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Summary: There are skeletons in every closet: embarrassing family members with a checkered past who have missed the mark in God’s eyes. But while some may have fallen short of God’s will for their lives, no one is beyond redemption. And the Bible reminds us that n

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A Scandalous Love Affair: With Broken People

Matthew 1

The Rockefeller family is considered to be one of the most philanthropic families in the world, helping humanity globally in issues like economics, religion, education and environmental affairs. Yet the Rockefeller family tree is filled with many skeletons. William Avery Rockefeller, "Big Bill," was a con man, womanizer and a thief of a traveling salesman. He advertised himself as a “Celebrated Cancer Specialist" and hawked "herbal remedies" and other bottled medicine charging $25 a bottle, a sum the equivalent to two month's wages. He often posed as “deaf and dumb" as he scammed others. He fled from a number of indictments for horse stealing, eventually living under an assumed name. He married Eliza Davison in 1837, and shortly thereafter brought Nancy Brown home, as a "housekeeper" who became an alternate lover and who also bore his children.

As the saying goes, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. His son, John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) was proclaimed to be the "most ruthless American" selling bootleg liquor to Federal troops at a high profit, which gained him the initial capital to embark into oil. In 1870 he and others incorporated their petroleum holdings into the Standard Oil Company (Ohio) and then either bought out his competitors or drove them out of business. By 1881, he had a near monopoly of the petroleum industry in the United States. By 1897, he had turned his interests toward philanthropy, funding the Baptist Church, the YMCA, and founding and endowing the University of Chicago with more than $80 million. He endowed major philanthropic institutions, and finally established the Rockefeller Foundation (1913), to promote public health and to further the medical, natural, and social sciences.

Maybe there are skeletons in your closet, too: embarrassing family members with a checkered past who have missed the mark in God’s eyes. The story of the Rockefellers remind us that everyone has skeletons in their closets. But while some may have fallen short of God’s will for their lives, no one is beyond redemption. And the Bible reminds us that no one is beyond being used for God’s purposes. God chooses to love us and be in relationship to us despite our sins. This is really the great scandal of God, that he would dare tie himself to a broken and sin-filled people. It is nothing short of “A Scandalous Love Affair” because a holy and perfect God has bound himself to a willful and sinful people.

There was another family tree in the Bible. It is the bloodline of Jesus Christ who was born into a specific family in a specific time, in a specific place involving real and sometimes sinful people. Matthew’s genealogy tells us three things. First, Jesus was human. Jesus was flesh and blood and born into a family like you and me. Second, Jesus was the promised Messiah. The Messiah had to be born in the right family, the tribe of Judah, from which all of the kings of Israel came and this is the tribe of Jesus. Jesus’ genealogy not only shows that but establishes Jesus’ legal claim to the throne of David. Jesus is the Son of David and that means He is the fulfillment of God’s prophesy to David. He is the seed of David that God would raise up and establish His Kingdom. Finally, it shows Jesus is the Savior of the whole world, not just the Jews. There are Jews and Gentiles in Jesus’ genealogy, meaning that he not only came from both but he also came to save both Jews and Gentiles.


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