This is a about two families—
two real life families.
And both of these families trace their lineage
back to two men and two women
who lived in colonial America.
The first family is the Jukes family.
The name isn’t that important,
because the Mr. Jukes of colonial times was
constantly coming up with new names so
he could stay a step ahead of the law
who was always after him.
Mr. Jukes was, according to his neighbors,
a no-account man.”
The little bit of money that Jukes
managed to scrape together was mostly
gained by his mediocre skills as a petty thief.
Mr. Jukes was never really clever
enough to outwit the local sheriff.
So, he was constantly in and out of jail.
the wife and mother of the clan—
wasn’t much better.
She spent much of her time in a drunken stupor.
At some point in the twentieth century,
some sociologists wanted to do a study—
they wanted to trace what happened to
the descendants of the nefarious Mr. and Mrs. Jukes.
And the sociologists were able to
uncover over 1200 descendants of
the Jukes family tree.
What do you think they found?
Well, here’s what they found.
Some 300 of Jukes’ descendants
were professional beggars.
More than a hundred were convicted criminals.
Sixty were thieves and pickpockets
At least four hundred of them
were drunkards and or drug addicts.
Another seven were convicted murderers—
and several more were
suspects in murder cases.
More than fifty of Jukes’ descendants
spent time in a mental institution.
Of the twelve hundred descendants
discovered by the sociologists,
only twenty ever learned a trade. . . .
And half of those who did
learned their trade in prison.
Less than 200 of Jukes’ descendants
finished high school,
and none attended college.
The Jukes’ family record was one of
pauperism and prison—
irresponsibility and insanity—
prostitution and panhandling,
drunkenness and drug abuse.
What a family!!!
Well, here’s another family that sociologists studied.
The patriarch of this family also lived in colonial times—
He was a contemporary of Mr. Jukes.
But this colonial was not a crook.
He was a preacher—
as were his father and grandfather.
Some scholars say that this man was one
of the greatest theologians and
philosophers ever produced by America.
His dynamic preaching sparked a
great spiritual awakening that
helped give birth to the
He was the third President of Princeton.
His name was the Reverend Jonathan Edwards.
Now guess what fruit fell from Edward’s family tree.
The sociologists found a total of four hundred
descendants of Jonathan Edwards and
his wife, Sarah.
And listen to this:
among them was a US Vice-President—
there were three US Senators—
there were three governors—
thirteen college and university presidents—
and thirty judges.
Around 65 of Edwards’s descendants were college professors.
Another hundred were either ministers,
or seminary professors.
Eighty were public office holders.
In the Edwards family tree,
there were one hundred lawyers and
sixty medical doctors.
Several descendants wrote books—
or published newspapers—
or were editors of journals.
Many major industries in America
had as its founder or promoter,
an offspring of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards.
What a family!?!?!?!
But quite the contrast!?!?!?!
The author of the article where I
found these contrasting family studies
wanted to make a point!!!
While admitting that most families are a mixed bag—
a mixed bag of successes and failures.
Don’t we all have our Uncle So and So
who we try to avoid at a family reunion—
or conveniently forget to
invite to family functions.
And we all have someone in our families who
we love to bring up in casual conversation.
The author points out that
few of our families are as bad as the Jukes family—
and few of our families are illustrious
as the Edwards family.
But the point the author wanted to make
by comparing these two families is,
and I quote:
“The contrast cannot be missed,
nor the lesson dismissed.
Parents have a profound impact on
the world for generations to come.
Nothing is more important than the
responsibilities and possibilities of parenthood.”
Well, there’s no doubt some great truth to that.
But we’re interesting creatures aren’t we.
There are many factors that determine who
we and our relatives become.
And even though people may be
successful in their careers and professions—
many are still plagued with many of
the problems that haunt of the human condition:
and doubts and insecurities.
You name it.
It’s been my experience
that even those who look like they’ve
got it all figured out on the outside—
well they’ve got their issues too.
We are a mixed bag—
A mixed bag both as individual and as families.
Which brings us to the Holy Family.
We also know some of
the descendants of the Holy Family—
there’s a list in both the
Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
And the descendants of Jesus
are neither like the Jukes family—
nor like the Edwards family.
They are a mixed bag—
with both some big, big saints and some big, big sinners—
even a murderer—
just like the Jukes family.
And I’m sure,
in one way or another,
whether saint or sinner—
they all struggled in their own ways
with the human condition.
So what’s the point of all of this:
We aren’t saved by our family name.
And we aren’t saved by our
own individual efforts or accomplishments.
Neither we nor our families have that capability.
If we are saved at all—
we’re saved by a Savior named Jesus Christ—
who rose from the dead.
He’s the Son of Mary—
He’s the Foster-Son of Joseph.
And we honor them today on
this feast of the Holy Family.
And they ought to be honored.
While Mary and Joseph
could not have completely understood the
fullness of their Son’s mission—
they were people of God—
and they were people of faith—
and they were obedient to the ways of God.
even when they didn’t understand.
Like when the twelve-year old Jesus
was missing from the caravan back to Nazareth.
Instead, he was sitting at the feet of the
Jewish masters in the Temple—
in His Father’s House—
totally absorbed in the business of God the Father.
How strange for a twelve-year-old boy
Mary and Joseph must have thought—
but they were people of God—
and obedient to the ways of God.
So, they supported their Son in His mission—
His mission to save us.
And we can all be thankful for that—
And we can all honor them greatly for that—
they deserve that.
They deserve that from the Jukes family—
They deserve that from the Edwards family—
And from the Roberts family—
And from your family.
People of God—
And obedient to the ways of God.
Supporting God’s mission through God’s Son.
People of God—
obedient to the ways of God—
supporting God’s mission through His Son.
And as we honor them—
may they serve as an example for all of our families!!!
Holy Spirit 12/29-30/2018