This past weekend, my younger sister came down from the Dallas area to visit. We spent time, as we always do, reviewing fun, funny and sometimes frightening stories of our childhood. We rehashed the shenanigans that still make us laugh and our shared memories of indulgent grandparents, crazy uncles, dare-devil cousins and our own “perfect” children.
One sister is working on trying to uncover a sort of medical mystery from the past. I’m thinking about having my DNA checked to see what ancestral soup (besides the Irish, English and Austria-Hungarian we know about) might be lurking in our genetic code.
Ah, family. We don’t get to choose our heritage or our bloodline. And when we marry, although we have the option to do the research, I find we are much more likely to be concerned with the character and health of our mate than his/her great grandfather.
Matthew 1:1-16 traces the heritage of Jesus from Adam to Joseph. It is assumed to be the genealogy of Joseph, while Luke 3 is mostly thought to be the genealogy of Mary.
God, who knows all and has always existed, knew every intimate detail of every person in the family line of Joseph. The cast of characters in the ancestry of Jesus Christ our Messiah, outlined in Matthew 1 is interesting and a bit surprising to me – especially the few women mentioned.
God chose Mary to bear His only begotten Son. But He also chose Joseph to be His earthly father – knowing the sort of checkered lives of many in Joseph’s family tree.
Matthew 1:3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar…
Tamar – She played a harlot to get pregnant by her father-in-law.
Matthew 1:5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse,
Rahab – The harlot. Ruth – The foreigner.
Matthew 1:6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,
Bathsheba – the wife of Uriah. She was Uriah’s wife when she committed adultery with David.
Matthew 1: 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
Mary, the pregnant virgin and willing handmade to God the Father.
Of the five women mentioned, four of them gave us reason enough to consider them to be that relative you don’t want to talk about in public. But they factor into this heritage of Jesus enough to get a mention. God didn’t have to inspire Matthew to mention them, but He did.
Bold, gutsy women. Willing to turn their worlds upside down for a chance at something. They didn’t all make the right decisions. They did some risky things.
Yet, God picked them “warts and all.” The Father openly admits to these women being in the history and lineage important to the birth of His Son. I have to ask, “why?” What kind of message does this send to us?
Hope. What did Rahab have besides hope before she hid the spies? I need to realize even in situations where I feel desperate and alone, God is crafting a way out. I need to keep a scarlet rope of hope hung out – for me and everyone else to see – while I wait on my savior to come. Also, I can learn that I must not be afraid to ask for what I need – to ask for help out of the situation I find myself in, whether my decisions put me there or not.
Boldness. I need to make wiser choices than she did, but I must have same courage of my convictions and be willing go “all in” as Tamar did. I can also learn that God can use even my most ill-advised decisions to His own ultimate glory.
Faith. Yes, there is a time to look both ways before you cross. But I also need to learn from Ruth to follow the path God is calling me to walk, even when I am stepping into the unknown. I must remember that He knows the plans He has for me, even when the way is unclear to me and the path is unfamiliar and the customs seem a bit odd. [Jer 29:11 ESV] 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.]
Redemption. Bathsheba suffered just as David did, and maybe more, knowing that her child died because of her sin of adultery with the king and culpability in the murder of Uriah. But, oh what sweet redemption in the person of Solomon, her second son. Solomon inherited the throne of David when there were plenty of other contenders. What mother wouldn’t be proud in that moment? God will redeem me too – even from my most humiliating mistakes. He already has.
Endurance. When Mary said, “yes” to the angel of the Lord. [Luke 1:38 (NKJV) 38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.] she probably was not considering the prophecies of what Jesus would endure. It is enough to break a mother’s heart. But she was there, at His feet, when He took His last breath. She endured to see Him, Her son, and her risen Savior. I need to consider that I might be able to endure more than I can imagine going through because God will be there with me.
In Matthew 1, we find bloodline tainted with sinners and yet rich with redemption, hope, boldness and endurance – and the love of God. So, most importantly, I know that a sinner like me is welcomed into the family of God, adopted. Roman 8:15 [ESV] …you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"
Praise God, He welcomes us into His family!
I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.