*Slide 1 “Title”*
· There’s a song made famous by Ray Stevens that tells the story of a widow who remarried and later her grown daughter married her new husband’s father.
Then each couple had a child.
The lyrics tell us:
o This made my dad my son-in-law
o My daughter was my mother, cause she was my father’s wife
o Father’s wife then had a son
o He became my grandchild, for he was my daughter’s son
o My wife is now my mother’s mother
o Now if my wife is my grandmother
o Then I’m her grandchild
o As husband of my grandmother
o I’m my own grandpa
· The research of genealogies has become a very popular pastime if not passion for many people.
o I know that Lynn has roots that run to General Custer and Geronimo
o It’s caused an inner tension in her family that manifests when we play Pictionary and they can’t decided which side to be on.
o I think that’s part of the draw in researching genealogy: is there some one of infamy or notoriety in our family tree.
o I met a fellow Harris who told me the Harris clans (at least those from Wales in Britain) come from a clan of pirates.
· So, as the New Testament begins, in the very first gospel the writer, Matthew, lays out the genealogy of Jesus.
o My guess is most of us skip the first 15 verses of chapter 1 if we’re reading through Matthew.
o It might be better if the names were like Tim, George, Bill, Susie, and Ed.
o But we have names like Zerubbabel and Eliakim and Salathiel.
o It’s the passage we dread being asked to read out loud in a bible study group.
o With all the noisy names and dry lists of lineage it’s tough for 21st century minds to see beyond the initial black and white list; they’re just necessary evils.
· Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience so he was writing from a Jewish perspective.
o Genealogy was very important to the Jew.
o Your genealogy told you who your people were, what tribe they came from, and most importantly if you were 100% Jewish – were you a part of the Promised People.
o So they kept very tight family trees.
· I see the genealogies like a Bev Dolittle painting.
· *Slide 2 “Painting”*
o At first you see a nice painting with an obvious scene in the first layer.
o But as you look closer at the painting, new images arise that begin to bring out new elements of the paintings story.
o We’ve already established that Jews placed a high value on genealogy; family history was important, much more so than it is in our culture.
o They also knew that the Messiah would come from King David’s line.
o Matthew showed the Jewish audience that Jesus had royal blood in His veins.
§ If you can’t prove you’re royalty by your lineage, then you aren’t royalty.
o While the first seventeen verses of Matthew seem dry and foreign to us, it established the validity of what was to follow in the rest of the gospel.
§ Without the genealogy, Jesus was just one of many other “messiahs” of the time.
o In the genealogy of Jesus we not only see the lineage that connects Jesus to the line of King David, (the needed proof of authenticity for the Jewish mind) we see a picture of God working in the midst of a fallen people like you and me.
o Because frankly, the family tree of Jesus was highly dysfunctional.
*Slide 3 “Title”*
· *God is not dysfunctional… people are dysfunctional.*
o Nothing is haphazard with God; even the Son of God’s family tree.
o God knew what He was doing; He understood the ramifications of every event and circumstance.
o It was the same with the family tree of His Son.
o It flows through 28 generations and around 1700 years.
o Even women are mentioned in His family tree – not seen in OT genealogies.
o The family tree is divided into three divisions of fourteen.
§ Three was considered the divine number of perfection and fullness.
§ Seven or any multiple of seven (fourteen) symbolized perfection.
o Matthew was showing that God was in control and God’s perfect plan lead to Jesus.
o The incarnation of Jesus, God in the flesh, wasn’t a last minute idea.
§ God had been working the plan throughout history.
§ The appearance of Jesus on earth was the culmination of a divinely inspired plan to make life available to His creation.
· *The faces on the tree…*
o Reading the genealogy of Jesus is like looking at a family album.
o Looking at the faces in the album brings back good and sometimes not so good memories associated with people.
o Now, in our humanness we’d expect God’s family album, the family album of Jesus, to be filled with people who lived stellar lives; this is the family of the Son of God were talking about.
o But, just like looking at a Bev Dolittle painting, when we look closer we see all kinds of different pictures emerging.
o There are skeletons in God’s family closet.
o Let me give you some examples:
*Slide 4 “Abraham…”*
§ Abraham said that his wife was his sister, twice, so that he wouldn’t have to fight for her; Abraham the coward and liar.
*Slide 5 “Isaac…”*
§ Isaac did the same thing, and got caught snuggling up to her.
*Slide 6 “Jacob…”*
§ Jacob lied to his father, cheated his brother and ripped off his father-in-law.
*Slide 7 “Rahab…”*
§ Rahab was a woman (unusual in OT genealogies) and a prostitute.
*Slide 8 “Ruth…”*
§ Ruth was a gentile from a despised country.
*Slide 9 “Solomon…”*
§ Solomon allowed his wives… and he had a bunch… to worship false gods.
*Slide 10 “Rehoboam…”*
§ Rehoboam split the nation of Israel in two.
*Slide 11 “Many kings…”*
§ Many of the kings in Jesus’ line were not good men.
· They often worshipped false gods.
· They could be tyrants.
· They did many cruel things.
· King Manasseh even sacrificed his own son to an idol.
*Slide 12 “Two notable…”*
o Two notable examples of dysfunction:
*Slide 13 “Judah and Tamar…”*
§ Judah and Tamar: Genesis 38
*Slide 14 “King David…”*
§ King David:
*Slide 15 “Title”*
o God wasn’t working through a story book, He was working in the nitty-gritty, fallen, ugly, sometimes faithful, lives of people like you and me.
o Redeemable, but full of flaws.
§ The one common characteristic among everyone in the lineage of Jesus was their incredible propensity to be down-right human and down-right sinful.
§ Some of you may be thinking, “And I thought /my/ family was bad!”
§ Jesus had royal blood in Him, but He also had the blood of murderers, cheats, liars, prostitutes, pagans and swindlers as well.
§ Yet Jesus Himself was without sin… that power!
§ And it was through this blood-line that God’s plan to bring us into new life flowed.
*Slide 16 “God can…”*
§ God can take the unlikeliest people and messed up situations, turn them upside down and use them for His purposes… in fact evidence would suggest He prefers this method – actually there is no other alternative.
*Slide 17 “While God…”*
· *While God uses us in our dysfunction, He never celebrates our sin.*