Nobody’s Perfect, and That’s the Point of the Christmas Story
If Jesus were a guest on Finding Your Roots, it would be a very interesting episode. Jesus descended from a mix of people - Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the earliest ones to enter the covenant with God. His DNA includes that of Kings David, Solomon and Josiah the most respected rulers of Israel. Jesus descended from prophets like Hezekiah and Amos. Matthew begins his story of the birth of Jesus with this list of impressive ancestors.
But Matthew doesn’t stop there, and Matthew mentions that Jesus descends from Ruth a Moabite, from Tamar a Canaanite sex worker, and from Rahab, another Canaanite prostitute who used her street smarts to help some Hebrew spies escape. Christ’s genealogy includes a Hittite named Bathsheba, who was the victim of King David’s. Then Matthew finishes his genealogy with people no one has ever heard of, like Zerubbabel. It’s an odd list, to be sure.
Why does Matthew begin his story of the birth Jesus this way? He seems to be showcasing the most embarrassing people on the family tree. It almost reminds you of the Disney movie, Encanto, where everyone starts singing about how they aren’t supposed to mention Bruno, the skeleton in the family closet that they are dying to tell you about.
Matthew seems to say we all have a Bruno or two. We all have people in our family tree that we aren’t supposed to mention but can’t stop wondering about or talking about. We all have people who betrayed the family’s trust. We all have people who married in and became some of our favorites. Jesus is no different.
The Bible says that one of the things that makes him so special is that he comes from brave women who worked the streets but had integrity. He comes from a mix of Hebrews and Canaanites, Hittites and Moabites. That diversity is the making of him, not something to be embarrassed about. What made Christ the Son of God wasn’t his Hebrew bloodlines but his way of greeting everyone along life’s path as a fellow child of God. He brought dignity to every interaction because he knew he came from men and women of character who happened to be an assortment of Jews and Gentiles who all had faith. Matthew starts his gospel reminding us of this truth.
I hope that you smile when you hear the story read this year and remember that Jesus came to show us how precious we all are.