Summary: By examining the four women in Jesus’ genealogy we see God’s love and grace by sending a savior for all people.
“The Bad Girls of Jesus’ Genealogy”
Westmoreland Church of Christ
March 6th, 2005
1. Once again I am going to preach from Matthew 1:1-17 which is the genealogy, or family tree, of Jesus, the son of Abraham, the Son of David.
a. Last week we looked at the whole list of names from Jesus back to Abraham.
i. I hope that you saw that God went to incredible lengths to make sure that a savior would be born to fulfill God’s promise to save the world and to save us humans.
b. We saw a long line of people that God used to make the unbroken line from Abraham to Jesus.
i. God used cheats, liars, sinners, murderers, prostitutes and so on to make up Jesus’ family tree: if you could have a family reunion that included all of Jesus’ ancestors you would have a well-rounded group of people. Good, bad, ugly and everywhere in-between
ii. But, this showed us that God is able to work through our weaknesses to accomplish his will.
c. We also saw that a lot of history transpired to get Jesus to Bethlehem to be born of Mary and Joseph.
i. Empires rose and fell. The nation of Israel went from one man, his wife and nephew to thousands of slaves in Egypt and then to a mighty kingdom which was finally carried off into exile, presumably to never be seen again.
ii. But through it all, God was working to put a Roman emperor in place who wanted a census to be called so that a peasant girl and her betrothed husband would be in Bethlehem to give birth to their first born.
iii. And all that shows that God is faithful to fulfill his promises, no matter how unlikely the circumstances seem.
2. Well, that big picture is all well and good, but today I want to focus in on something very surprising about Jesus’ genealogy that has a very important message for us even to this day.
3. I want to look at four people that Matthew includes in his genealogy that by all respects shouldn’t be in this list. What do I mean they shouldn’t be here?
a. Well, remember what I said in the last two weeks about how important genealogies were for the Jewish people.
b. They really took their genealogies seriously, because they wanted to be able to prove that they were the right pedigree.
i. For some people, pedigree is very important.
(1) I have a wonderful dog named Lucky. She does everything that I think a dog should do. She greets me when I come home with an excited bark and a wagging tail. She climbs on my lap when I’m watching T.V. She will show concern when Susan or I am upset. She is warm when she lays on your feet on cold nights. She barks when someone comes up to the door. Basically, just about everything I want out of a dog. I think that she’s cute and I wouldn’t change a thing about her.
(2) but some people would say she is worthless, because they care about pedigree. For all I know Lucky is full-blooded Dachshund, but because I don’t have the papers to prove her pedigree, some fancy-pants wouldn’t want to fool with her.
c. In some ways the Jewish people were like this. A person could be a fine individual, but if they couldn’t prove that they were Sons of Abraham, that is, descended by an unbroken line to Abraham, then they were considered to be worthless.
i. You hear preachers talking all the time about the hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans, and this is why. The Jews looked down on the Samaritans because they did not think that th Samaritans had a good pedigree. They considered them half Jewish and half not-Jewish, which was as bad as not being Jewish at all. And of course, the Samaritans did not appreciate being looked down on, so they hated the Jews back.
ii. Many Jewish men would pray everyday thanking God that they weren’t women or Gentiles...they were grateful that they had a good pedigree.
d. So, it was a matter of great honor to have a good family tree. If you said that someone had a few rotten branches in their family tree you were speaking fighting words, that’s for sure.
4. So, you would expect that Matthew would be very careful in his genealogy of Jesus to show that he was of the finest pedigree. After all, he was showing that Jesus was descended from the father of the nation through Abraham and descended from the greatest king through David.
a. You would think that Matthew would be very careful to show that Jesus had the purest of pure Jewish pedigree; as Paul said, that he was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Jew of Jews.