The Importance/Impotence of History

History is undoubtedly very important but insofar as it helps us know where we are and chart where we will be. At times, history is quoted to show potential (I’ll be great because my fathers were great) but at other times, history is quoted to excuse failure (I’m so bad because I had terrible parents). Both approaches have a grain of truth within them but they fail to take into account that most liberating of human faculties: the power of choice.

Matthew’s opening chapter brings this into sharp focus. Jesus is the seed of Abraham and the Son of David according to the genealogy but Matthew, through the unusual interjection of women’s names, points out very unsavory elements of Jesus’ genealogy: incest, Gentile blood, prostitution and murderous adultery. Even Jesus’ immediate history is not without controversy as Matthew shows his mother pregnant out of wedlock (a capital offence) and pagan magi honouring him while a respected king seeks to kill him. Yet Jesus is still the fulfillment of prophecy, he is the Messiah. Continue reading