Podcast: 7 September 2020


Welcome to Monday’s podcast.  My name is Tom Finnemore and I’m the Interim Leader of STC. 

This term we’re thinking about what it means to embrace the so called ‘New Normal’ – this new moment we find ourselves in 2020 during this global pandemic and as a church as we navigate season of leadership transition.  Each Sunday and each week day we’ll be searching the scriptures to see what we can mine and learn throughout this season.

Today we’re starting right at the start of the gospel of Matthew.  Matthew 1: 1-25.  Today I’ll focus on verses 17:

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.


Last month we needed to get our washing machine fixed – it had sprung a leak.  We found an engineer.  He was great and sorted the issue quickly.  He was really friendly – super chatty – quite funny and reminded me of the TV presenter Paddy McGuiness.  As he was getting ready to go the conversation turned to the subject of moment:  the blockbuster year that 2020 has become.  Things took an unexpected turn.  This happy-go-lucky funny washing machine repairman takes the view that COVID-19 is part of a much wider conspiracy in which the government is using to take our money.  We listened and said nothing.  His parting advice was for us to remove our money from the banks (so it couldn’t be ‘got’) and instead invest in jewels and gold.  We thanked him for his time, for fixing the washing machine and, of course, his sound financial advice.

The thing is he isn’t alone holding those views.

As lockdown has eased it seems to me that whatever cultural unity there may have been back in March and April –as we all clapped for the NHS – has eviscerated to such a degree in some quarters of culture that a deep distrust has emerged towards any medical advice shared by scientists & the government.

For example, I learned a new term recently – a Sheeple.  I’ll say it again –  a Sheeple.  It’s a term for somebody who is so called easily led.  A friend was called one for wearing a mask!

My point is that there are multiple competing voices right now that are causing among some people a real sense of confusion – often, in my view – the sign of a real spiritual struggle and battle.  Division & distrust are the hallmarks of the enemy of God.

Jon Tyson, a pastor in New York City, attributes this ‘cultural confusion’ – this disbelief whether we’re actually receiving medical advice or the victims of a major hoax – to the many and multiple narratives that have become part of our every day existence.  This has become a major issue in the pressure cooker that is 2020.  When I was a kid – there were 5 channels on the telly… it felt a much simpler way of life.  Nostalgia aside, it meant that when there was major events, there were only a few major cultural voices helping navigate the season and interpret the times.

Today there are literally thousands of voices broadcasting their views on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

If you’re heading to work today or just going about your daily life what can you do – what can we do – to be a presence of Jesus in this tumultuous time?

Today’s passage has something to say to us.  Matthew’s infamous genealogy – a bit like a condensed version of the TV show ‘who do you think you are’ confirms Jesus’ identity – it lines him up perfectly with the Jewish greats like Abraham – which affirms his pedigree and then the icing on the cake is the direct claim to the descent of King David and Solomon.  Nothing could scream louder from the rooftops ‘Son of David’ than a list of names like this confirming his royal identity.

In this culture – who you are and your place in the world was totally dependent on your family line and here’s the thing… Rome had already placed a king over the Jewish people – Herod – and he was claiming to be the king of the Jews (think Herod – think Frank Underwood in House of Cards) who was a power hungry vile and violent dictator with virtually little Jewish ancestry.

So what do we do then?  We walk in the opposite spirit.

In an uncertain world Herod clings to power and leads with great brutality.

Jesus walks in the opposite way: he’s walking in promise – in inheritance – each miracle pointing to a new kingdom – of justice, of mercy revealing the heart of God.

If 2020 can teach us anything – it’s to pull us back to the scriptures – to the ancient ways of the people of God who have gone before us and draw us deeper, more confidently back to the father.

When we meet fear in others.  We don’t get drawn into it.  Why? Because we’re part of something much bigger than this moment.  We walk in the opposite spirit confidently knowing that the Church of Jesus has prospered during storms because he is with us and for us – he’s the ‘Son of David’ – the messiah.


Father, use us this day to be bringers of hope and life walking confidently in you.


BIBLE READING: Matthew 1:1-25

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.