Summary: A study of 5 people in Jesus’ genealogy who had tainted reputations illustrates that none of us have to be chained to our past.


I recently became interested in family genealogy.

I found some ancestors who intrigue me, like the civil war veterans and the Baptist preacher who was shot in the back during the Civil War.

(I don’t know if he wore the wrong color coat or if his sermons where that bad.)

I also found some men whose lives disappoint me.

Since they lived around the time of the Civil War, I know very little about them but what I have learned is their behavior was ungodly.

All families have some black sheep in the family tree.

As you listen to 40 names from Jesus’ family tree, try to identify the black sheep.

You will have to listen quickly because there are several.

Matthew 1:1-17 - 1This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of King David and of Abraham:

2Abraham was the father of Isaac.

Isaac was the father of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.

3Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar).

Perez was the father of Hezron.

Hezron was the father of Ram.[1]

4Ram was the father of Amminadab.

Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.

Nahshon was the father of Salmon.

5Salmon was the father of Boaz (his mother was Rahab).

Boaz was the father of Obed (his mother was Ruth).

Obed was the father of Jesse.

6Jesse was the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon (his mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).

7Solomon was the father of Rehoboam.

Rehoboam was the father of Abijah.

Abijah was the father of Asaph.[2]

8Asaph was the father of Jehoshaphat.

Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram.[3]

Jehoram was the father[4] of Uzziah.

9Uzziah was the father of Jotham.

Jotham was the father of Ahaz.

Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.

10Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh.

Manasseh was the father of Amos.[5]

Amos was the father of Josiah.

11Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin[6] and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon).

12After the Babylonian exile:

Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel.

Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.

13Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud.

Abiud was the father of Eliakim.

Eliakim was the father of Azor.

14Azor was the father of Zadok.

Zadok was the father of Akim.

Akim was the father of Eliud.

15Eliud was the father of Eleazar.

Eleazar was the father of Matthan.

Matthan was the father of Jacob.

16Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.

Mary was the mother of Jesus, who is called the Messiah.

17All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to King David, and fourteen from David’s time to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

I’m not sure who deserves a standing ovation the most, Mick for reading all that or you for listening attentively to what is generally considered the most boring part of the Bible.

Did you notice some of the black sheep?

Abraham - lied about his wife and put her in a compromising position.

Judah – commits incest

Adulterer – David

Polygamist – Solomon

Rehoboam - Despised God’s people

Abijah, Rehoboam’s son – “walked in the sins of his father”

Joram – “walked in the ways of Ahab”

Ahaz – idolater

That’s just the guys in the story! Where the story really gets interesting is with the women in the family tree.

The inclusion of women in a Jewish genealogy is a rare thing.

If you were going to include women in a Jewish genealogy you would want to include the 4 matriarchs: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah, the wives respectively of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The 3 patriarchs are all there, but not their wives.

Matthew gives the church 4 new matriarchs and all of them preach the gospel of the mercy of a gracious God.

Let’s look for a few moments at 5 women in Jesus’ family tree and try to learn at least one spiritual truth from each of them.

One great abiding truth rings through all 5 stories: “Your past does not determine your future, your choices do.”

TAMAR – “Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar).” Matthew 1:3

The message in this woman’s life is, It is always a mistake to decide God needs you to make His will happen.

Have you ever considered that we would not be at war in Iraq today if Abraham had not decided God was incapable of keeping his promise to give him abundant offspring and decided to take matters into his own hands?

That is also the story and sin of Tamar.

She is a young, childless widow, the daughter-in-law of Judah. Judah’s son, Er, is wicked and God has him put to death, leaving Tamar a widow. Judah follows the custom of his day and asks his 2’nd son to marry her. He refuses and God has him put to death. Judah then offers his 3’rd son to Tamar, but she will have to wait many years until he is old enough to marry. She panics, fearing she will never have children in a culture where a woman’s value is based primarily on her ability to bear children.

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