Read: Matthew 1:1-17
Reflect: My father was a salesman for Agway and I could have sworn that he knew most of the population of Lancaster County and a good part of both Maryland & Delaware. He definitely remembered who was related to who and their family backgrounds. In his later years he would name someone in a conversation and then was amazed that I didn’t recognize that person and who they were related to. My dad’s language was genealogies; family trees. And this is the theme of Matthew chapter one. The lineage of Jesus regarding his legal earthly father’s side of the family. There are certainly some “black sheep” (or ewes) in that crowd!
Before we talk about the genealogy in question, maybe we should talk about the emphasis of this account: God’s grace. The genealogy of Jesus testifies of royal GRACE (and that should be stay underlined and in caps). Gotquestions.org defines God’s grace as “God’s favor toward the unworthy. In His grace, God is willing to forgive us and bless us abundantly, in spite of the fact that we don’t deserve to be treated so well or dealt with so generously.” The individuals mentioned in Matthew chapter one were treated generously by God over and over again as they were mightily forgiven and graciously used in God’s plan.
I find it particularly fascinating that in this listing of flawed characters are women who had gone through the school of hard knocks, women with a past. These are the ladies polite society might want to avoid. There is Tamar, a Canaanite, who sold herself as a prostitute to her father-in-law Judah to bring forth Perez and Zerah (can you imagine the dynamics of that family reunion?). Rahab, also a Gentile, who was even further down the social scale than Tamar as Rahab was a professional prostitute. Of all the people in Jericho, God took extraordinary measures to save Rahab from both judgment and her lifestyle. · Then there is Ruth, a Gentile from the country of Moab (the Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incestuous relationships with his daughters). Ruth was a penniless widow who decided to throw away all hopes of a secure future in order to follow the God of her mother-in-law Naomi. Then there is the woman who is not even mentioned by actual name, the one “who had been the wife of Uriah”. That was Bathsheba, an adulteress, infamous for her sin with David. God loved these women incredibly and extended to them GRACE.
In these current days of talk about peoples’ rights, it is interesting that these four women are named among the star hitters in the genealogy of Jesus. Historically, in both the pagan and the Jewish culture of that day, men often had little regard for women. In that era, many Jewish men prayed every morning thanking God that they were not Gentiles, slaves or women. Yet God in His GRACE used the ones with the most holes in their personal resumes to glorify Him and to be mentioned by name for all eternity.
Apply: Spurgeon writes, “Jesus was legally an heir of a line in which flows the blood of the harlot Rahab, and of the rustic Ruth; he is akin to the fallen and to the lowly, and he will show his love even to the poorest and most obscure.” Are you the “poorest and most obscure”? Take heart that if you are a Jesus follower, He has elevated you to the heavenlies. After all, if you are a Jesus follower, your momma is named “GRACE”.
I grew up having an Advent Calendar. It was a handmade wall hanging with a green gingham Christmas tree...