Let’s continue our look at the genealogy of Jesus. You can read the two accounts by clicking on the links, Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. Why is this important enough to include in the Bible not once but twice? We talked about one reason in Part 1. That being that showing the list of Jesus’ ancestors would have called to mind various promises that were made by God to Jesus’s descendants about Jesus. In other words, it reminds people of prophesies concerning the Messiah that would have been fulfilled through Jesus via lineage. But I think there is at least one other reason that these genealogies are included.
Jesus’ family tree is full of prostitutes, wicked kings, pagan worshippers, harsh leaders, prideful people, liars, cheaters, adulterers… The list goes on! Jesus, the perfect Son of God comes from an imperfect, dysfunctional family. Who can’t relate to that?!? I wanted to take a peak at some of these people who preceded Jesus and show how God can work through ordinary people to bring about the extraordinary.
Adam – a sinner
We all know the story about how Adam had everything going for him- he talked and walked with God, himself, for goodness sake and in an instant he blew it for the rest of humanity. Nice going, hot shot. Genesis 3
Noah – drank a little too much wine
We don’t know if this was a regular thing he did but at least on one occasion Noah got so drunk he passed out… naked. Genesis 9:20-27
Abraham – a liar
Abraham (then called Abram), the great patriarch, was a liar. When he and his wife Sarah (then called Sarai) when to Egypt, he told people that Sarai was his sister. Sarai was very beautiful and Abram was afraid that once Pharaoh saw her, he would kill Abram and take Sarai as his own wife. So not only did he lie about Sarai being his wife, but he was willing to allow her to commit adultery to save his own skin. Nice. Genesis 12:10-20
Jacob – a liar and a cheater
Jacob had a twin, but slightly older brother named Esau. Being older, Esau was the one who was supposed to inherit his father’s blessing and property. Jacob pretended to be his brother, Esau, and asked for his father’s blessing and inheritance. Jacob did receive his father’s blessing and this is why we follow Jesus’ lineage through the younger brother and not the older, as expected. Liar, liar, pants on fire! Genesis 27
Judah and Tamar – a dishonorable man and his vengeful daughter-in-law
Tamar was married to Er (Tamar is the female here). Er was a bad dude so God killed him. As was law back then, Tamar’s father-in-law gave her to his other son, Onan. He, too did things to dishonor God so God killed him too. Judah, thinking that Tamar was very bad luck, didn’t want to give her to anymore of his sons. This was very disgraceful for Tamar so she pretended to be a prostitute and slept with Judah as revenge. If that’s not a Jerry Springer show, I don’t know what is! Genesis 38
David – a murderer and an adulterer
King David saw a beautiful woman bathing one night. Even though she was married, he had her brought to the palace and he, um, had relations with her. She became pregnant and instead of admitting what he did and making restitution or even being sorry, he had her husband killed. A double whammy!! 2 Samuel 11
Are you starting to see a theme here yet?
Rehoboam – a fool
King Rehoboam succeeded Solomon on the throne. A guy named Jeroboam on behalf of all Israel went to King Rehoboam and asked him to lighten the load that his father had placed on the people and in return they would faithfully serve him. King Rehoboam asked his royal advisors what to do. They said Rehoboam should give the people what they want. Then King Rehoboam followed the advice of his childhood friends instead and ended up taxing and working the people so hard that the 10 northern tribes of Israel revolted and split the kingdom in two. Now there’s a winner. 1 Kings 12
Ahaz – a wicked king and murderer
Ahaz followed the pagan religions and set up alters to other gods and goddesses, even sacrificing his own son. Father of the year right here. 2 Kings 16
These are just some of the more notable and shady characters of Jesus’ family tree. It just goes to show that God can use even those who try to deny him (Ahaz, for example) to bring about his purpose and will to fruition.
I don’t know about you but sometimes I think that I am just too ordinary or even too messed up to be used by God. And yet look at the lineage of Christ, himself! God uses dysfunction and sin to bring about the Messiah, our Savior! What is God trying to do through you today? How will he use your disfunction to bring about his will? How will God use your hurts today? Will you offer them to God? Will you willingly give them to God to use as he desires?
Jesus, thank you for using us as we are- broken, imperfect people- in your perfect plan. Thank you for not letting our mistakes and sin stop your will. Thank you that despite our feeble attempts to do our own thing and not yours, that you still prevail. Thank you for the Bible and it’s truth; show us how to apply it to our lives so that we can be more like you.