Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar…….and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. Matthew 1:2-6 (excerpts)
Matthew is the first book of the New Testament and is written for a Jewish audience. He wants to convince them that this baby, Jesus, was the Messiah they had been waiting for. The God-ordained, God-breathed, and God-organized books of the New Testament opens with the human genealogy of Jesus.
Not unlike today, the Jewish people were proud of their culture and heritage, eager to point out those in the family line who make them feel like someone. The genealogy of Jesus is no different. Before getting into the messy family tree, Matthew name-drops David and Abraham. They were big deals! Abraham, the origin of the initial promise & father of Israel; and David, the greatest king of Israel.
But in God’s graciousness to us, this genealogy also includes some not so lovely stories. Women (not normally included in genealogies) and relatives that at one time in their lives might have been considered major skeletons to hide in the family closet; those whose colorful pasts we might like to forget, but never forgotten by God. Tamar, who tricked her father-in-law, Judah (the leader of one of the 12 Tribes of Israel), to get her pregnant. Rahab, the prostitute in Jericho. Ruth, the Moabite widow. And Bathsheba (“wife of Uriah”) who had an affair with King David.
Before the Redeemer is introduced to the world by Matthew, His family is remembered – the good, bad, and ugly. Not only did Jesus come down from perfection, squeeze all His holiness into human flesh, and enter sin-filled humanity…. He did so in the midst of a messy family tree. Because the truth is, without Jesus we are all messy. We all have blemishes in our past and in our present. But God – through the human birth of His Son into this family -- can redeem ALL things in beautiful and glorious ways according to His perfect plans.
Questions: Why do you think these specific people were chosen to be called out and even remembered in the family tree of Jesus as recorded by Matthew and breathed out by God?