Why is Jesus’ family such a mess?

Freshwater Staff   -  

Our “Curious Christmas” series will explore aspects of the Christmas story and ask, “Why did it happen that way?”

As 2 Timothy tells us, all Scripture is God-breathed, which means the details we find throughout the Bible are all there for a reason. So as we study the Christmas account over the next four weeks, culminating on Christmas Eve, we desire to cultivate curiosity about a story many of us are familiar with, a curiosity that will take us deeper into the meaning of Christmas.

Clint Adams began the series with a look at the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew 1, where we find a host of heroes and zeroes along with plenty of God’s faithfulness and grace. Typically, we might be tempted to breeze through or even skip right past the genealogies in the Bible, but as Clint points out, Jesus’ family lineage says a great deal about God and his redemptive plan.

The first thing to note is, while we may not care much about them, genealogies were a big deal for the Jewish people Matthew was writing to in his gospel account. He crafted his gospel to this audience because he wanted to show that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament covenants and promises of a Messiah.

So our passage opens with an intro that would have gotten the attention of Matthew’s audience: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

Immediately, we know two things:

  1. Jesus is a Son of Abraham, meaning he’s from the nation of Israel
  2. And he’s a Son of David, which means he’s from the royal line of the Messiah

From there, Matthew walks through Jesus’ line, a host of names that includes some familiar heroes:

  • Abraham – the father of faith
  • Boaz – the faithful redeemer of his family line
  • David – a man after God’s own heart
  • Solomon – the king who asked God for a discerning heart instead of riches

And yet, even these heroes had their struggles – self-will, pride, complacency, lust. They were not only imperfect rulers, but also imperfect men.

There were some unsavory characters too:

  • Rehoboam – divided the country through pride and foolish counsel
  • Jehoram – introduced worship of foreign gods before dying in agony “to no one’s regret”
  • Jehoshophat – a good king who made evil alliances

Interestingly, Matthew’s genealogy also included women, which was unusual for the time.

  • Tamar – a daughter-in-law of Judah who was impregnated by Judah when she was disguised as a prostitute because Judah refused to give his surviving son to her in marriage
  • Rahab – a Canaanite prostitute who survived the fall of Jericho and lived out her days in Israel
  • Ruth – of Gentile descent, so an outsider, who was redeemed by Boaz
  • Bathsheba – a marriage with David that was formed in adultery and the murder of a righteous warrior
  • Mary – a young maiden who accepted God’s impossible purpose for her life

So…why? If we can trust that these particular names were intentionally included in this genealogy, why are they here?

Jesus’ genealogy shows that God redeems broken situations. Jesus’ family history was a part of his humanity, but not even the most deplorable people in this list could prevent God from keeping his covenants and promises. And if the kingly line of David didn’t do enough to nullify the promises of God and overcome his goodness, then neither have you.

Is there a part of your past or a piece of your family history that is unsavory, maybe even unspeakably damaging? It’s not un-redeemable! The reality of Christmas means that the most unsavory and painful events in your life and the unspeakable parts of your family history can be redeemed in Christ.

Watch the Message
Worship Songs from December 3
  • “Joy to the World”
  • “O Come All Ye Faithful”
  • “Graves Into Gardens”
  • “Exalted Over All”