In my morning “focused time with God” I just started reading through the gospel of Matthew. It would be easy to skim the first 16 verses or even skip them altogether because they contain the genealogy of Jesus. Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram . . . 16 verses of that.
And if you read the King James translation of that passage, every other word is “begat.” Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob. Begat, begat, begat. Blah, blah, blah . . . right? That’s exactly what I used to think, but then I did some study and those “boring” verses began to jump off the page. Let me explain.
If I was in God’s shoes and was going to take on flesh and bones and be born into this world, I would have orchestrated it so my bloodline would have consisted of the “right” people, great people in history. My family tree would include Francis of Assisi, William Wilberforce, Mother Teresa, and Billy Graham.
But that’s not the way God did it.
Instead, Jesus’ bloodline is the opposite extreme.
Matthew 1:3 says: Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Remember that story in Genesis 38? Tamar disguises herself as a temple prostitute. Judah (her own father-in-law!) pays for her services and two children are conceived as a result. And these two children – the fruit of this affair – are in Jesus’ bloodline.
Then there’s Matthew 1:5: Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Yes, that Rahab. The prostitute. (see Joshua 2). One of Jesus’ great great great great grandmas was a lady of the night.
And finally in Matthew 1:6 it says: David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife. Uriah’s wife is codename for Bathsheba, the woman David lusted after so much he had her husband killed so he could have her to himself. (see 2 Sam. 11). Fruit from that relationship is part of Jesus’ bloodline.
These are three of the women listed in the genealogy of Jesus. By the way, including women at all in an ancient genealogy was unheard of. It was a patriarchal society so only men would typically be listed. Matthew bucks that trend by including women.
But it’s even crazier than that. If I was Matthew, I would have included the “right” women who were part Jesus’ bloodline, women like Sarah and Rebekah. But that’s not what he did. Instead the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to include Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba. By including these names in Jesus’ genealogy, I think that tells us something about what God can do with our past.
Romans 8:28 says And we know that God causes all things to work together for good . . . (Romans 8:28 – NASB). This verse does not say God causes all things. It says God causes all things to work together for good. So that tragedy you experienced, that regret you have, that painful event from your past . . . God didn’t cause it. But God can redeem it. God can bring good out of it.
If you don’t believe me, read the genealogy of Jesus. His family tree is pretty messed up. It contains prostitution and extra-marital affairs. God didn’t cause those things. But He redeemed them. He brought good out of them . . . the greatest good . . . the Savior of the world.
***Note: Join us on Sunday October 17th at 6:00pm. This will be the first-ever “preview service” of The Eastside Vineyard Church. We’ll have a time of worship, an in-depth Bible message, communion, and an opportunity to receive 1-on-1 prayer. I’ll be preaching and can’t wait! It will be held at Heritage Church in Sterling Heights. (Heritage Church is located at 44625 Schoenherr Rd, 1 block south of M-59 — across the street from Lakeside Mall. If you’re an ‘eastsider’ it’s where the old AMC theatre used to be.)***