We are well into the holiday season and you know what that means for many of you: family reunions. Some great memories can be made out of family holiday experiences. When I was a child I experienced some colorful Christmas Eves with aunts and uncles and people who I didn’t know and would never see again. There are some people in your family that you are proud to exclaim to people that you are related to but there are others that you just shake your head about.
If you were going to design your family and your family tree for the express purpose of accomplishing a certain goal, what type of people would you look for? I imagine you’d look for mature, responsible, high-character people. You may think like this for instance: “I would like for my son to be like this and for him to marry a woman like this and they’d have children like this, etc…”
You would not say, “I’d like for my family tree to include a murderer, a prostitute, a liar, a weakling, a poor person, and a bunch of foreigners whose names I can’t pronounce.” No, you’d choose all the “good” people. But that’s not how God chose to bring Jesus into the world. Why not? Because Jesus is for all people.
God put together a much different family tree then we would have designed had we had the choice and used people that he would have never used as he knit together the colorful tapestry of Jesus’ lineage. In the passage we’re looking at this week and next week we’re going to see how God used all different types of people to accomplish his plan of sending Jesus to the earth.
One of the great things about Jesus’ lineage is that we can see that God accomplished his plan of salvation with ordinary people. If you take a look at Matthew, chapter 1 at first glance you see a list of names. But this is no ordinary list of names. It is filled with ordinary people but it’s also filled with people who you would not want to “claim” if they were in your family tree.
The genealogy at the beginning of the book of Matthew was written to prove to readers with a Jewish background that Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophecies that were required according to the Scriptures. When establishing that someone is a king, a genealogy is a must. So Matthew establishes that Jesus is not only a King but the King of all Kings.
So we see at the very first verse, Matthew states that Jesus is the son of David (thus proving he has royal blood) and that he is the son of Abraham (thus proving he is 100% Jewish). Both of these requirements were necessary to establish that Jesus was the Messiah.
It should be no surprise to us that God accomplished His will in this matter in His own way. Verse 1 tells us that Jesus was the Christ, the anointed one that the entire Old Testament pointed towards. Indeed, the whole of the Bible is about Jesus. It’s not a history book. It’s not a science book. It’s not a poetry book. It’s not a religious book. It’s a Jesus book. It’s a book about how God sent his son Jesus to the earth for you and me. And the story of Jesus starts with a genealogy – which is a list of His descendants. Interestingly enough, however, Matthew does not include every single generation in his genealogy. He starts with Abraham and moves all the way to Joseph and Mary but leaves out some people and includes others that, if they were in your family tree, you would leave out. Why? Because God wanted to show that Jesus came from a family with just as many skeletons in the closet as yours and mine.
Because of this, Jesus can relate to your family problems. He came for every type of person and in case you doubt that fact, know that He had every type of person imaginable in his family tree. It was God’s pleasure and His will to use all sorts of people to accomplish His ultimate will of bringing Jesus to the earth. You may also see that he names a few women in the list of names. There was no reason to name a woman in a genealogy. But God chose to to point out that Jesus also used women for his good purpose in creating the family tree of the Messiah. Next week we’ll take a closer look at the people in Jesus’ family tree: both the “good” ones and the “bad” ones and how God used them for His purpose.