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a greater redemption...

Jehoiachin. Can't spell it, let alone pronounce it...but it was a name that signaled a greater redemption was coming...Jesus.

The devastation that God's people had faced in the Old Testament, the harsh but necessary discipline, the judgements, the wrath that rained down constantly, the exile from their land - yet God's gracious concern for His people never wavered. A paradox? Undoubtedly yes. But when you really look at it, His, at times, unrelenting fierceness of hand, was leading His people to His Son and a redemption that was unparalleled to anything an earthly king could offer, anything a piece of life sustaining bread could give, anything this world could create.

At the age of 18, Jehoiachin was sent to prison, under Nebachudenzzar's rule. He spent 37 long years there, in what was no doubt, bleak conditions. And then, released - pardoned to be exact, by the new king of Babylon. And not only pardoned, treated as royalty for the rest of his life. He was never again to feel without, to feel desperate, to feel abandoned, to feel pain and sorrow. He was free.

It conjures up so many emotions - really in all of us if we just stop and feel the weight of his pardon. I think of all the moments in my life when I didn't think I could take one more breath because of the deep pain that enveloped my soul, or the moments when I too had been abandoned and felt I had no home and the suffering and grief never seemed it would stop. I wanted to be released...

As one of the last Judean kings, Jehoiachin, is granted the last few verses in the book of Jeremiah. Why, after such a long, somewhat depressing book, would Jehoiachin's narrative be the last few sentences? Why this hopeful story in the midst of hopelessness?

The answer is simply because God never left His people. You see, Jehoiachin is mentioned in Jesus' lineage in Matthew and that is no coincidence. These last few verses in Jeremiah poke holes in the darkness that is infiltrating God's people. Rays of light are creeping through becoming brighter and brighter...begging for the breakthrough - for the moment when the true Light of the World is revealed...

What is even more astounding is that Jehoiachin was cursed in Jeremiah 22 to never be "successful" and "none of his descendants will succeed in sitting on the throne of David", which in fact was the case. Yet, he is still mentioned in Jesus' lineage. Why? Because the lineage in Matthew is Jesus' legal father's lineage (Joseph). This matters, because although Jesus is in the line of David, and comes from Jehoiachin's descendants, His coming signals something more than just a king, more than just a kingdom on Earth. He does not have a "lineage" on Earth - His lineage is in Heaven. This was a complete shift in the way that He was thought of. He was no longer "just a king" from the lineage of David, He was indeed the long awaited Messiah of the world who flipped everything upside down. He was indeed hope in the midst of darkness.

When pain grips you, when suffering is insurmountable, when life seems like death, never forget that our Redeemer has come to give grace to all who will receive it and will come again to usher us into His presence, where we too will be treated as royalty forever. We will never again feel without, feel desperate, feel abandoned, feel pain and sorrow. We. Will. Be. Free.


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