while sitting in church a couple weeks ago i heard something i've never heard before. this is always a fun moment for a preacher since we think we've either heard everything or said it ourselves. tim keller seems to keep saying things i've never heard before and that's great refreshing fun.
so two weeks ago he was using the "begat" passage of matthew 1 with all the names of the generations leading up to jesus. the list ends with a breakdown of the numbers of generations. matthew says there were 14 generations from abraham to king david, 14 generations from david to the babylonian exile, and 14 generations from the exile to christ. the next verse then describes the birth of jesus. there's nothing new there, is there? tim asked the question, "what is this 14, 14, 14 about?" frankly, i didn't have a clue. just seemed like information of a historical nature. but no! i should have remembered all that special theological training i received at fuller seminary and recalled that matthew never just throws in extraneous information just to be informative! no no...he is a theological writer! there is something deeper behind this 14, 14, 14.
three 14's is also six 7's. this makes jesus the 7th seven. along with the divine number, matthew is wanting to remind us of the creation story and the six days of work. the seventh day was a day of rest. jesus, as the 7th seven, is the very rest we all crave in this world. his coming into the world when he did (giving even more weight to the "at just the right time" concept) was to herald "rest" as something, or rather someone, that we could have a relationship with.
new york amplifies the need, it seems, for rest. but i know it's not just this place. we all crave a kind of peace that seems elusive even when we do have the right job, or the right relationship, or the right living situation (the universal trifecta). augustine said that our souls are restless until we find our rest in jesus. and if we're honest, we know we have a restlessness that is rarely, if ever, satisfied. so while you're enjoying gift giving and gift receiving today (and then returning them tomorrow :) and getting tired with it all), remember the "rest" that was born in a manger those many moons ago. the 7th seven has come. this is a rest i can relate to.