given the rich heritage of our ancestors. We are called to share what we know of Jesus to others, that they too might know the good news!


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