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Updated: 12/01/2012 08:00:04AM

The Fabric of Our Faith: The Jesse Tree

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During Advent, I’ll review the stories of four individuals named in Jesus’ family tree in Matthew 1:1-17 to see how they fit into what Karl Barth called “The Christ Event.” Matthew’s genealogy is at the heart of the Jesse Tree Advent tradition. Typically, ornaments representing major individuals in this passage are hung on an evergreen tree identified in Isaiah 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”

Matthew 1:2-3, New International Version, proposes, “Jacob (was) the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar.” Her link to Jesus requires reading all of Genesis 38! There Judah went to Adullam where he met and married a Canaanite woman, who gave birth to three sons named, respectively, Er, Onan and Shelah.

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