February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham . . . Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”—Matthew 1:1–18 (NIV)
What’s your family story? Have you studied your life and the stories of your ancestors?
In the movie Hitch (one of my all-time favs), Will Smith’s character takes his date to Ellis Island and in the hopes to impress her by showing her the signature of her great-great grandfather in the manifest archive. The whole scene builds to this moment when his date sees the signature. And as soon as she sees it, she bursts into tears . . . not tears of joy, but tears of sorrow. Why? Because as it turns out, this great-great grandfather of hers committed some serious crimes thus tarnishing her family name for generations.
Family can be a loaded word. For many people, our family tree is full of stories—some good and some bad. I’m sure there are stories of joy, siblings that formed deep bonds, and marriages that sustained the test of time. I’m also sure there are stories of brokenness, anger, and failed relationships. “What does this have to do with Christmas,” you might ask? A lot. Jesus’ family tree is just like ours.
Let’s take a look at some of the stories inside Jesus’ ancestry:
Abraham allowed his fear to get the best of him and chose to protect himself instead of his wife (Genesis 12:10–13).
Jacob lived a life marked by deceit, which resulted in years of family strife and brokenness (Genesis 28–33).
Judah, out of anger and jealousy, sold his brother Joseph into slavery (Genesis 37).
Tamar was a childless widow, so she dressed as a temple prostitute and seduced her father-in-law. She gives birth to twins and one of those (Perez) is included in this family tree (Genesis 38).
Rahab was a prostitute and led a brothel in Jericho (Joshua 2–6).
Ruth was a foreigner from the Lot’s lineage not Abraham’s. Lot has a huge dysfunctional family story, which you can read all about in Genesis 19.
Solomon is another famous name mentioned in Jesus’ family tree, “whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.” We know his mother’s name is Bathsheba, the married woman who King David sinfully brought into his bedroom. King David would then go on to murder Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, resulting in turmoil and deep family pain (2 Samuel 11–12).
In Jesus’ lineage, we see stories of deception, adultery, racism, sexism, murder, and so much more. But here’s the good news: All of those stories find redemption in the gospel of Jesus.
Christmas shows us that Jesus came “to earth to taste our sadness” (from the hymn, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus). His family tree shows us that He’s done just that! The good news of all of this is that on the cross, Jesus bore all our shame. On the cross, Jesus bore the sin and shame of Abraham, Jacob, Tamar, Rahab, and everyone else in His family. The genealogy of Jesus shows us that only He can redeem every amount of dysfunction and brokenness. Jesus speaks a better word over any area of shame.
Maybe you think your family is a little too crazy to be part of God’s family. Maybe you think your life is too broken, too damaged by sin and evil to be accepted by God. Because of Jesus, you can freely bring all your sin and shame to Him. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’re from, you’re never too far from the love of Jesus. He bore your sin and shame, and He alone can redeem any broken story and bring real restoration.
Pause: When you think about your story or your family story, what things come to mind? Is there anything you’re too ashamed of to bring to Jesus?
Practice: If Jesus carried all our shame to the cross, that means we can go boldly to Him and confess the part of our story, even our family story, that makes us feel the most ashamed. Knowing Jesus always meets us with kindness, pray and surrender those things to Him.
Pray: Gracious Lord, because of my past mistakes, my own shame can cause me to feel far from You. But in the gospel, I can see You’re actually the one running towards me. Though I may sit in darkness, you Lord are always my light. You have taken my shame and brought me restoration. And even though my story has deep levels of sin, You have saved me and brought me into Your redeemed family. You can redeem every story. Thank You for redeeming mine. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Jimmy Purchase serves as the Groups Development Director at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Church Planting from Capital Seminary & Graduate School. He has been in full-time ministry since 2006, has helped plant two churches, and is passionate about seeing South Florida changed by the gospel of Jesus. Jimmy and his wife, Erin, have been married since 2008 and have three children.