God's family tree is messed up, find out why is the topic that will be discussed today on RIOT Podcast, a Christian Discipleship Podcast.
In the next 3 weeks leading up to Christmas, we are going to unpack Matthew 1 and Matthew 2. We will focus on the birth of Jesus and His proclamation to be king. Imagine you were alive during that time, and a man suddenly appeared and claimed to be a king, which you, the public, would want proof of. You might ask yourself, "What is his background? Who pays homage to him? What credentials can he present to prove that he is a King?
Anticipating these important questions, Matthew opened his book with a careful account of the birth of Jesus and the events that accompanied it. He presented 4 facts about the King and over the next three weeks, we will unpack all 4 of those facts.
The first one we will cover today is in chapter 1 verses 1-25 - The Heredity of the King. Since royalty depends on heredity, it was important for Jesus to establish His rights to David’s throne. Matthew gave His human heredity in verses 1-17, as well as His divine heredity in verses 18-25.
Let’s read Matthew 1-17
Genealogies were very important to the Jews, for, without them, they could not prove their tribal membership or their rights to their inheritances. Anyone claiming to be the son of David had to be able to prove it.
Many bible readers usually skip over this section of reading, especially all the unpronounceable names. But this list of names is a VITAL PART of the gospel record. It shows that Jesus is a part of history and that all of the Jewish histories prepared the way for his birth.
The genealogy also illustrates God's wonderful grace. It is most unusual to find the names of women in Jewish genealogies since names and inheritances came through the fathers. But in this list, we find 4 women from the Old Testament history: Tamar, Rahab and Ruth, and Bathsheba.
Without Jesus’ birth as a gentile, we have no right to heaven or eternal life. We are all flawed sinners, in desperate need of God’s grace. These four women were all involved in sexual scandals and far from perfect, but God still chose to include them in His family tree.
Let’s break down who these four women were. Let’s start with Tamar. We find the story of Tamar in Gen 38. We learn that her first husband was so evil that God put him to death. She has left a widow and childless. Tamar followed her cultural practices and married her husband’s brother. But this brother didn’t want to share his inheritance with children born to her. So, God put him to death, so she was left widowed and childless again. Tamar then dressed as a temple prostitute and put herself in the path of her father-in-law, Judah. So, she seduced him to have sex with her and produce an heir. She needed evidence, so she asked him for a seal and his staff so that she wouldn’t be killed and have proof of what happened. Her plan worked and she gave birth to twins fathered by her father-in-law. And one of her twins’ names was Peres, and they became part of Jesus’ Family.
Then there was Rahab, we find her story in Joshua 2 and 6. She ran a brothel in Jericho, and she heard about God’s army advancing toward her town. She knew that they would win and helped the Israelites spy on her people, and in so doing, she became a part of the Israelite family. She and her family were the only ones saved from the destruction of Jericho. This former madam became a mother and grandmother and still found a way into Jesus’ lineage.
Next Ruth, we find her story in Ruth 1-4, she was a Moabite, which means she traced her ancestry, not to Abraham but to his nephew Lot. Lot was the guy that impregnated his daughters while drunk. The family itself was an incestuous family and the culture Ruth came from. Her husband died and left her childless so she moved to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, Naomi. There she met a Godly man named Boaz and He redeemed her and married her and gave her a child. Thus Ruth, a foreigner brought into the family, became a great-grandmother to David, whose greater son was Jesus.
Last but not least, is Bathsheba the wife of Uriah. We find her story in 2 Samuel 11-12. We all know her story, David had an affair with her and then killed her husband to cover up the affair. But God restored her and gave her and David a son, Solomon, the wisest king ever to live. He found his way into Jesus’ genealogy.
Jesus came from a long line of outsiders, outlaws, scoundrels, and sinners. When he entered into the world, he entered into the messiness of the human family, even in his own family. He was the only one in his family that did not bring shame to his family. Instead, he took upon himself the shame of every person in the family tree.
Many Jewish men could have traced their family back to King David. Matthew knew it would take more than human pedigree to make Jesus the son of David and heir to David’s Throne. That is why next week we will unpack the divine heredity and show why it is so important to the authenticity of Jesus’ claim to be King.