“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:….”
“Who are your people?” It’s a question that involves your family tree: “Well, I come from Cubies and Hobbs’s…” Now, if you haven’t already, consider the unexpected people named in Jesus’ family tree (Matthew 1:1-17): Rahab – a prostitute and spy; Tamar – reduced to prostitution; Ruth – a product of incest, and a Gentile from Moab (Moabites were specifically excluded from God’s Covenant with Israel); the wife of Uriah – Bathsheba – the woman David took advantage of, and whose husband he killed. All four of Jesus’ grandmothers and great grandmothers – Gentiles, not Jews; all of them, not people you would hold up to your daughters to imitate. Where are Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah?
What about the kings in Jesus’ family tree? David and Solomon, while chosen by God, had significant moral gaps (and that’s putting it kindly). The other kings mentioned in the genealogy? All of them disobeyed God, broke the covenant, and brought judgment on themselves and their people. And then there’s Perez and Salmon – nobody knows who they were….
If you were going to choose a genealogy for yourself, this is not the one you would write, especially if you were trying to show that you came from righteous stock. But by beginning with this questionable genealogy, God shows us that he makes a grace-filled beginning in his Family Tree, which can be our Family Tree – the Church.
In the next, few days, look at your family tree, and look at it in the light of God’s Law. I think most of us would find that it’s a mixed bag. But that is us, too, isn’t it? We don’t just have sinners and saints in our family tree – we have both in our hearts.
Here, at the beginning of our journey in Matthew’s Gospel, we see that Jesus’ family is chosen by grace – they were not a righteous bunch. The beginning and the end of all God’s ways are grace and mercy. That is the very best news to take with us, into the New Year.
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I pastor Mattituck Presbyterian Church, on the North Fork of Long Island. You can visit our website, HERE, and if you would like to view our worship services and my messages, you can join us on Facebook at 9:00am (Contemporary) and 11:15am (Traditional Worship Service): FACEBOOK, or you can watch recent messages on YOUTUBE.
One thought on ““Salt and Light”: Matthew 1 | “Those Are Your People?!””
What’s that expression….Every family has one. It is so true!
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