This is a difficult skit to conceive… and execute. But it shows how a skit can help enage with biblical texts, and even biblical difficulties. This skit doesn’t provide the answer to certain questions church goers might have about the genealogies, but it affirms that it is not wrong to ask difficult questions… especially within the context of faith and humility. If you find this confusing or helpful, tell me what you think.

“Oh no! Not the genealogies!”

Characters: 4 youth (Amit, Rohit, Sid, Danny), one Youth Leader (Y-leader)
Setting: Youth Bible Study | Time: About 4 minutes                                     
Bible Passage: Matthew 1:1-17, and Luke 3:23-38
Key thoughts: When questioning the Bible we need faith and help

Amit: “Oh no! Not the genealogies!”
Y-Leader: Why not? They’re not so bad.
Amit: Ya, right. Tell me you enjoy reading them!
Y-Leader: Actually…
Rohit: What’s the point of studying them anyway. Let’s just skip to the birth of Jesus.
Y-Leader: (to Rohit) Because Genealogies start us in the right direction.
Siddharth (Sid): Do they? Why don’t we start with Genesis then?
Y-Leader: (to Sid) Because we’re studying the New Testament in this session. And the Gospels are first in the NT and…
Danny: The Genealogies come first. Oh I love genealogies sir. Please go on sir.
Rohit: (To Sid) What’s wrong with D? Why’s he sucking up?
Sid: (To Rohit) I think he likes Y’s younger sister, so he’s trying to make an impression.
Rohit: (To Sid) But I thought Y-Leaders’ younger sister was going out with…
Y-Leader: (To Rohit and Sid) Ahem. Can we stay on the subject please. We are going to study the Genealogies because they come first. But also because they have some important lessons to teach us. So let’s all turn our bibles to Matthew Chapter 1.
Amit: Hey, doesn’t Luke have a geneology of its own?
Rohit: Yeah, I heard that there are differences between Matthew and Luke’s geneology.
Sid: Really? What does that mean.
Amit: It means, one of them got it wrong… or both did.
Y-Leader: Hey, just a minute. There’s no error in the Bible!
Danny: (To Amit) Don’t you dare say anything about the Bible you heathen. Go on sir, what you’re saying in interesting.
Y-Leader: (To Danny) Um, yes. Thank you. (To all). Well I mean… are the Genealogies actually different?… umm…
Rohit: Well, actually, it is quite different. See, Joseph’s father in Matthew is Jacob (v. 16) whereas in Luke Joseph’s father is Heli.
Y-Leader: (scratching head) Well… I could be that the Jewish name for Jacob and Heli come from the same word and so you can say it differently and…
Sid: Hey it goes on… Heli’s father was Matthat in Luke, while in Mathew Jacob’s father was Matthan…
Danny: See, Matthat and Matthan… same thing. Just two ways of saying the same word.
Amit: Not it’s not? What if I started calling you Dingy instead of Danny.
Y-Leader: Umm, maybe in Jewish culture this wasn’t such a bad thing…
Rohit: Matthat’s father was Levi (Luke) whereas Matthan’s father was Eleazer…
Y-Leader: Ok, ok… you’ve made your point. There are differences, so what are you trying to say.
Rohit: Well, I was hoping you could help us resolve that.
Y-Leader: Actually, because of lack of time, we cannot answer that question right now because there are more important issues like what we can learn from the genealogies.
Sid: (to Rohit) I would much rather learn the answer to the first question…
Rohit: (quietly to Sid) Shhh, otherwise we’ll be here all night.
Amit: I would like to suggest that…
Y-Leader: No, let’s move on. The first thing we learn from genealogies is that Jesus did not come out of nowhere. He had a history. He was connected with the Jewish people. The next lesson we learn that…
Rohit: (quietly to Sid) look at Y’s nostril’s flare up when he’s speaking. (they gaze intently at Y-leader’s nostrils)
Y-Leader: …that Jesus was connected to the Old Testament. (Rohit and Sid laugh quietly). You cannot understand Jesus in isolation from the Old Testament.  (to Rohit and Sid) Why are you laughing!? (Rohit and Sid laugh louder).
Amit: Look Y-leader, forget them. I would like to suggest that we can at least look at the Study Notes in our Bibles to understand why Matthew and Luke have different versions. For instance, my Study Bible says that…
Danny: Hey didn’t you hear Y-leader? We don’t have time, we need to move on to more important things…
Y-Leader: (Tiredly, to Danny) No Danny, that’s a good idea. What do your study notes say?
Amit: Well it says that the “differences can be explained by the fact that Matthew records the genealogy of Joseph as the legal, not the natural father, of Jesus.” While Luke “traces the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, his mother, which accounts for an almost completely different set of ancestors.” (Lindsell Study Bible, note for Matthew 1:16)
Rohit: That’s interesting. But why does Joseph have two fathers?
Amit: It says here that “Mary’s name is not mentioned before Heli’s because Jews did not trace genealogy through a female.”
Sid: Come on, that doesn’t make sense.
Amit: No see, in this other note (in Luke) it says that “Joseph is called the son of Heli in Luke in accordance with Jewish legal custom; this means he was the son of Heli in that he was the husband of Heli’s daughter. Luke carefully says that Jesus was not really Joseph’s son after the flesh.” (Lindsell Study Bible, note for Luke 3:23-38.)
Rohit: Come on, how are we supposed to know all this? (To Y-leader) How come you didn’t know this?
Y-Leader: Honestly, I didn’t think that we would be comparing the two genealogies, so I didn’t really prepare that. There are plenty of things we can learn from the genealogies though…
Sid: Ya, that’s fine. But I’m really upset. If we want to understand the Bible, it’s like we need to be specialists. I mean, if we didn’t have this study Bible, we’d be coming up with weird theories.
Rohit: More importantly, Sid, how do you even know that these notes are correct? It could be just another explanation. I mean, the author of the notes is not saying that he knows it 100% .
Y-Leader: OK, ok… this is where I step in. I admit I messed up. But I think we need to give the scholars a little bit more credit; but obviously we need to have some objective distance.
Sid: The ‘objective distance’ we should have while listening to you?
Danny: Hey, that’s not fair.
Amit: (To Sid) No Sid, that isn’t.
Y-Leader: You’re right. I’d rather you listen to the experts than me. But one thing that has helped me, is that I start from a position to believe that the Bible is true, even when I find it confusing. And usually, I eventually find an answer by listening to people who know more than me. Like I did today.
Sid: So that’s our lesson for today?
Y-Leader: Not as I planned it, but I guess that it will have to do.

Danny: But I really want to know about what we can learn from the genealogies…
Y-Leader: We’ll have to do that some other time, Danny, some other time.



1 Response to “Genealogies”

  1. 1 ray nwamb December 15, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    The genealogy of theology is a tough cookie to follow and trace properly. Fantastic site you have here. Please do check out my site when you have time

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Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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