“And all spoke well of Him and marveled at the gracious words that came out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?'” Luke 4:22 ESV
I have recently been studying my heritage through a popular ancestry site. I am learning so much about the blood line that makes up who I physically am. For instance, I am 39% descendent from London England through the Spring family who married a Culpepper of North Carolina after coming to America. What were they like? This Culpepper family? I envision southern plantations, big hoop dresses, and afternoon tea under the veranda. But I also wonder about the dark side of my ancestry. The side that was ignorant of human dignity.
More recently in my family tree, I am a southern gal from a Pentecostal / Baptist heritage in Knoxville, TN. I had a strict Pentecostal upbringing with the salvation of the Baptist. I learned right from wrong at a very early age. I learned to appreciate the old hymns. But then there is the dark side. Even though I was taught a love of music of all kinds, it was always linked with the fact that my talented father was an alcoholic who only wanted the good life of chasing women and entertaining in bars. Throughout my life I watched as my Mom taught us to lie to get out of trouble and take advantage of others. I was taught to steal, gossip, and lie at an early age. This is the heritage I know.
This is not the heritage I live. I was delivered from this by my acceptance of Christ and the sacrifice He made for me. He gave His life. I give Him mine.
You see, dear friends, we all have a heritage. Jesus had a heritage and that is all that the people He walked with could see. They saw His earthly father, Joseph, the carpenter. And they wondered, how can a carpenter’s son be so wise in the things of God? He has not been seen learning in the synagogues with mentors from birth. He has been working alongside his dad, building in the woodshop. Where did his wisdom come from?
When people I grew up with see me, they probably think the same thing. they will relate me to my past. And the people who know you will do the same. But we have been given a new heritage. We have God as our Father, Jesus is our Brother. The Holy Spirit is that Mamaw who passes on good advice and keeps us focused. If we have accepted Jesus, we know that He was more than a carpenter who was smart in the ways of God. He is the Messiah sent to save us from our sins. If we can believe that with all our hearts, we will live a life of Christ in front of those who know our past and not only will they see the change in us, but they will hunger for what we have.
We cannot give up when others remind us of who we were. God allows each of us to go though trials, mistakes, and heritage here on earth so that we can use His Word to teach others about the unending grace of God, our Father. Jesus came to earth so that we could see that He lived life as a man. He suffered, He was doubted, He was tempted to be like the world, but with God’s Word, He overcame. We can too.