By Joel Vande Werken
Scripture Reading — Ezra 2:1-2, 64-70
These are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles . . . (they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to their own town . . . ).
In between the verses of our Bible reading today there is a long list of names. Genealogies and other lists like this do not usually make for interesting reading. After all, we know very little about most of the people listed there. Their actions, hopes, and dreams—all of that is lost to history, and we have only their names.
But the Bible includes this list because it would help later generations see how they were connected to the exiles and had a place among God’s people in history. Similarly today, many people have found it meaningful to trace their family tree and learn things about their ancestry that they had never known before. It can help people learn about their identity and even some of the places their ancestors come from.
One of the great pictures of salvation in the Bible is that we now belong to the family of God. If you put your faith in Christ, you are adopted as a child of God (see Romans 8:14-17; Ephesians 2:19-22). This is good news for everyone! It can also give comfort to anyone who may feel that their past actions have burned bridges with the people around them, or whose families reject their faith in Christ. In Jesus, God has given us a place to belong and a people to belong to.
Heavenly Father, the whole family of Christ finds its identity in you. Thank you for the assurance that you love and care for each one of us, and that we belong to you. Amen.
Written by: Joel Vande Werken