The tainted backstory of Christmas
“I looked into my family tree and found out I was a sap! Shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out!”– Words of encouragement from a genealogy website
If a writer today was trying to write the opening words for the world’s all-time best selling, most widely distributed book, I think they would try to come up with something a little snappier than the words the Holy Spirit gave to Matthew. The first seventeen verses of Matthew's Gospel are a genealogy – an historical record of Jesus’ family tree – basically, a long list of relatives. ZZZZZZ.
Not exactly a page-turner full of grabbing suspense – at least, not at first glance. But on second glance, this prelude to Jesus’ birth is pretty mind-blowing. For starters, Jesus’ genealogy includes Hisfemale ancestors. That was almost unheard of in the male-dominated ancient world. Beyond that, many of these women definitely belong in the Bible’s “Bad Girl” club.
- RAHAB, a prostitute who lied to her countrymen to protect some foreign spies.
- BATHSHEBA, who conceived Solomon by King David, her husband’s best friend.
- MARY, an unknown teenage girl who found herself pregnant out of wedlock.
That’s an “odd” assortment of mothers for the Savior of the world, don’t you think? A real matriarchal line of misfits. Not the sort of moms you would naturally brag about. So, on third glance, it sure looks like God intended for Matthew to open the New Testament this way! Perhaps God wanted to shed some light on the sanitized version of Christmas most of us embrace and remind us of His purpose for coming in the first place?
Jesus, thank You for coming to earth through the family tree of fallen humanity. Thank You for dying on the cross for fallen humans. I worship You for Your sinlessness and perfect love. Thank You for coming to earth and never hesitating to be a part of our sinful, tainted lives. Amen.
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