Christmas

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

Matthew 1-7

The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah[b] 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,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

Reflection

Now be honest – did you actually read the passage this morning? Yep, thought not…
This is the genealogy of Jesus, his family tree. Family trees in the ancient near east were a lot like a CV, a good one would open doors for you, a bad one would not. When Matthew was writing his gospel about Jesus' life, he was writing primarily for a Jewish audience who would have very clear expectations about what the coming Messiah would be like.
So Matthew leads his readers all the way back to David from whose line the Messiah was expected to come (2 Samuel 7), but then even further to Abraham. Two of the Jewish big dogs!
This is a strong family tree.

Or at least it would be if it wasn’t for a number of other additions. As we all know, when we write CVs we tend to fabricate stuff or leave stuff out we don’t want future employers to see. We bend the truth to its limits.

Matthew doesn't do this.

Included in the Jesus CV are a number of less than savoury characters.

Verse 3 – Judah and Tamar. This is the sort of scandalous story best reserved for Netflix dramas. Judah had sex with Tamar, when he was Tamars Father-in-law… But don’t worry, he did it thinking she was a prostitute…

Scandal.

Verse 5 – Rahab. Firstly, let's not skip over the fact that including a woman in your family tree wouldn't have done you any favours in the first century, secondly, Rahab was a prostitute. Hardly high-society.

Prostitution.

Verse 5 – Ruth a Moabite. The mortal enemies of the Jews. The Messiah comes from an impure bloodline?

Idolatry.

Verse 6 – David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife. Why mention David sending Uriah to his death so he can have his wife Bathsheba? Could it not have just said 'David the father of Solomon'?

Adultery & Murder.

This is a troubled family free. What could Matthew be trying to communicate?
Jesus owns the twistedness of his family tree. It's messy, broken, full of hurt, shame and disgrace. But he owns it.

The Christmas message is one of God coming to earth as one us, he can say: 'the blood in my veins is that of idolaters, murderers, adulterers, prostitution and scandal. I have entered right into your pain, shame and disgrace. I really do know what it’s like!'

God puts on flesh to make right what is wrong, to heal the hurting, to reconcile that which is lost.

Pray today knowing that in Jesus, we pray to someone who can entirely empathise with us.

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