Summary: A sermon for the 1st Sunday of Advent.


Matthew 1:1-17

“Holy Crow! I’m related to George Washington.”

***Put up Picture of Woman holding George Washington Picture***

Just days after beginning her family history search, Emily discovered a truly legendary ancestor.

With the help of, she traced her family all the way back to her ten-times great grandmother, who just so happened to also be George Washington’s aunt.

“Emily found a presidential cousin!!!

Who could be hiding in your family tree?”


“What are You? What are You? What are You?”

***Put up picture of Lezli***

Growing up, Lezlie always encountered curiosity about her ethnicity from people she’d meet.

“I probably got the question 3 to 4 times a week if I was Asian or Moroccan or something else,” she shared.

So she jumped at the opportunity to find out through Ancestry DNA.

And it turns out, Lezlie’s DNA results did include African, European, and Asian.

“It was great because it helped confirm what I knew in my gut…with a little surprise,” Lezlie said.


“I traded in my Lederhosen for a Kilt” declares Kyle.

***Put up picture of Kyle in a Kilt***

You see, growing up, Kyle’s family was German, no doubt about it.

But after doing a DNA test the big surprise was that Kyle isn’t German at all. led him to generations of Scottish Ancestors.

“What surprises are hiding in your Family Tree?”

Allegedly, these are true stories from members of a website called

For a fee, you can trace your family story with a family tree—they promise that they make it easy!!!

You can unlock your family story with your DNA for just $69.00.

There are a lot of people who are interested in genealogies and tracing their family trees.

And I can understand why.

We want to know where we come from.

Some of us want to know what family dynamics are in our past that might help us in the here and now.

Others of us might want information about rates of cancer deaths, or Alzheimer’s in our gene pool.

And some of us might just want to know what famous people and maybe what scoundrels we have in our distant past.

The first 17 verses in Matthew’s Gospel give us Jesus’ family tree.

And by doing this, Matthew makes a major theological statement right from the very beginning: God is able to use extremely flawed humans as God carries history forward to His goals.

If we really look at Jesus’ family tree, we will quickly come to the conclusion that it is anything but a roll call for the institute of halos and harps.

I mean, this reads more like the Sunday morning occupancy at the county jail.

It starts with Abraham, who more than once, lied like Pinocchio in order to save his neck.

And it’s been said that Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, was slicker than a Las Vegas card shark!!!

The guy cheated his brother, his uncle…

Jacob’s very name means “cheater” or “trickster.”

But he’s in the list leading to Jesus.

Jacob’s son, Judah, was the father of Perez and Zerah.

But you remember how he became their father, don’t you?

By committing incest with Tamar—and she’s on the list we just read as well!!!

Good grief!

This is not a pure line leading to Christ!!!

In Revelation Jesus is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”

But Judah was a hypocrite.

Judah was an adulterer!!!

Judah and his brothers even sold their brother Joseph into slavery!!!

What kind of wonderful people were they?

If we jump down to verse 6 we see that “King David” is in Jesus’ family line.

But King David had Uriah the Hittite killed because he wanted Uriah’s wife—Bathsheba--for himself.

So, our “wonderful” King David was not only an adulterer—he was also a murderer!!!

Listen to verse 5 again: “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth.”

Why does Matthew bother to say that Boaz’s mother was Rahab?

Because Rahab was a prostitute.

And Ruth is mentioned because she was a foreigner—not even Jewish.

Manasseh makes the list, even though this wicked king sacrificed his own son in the fire to Baal and consulted mediums and spiritists.

Manasseh shed so much innocent blood that 2 Kings 21 says: “He was a terror to his people.”

God used a guy like THAT as part of the history leading up to Jesus.

A lot of the people on this list are kings; almost half of these kings were crooks, and all but a handful worshiped an idol or two for good measure.

And so reads the list of Jesus’ family tree!!!

Why do you suppose God used these people?

He didn’t have to.

God could have just delivered Jesus from the heavens by stork or something.

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