If there’s anything in the Bible that’s difficult to read it’s those passages on the “begatitudes.” Most people ask why it’s even included but a tribe of Binumariens from Papua New Guinea remind us how important it is.
Des and Jenny Oatridge were a young couple with a baby daughter and working for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Around 1960 the family arrived in Papua New Guinea and went to live in a village among people of the Binumarien tribe. It was a small tribe shrinking in numbers and who spoke an unwritten language.
After several years Des was able to produce a copy of the New Testament in the Binumarien language. However, he skipped the genealogy at the beginning of Matthew and planned to revisit it at a later time, thinking that he wasn’t leaving out anything important.
He sent off the manuscript for printing and had copies delivered to the village by truck. Unfortunately, the primitive people were more interested in the vehicles than in the New Testament. After almost ten years of laboring to get this far the disappointment was devastating. Nevertheless, Des produces an updated edition with the genealogy included.
When the chief saw the updated edition, with the genealogy included, he asked Des to come to a village meeting and to read the added passages. In a crowded, tense room full of people hanging on his every word, he reads the opening verses of Matthew. When he finished everyone sat in stunned silence.
Then someone asked, “Why didn’t you tell us this before?” For the Binumarien people, no one recorded the ancestors of spirit beings. That was something that only real people did. The people came to the realization that this Jesus the missionaries spoke of was a real person. All along they thought it was just a legend, just white man’s magic.
Just when you think that something as tedious as a genealogical is not that important God shows us that every verse of His word is placed there for good reason. Who would’ve thought that the genealogy is evidence that Jesus was real and that He came to establish His kingdom? Stories like this help us to recapture the wonder of what God is doing as His redemptive plan unfolds.