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What do God and Barack Obama have in common?
Neither one has a birth certificate.
That’s one of Rush Limbaugh’s favorite jokes.
It’s funny. But, as with all humor, it contains only some truth.
Because followers of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach – or Jesus the Christ – know He established Himself as the Messiah of the Jews and the Savior of the world by providing two genealogical records – one going all the way back to Adam and another tracing His kingly lineage back to Abraham. So, even if there were no birth certificates maintained 2,000 years ago in ancient Israel, there is no doubt about where He was born, when and His parentage. Even Jesus recognized those qualifications were essential to establishing His right to His earthly throne as king of the Jews.
In fact, the first 17 verses of Matthew are devoted to His genealogy – through the line of Joseph, his adoptive father. The next nine verses, including the first verse of the second chapter, are devoted to the who, what, when, where and why of His birth. The rest of the second chapter is devoted to the actions of Joseph and Mary to protecting the young Jesus from efforts to put Him to death.
Likewise, the last 15 verses of the third chapter of Luke are devoted to Jesus’ genealogy – this time through the line of Mary.
Why all the genealogical details?
They were critical.
Jesus was in a unique position to claim the throne of David because He was a physical descendant through the line of Joseph. Had He been Joseph’s blood son, He would have been ineligible because of a blood curse on his ancestor Jeconiah (Jeremiah 22:30). But as Joseph’s adoptive son, Jesus was eligible.
Jesus was also eligible through the line of Mary, His biological mother, because she had no brothers and because she married within the tribe of Judah. All these little, nitpicky details had to be established – and they were.
Tracing one’s lineage back to the time of Adam was quite an ordeal – even 2,000 years ago. It would have been far more challenging than simply producing a document every American is forced to produce at various points in his life – to play in Little League, to compete in high school sports, to get one’s driver’s license, to get a passport, to enter military service and so on.
But Jesus did it. His disciples thought it was important enough to include in their gospels.
That’s because God didn’t want there to be any doubts about Jesus’ eligibility or qualifications to be the King of kings.
There’s a lesson in this story for Barack Obama.
His nativity story is much less known.
The people have many questions about it.
There are many inconsistencies in the official story.
No one has been permitted to see the one document that might shed light on his claim to the presidency as a “natural born citizen.” Instead, we’re asked to accept on faith that he is. We’re asked to believe that a substitute document providing none of the grainy, corroborating details we find on a genuine birth certificate is all we really need.
In other words, despite the joke, Obama and Yeshua do not have in common secrecy surrounding their births. The birth of Jesus, His parentage, the place and other details – including his lineage and adoption by Joseph – are among the most well-documented stories in history, even though it took place 2,000 years ago.
On the other hand, Obama’s birth less than 50 years ago remains shrouded in mystery.
I guess we’ll have to search for some other common denominator between God and Obama.