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A MESSY FAMILY TREE (Advent – Day 17)

Text: "This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…” (Matthew 1).

As we open up to the Gospel of Matthew, we are faced in the opening verses, with the list of names above (and heaps more…) How many of us really bother reading that list?

Now, in this list of Fathers, Matthew does something a little different – he also inserts the names of certain Mothers, and those he chooses to insert, are the likes of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Uriah’s wife.

This family tree was as far from perfect as you could get. Why do we say that? Well, in a nutshell:

  • Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law (Genesis 38): she deceives Judah into thinking that she is a prostitute and conceives his twin boys.

  • Rahab, who we read of in Joshua 2, was a practicing prostitute.

  • Ruth (read about in the book of Ruth) – was a wonderful daughter-in-law, but she was a Moabite; so she was despised and a cultural outcast.

  • The “wife of Uriah” was of course Bathsheba. David committed adultery with her (and had her husband murdered so he could have her as His own wife (2 Samuel 11).

Now I’m sure you will agree, that this line-up of ancestors – certainly made a messy family tree. A line up of “mess-ups” some would say; a family of failures, and blatant sinners, others would describe them.

Surely God could have chosen a more dignified lineage through which His son could be born. But no friends, it was this unlikely group that Jesus embraced as His earthly family line. Why? Well, I’m sure there are any reasons that we will never know this side of heaven. But I wonder, could it be that this is what Christmas is all about? Could this be an in-our-face reminder of why Christ came at Christmas?

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

Irrespective of our backgrounds, our past mistakes – his grace is greater than our sin.

His mercy and forgiveness embraces us in our weaknesses, and whoever comes to Him, He “will not reject” (Matthew 6:37).


Lord, you identify with the common

The outcast and poor form part of your tree;

I praise you for including the rejected,

I adore you for including me

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