If you were able to design 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. God, however, in building the family tree for Jesus Christ, chose many different kinds of people. Let’s take a look at a few of the ordinary men and women God chose to be a part of Jesus’ lineage:
Abraham: Abraham was a man of great faith but he was also a man who twice lied about his wife, telling complete strangers that she was his sister so they wouldn’t kill him. Therefore, his “sister” was forced to spend the night with a strange man just so Abraham wouldn’t be harmed because of the beauty of his wife. Yet, this liar was in Jesus’ family tree.
Jacob: Jacob was a deceiver and a liar who schemed his brother out of his inheritance.
Tamar: Tamar was a Caananite whose husbands lives’ were snuffed out by God because of their repeated wickedness. Depressed because her husbands kept dying she posed as a prostitute and had relations with her father-in-law, Judah, so that she could finally have children. Guess what? Her plan worked. She became pregnant with twins and she named the children Perez and Zerah and all three are included in the genealogy.
Rahab: Rahab was a prostitute who lived in the city of Jericho’s outside wall so that after men visited her they could escape out of the window and no one would know. God used this woman to hide his people who were spying out the land that he would give them. For her protection they offered her safety from the impending invasion that God’s people were planning on the city of Jericho. Not only did God save Rahab but she became another name in the genealogy of Jesus. Rahab became the great-great-grandmother of King David.
Ruth: Ruth was a widow whose husband had died. Even though she was free to remarry she decided to stay with her mother-in-law and glean the fields, which is what poor people did. While gleaning, Ruth met Boaz, who was Rahab’s son. Boaz was obligated to marry Ruth because he was her next of kin, her kinsman redeemer, so he rescued Ruth and Naomi from the literal poorhouse. Together they had a son named Obed who was King David’s grandfather.
God’s great plan for Jesus to come to the earth used ordinary men and women, sinners just like you and me, to show that Jesus is for all sorts of people.
God also used privileged people to accomplish his work of sending Jesus to the earth. Matthew 1:6-11 describe these people. Look at the people in this next list who were people of power and privilege that God used to accomplish his will of sending Jesus to the world:
King David: David was the king of an entire nation. God chose David to lead his nation to political greatness and build his nation on a solid foundation. David was a warrior king who at a young age slayed the giant Philistine, Goliath, with a rock and slingshot.
God then used David to take over the empire of King Saul. In fact, the Bible even says that David was a man who was after God’s own heart. But, David was also a sinful man. He was a man who had too much time on his hands. He was out walking along his patio one day when he saw a beautiful woman bathing on the roof. Her name was Bathsheba. She was married. And her husband was on the front lines of the war – fighting for David and God’s kingdom. But David was at home admiring Uriah’s wife. The Bible says they ‘came together’ and Bathsheba became pregnant. David then had her husband killed. When Jonathan confronted David over his sin, he wept bitterly and repented. The son that was born to Bathsheba eventually died at an early age. But later they had another son together and his name was Solomon. And from Solomon’s line came Jesus. Jesus worked through the lives of imperfect sinners but powerful and privileged people to bring about His will for the world.
King Solomon – God used King Solomon as well. Solomon built upon the solid foundation that his father had laid and expanded the kingdom to world dominance and power. Solomon was the smartest and richest man in the world. He was like Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Albert Einstein mixed together with the president of the United States. He had it all. But he had a love for women as well that completely corrupted him. He married women who did not love God and they ultimately destroyed him. King Solomon’s son was Rehoboam and he took over the kingdom.
Rehoboam: Shortly after Rehoboam became king the kingdom started to split up. His descendants were mostly evil and turned from God. But yet God still accomplished His will of sending Jesus to the earth through this family line of evil kings. Eventually these evil kings became outcasts and exiles and became ruled by other nations.
God uses ordinary people to do His work. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus can identify with your inadequacies, yet He is still sinless.
Next week we’ll look at the list of outcasts through whom God used to build up the family tree of Jesus.