Family Tree of a Common King

Dec 13th 2017

My Mother is the family historian. She has done the family trees and histories for all four of my Grandparents and has traced the History of the branches back to England and Scotland. I even have accentors that came over on the Mayflower.  I have spent many days during my life researching with her. She has wrote a number of Books detailing each line of my family tree. My family like so many has many interesting facts and in fact has a few secrets that I am sure there is a few ancestors that are rolling over in graves that those secrets are common knowledge now. Documenting history is an important part of helping future generations understand where you come from. Regardless of the secrets or scandals it shows those that follow where the family comes from and the roots of the tree. In the book of Matthew in the new testament he does not give us the complete genealogy of Jesus. It is the highlights that he thinks is important. For many they skim even what he has included. But skimming might cause you to miss some of the important things that we as followers of Jesus need to notice.

In Matthew 1:1-17 he gives us a genealogy summary of nearly the whole old testament, from Geneis 11 to Malachi 4, capturing the stories of the patriarchs, the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt, and the exodus from Egypt to the Promise land. We see David and Solomon and the divided kingdom, the destruction of Israel and the exile of Judah, and finally the return from exile. Here’s the point: Jesus’ birth in a manager of straw is the climax of this entire story of God’s relationship with Israel. Jesus is the end to which the entire biblical story was moving.

It is also often rightly noted that Matthew’s account of Jesus’ family genealogy is nearly unique in that it includes five women. Putting women in a genealogy was not unheard of in the first century, but it was unusual. Who are these women, and what do they tell us about Jesus?

Tamar, the mother of Perez, played the role of a prostitute in order to have children after her husband died. Rahab, who is listed as the mother of Boaz, was a prostitute when she first entered the biblical story. She was also a foreigner. Then there was Ruth, who, like Tamar, was a widow and, like Rahab, was a foreigner. Bathsheba is mentioned next. She was the wife of Uriah  the Hittite, which means she may have been a foreigner, and she was an adulteress (or the victim of rape) at the hands of King David, after which David had her husband killed. She too was a widow. The last of the women mentioned in the genealogy is Mary, a peasant girl whose life is about to be turned upside down with the news she receives that she shall bear a child that is to be the son of God.

When my mother tells of the family history in her books, she describes pioneers, soldiers, mother’s fathers’ criminals and people of faith with strong family bonds. When Matthew tells of jesus’ genealogy he list two prostitutes and an adulteress, women who were outsiders.  Matthew is, in this genealogy, pointing us towards Jesus’ identity and mission. jesus would bring hope to the widow, mercy to the sinners, and good news not just for the Jews, but for all Humankind.  We need to thank Jesus for showing mercy to the sinner and compassion to the broken-hearted. As we walk the road to Bethlehem during this Advent season we need to try to see more clearly the things that God is offering to us in the stories surrounding Jesus Birth. He came to be the King of common people. He was born so that He could come and die for our sins so we could receive the free gifts of grace and Love of our God that wants us to come and be a part of his Family tree regardless of what our past is.

Matthew R. Marshall