My mother was exceedingly proud of her ancestry, which boasted two aristocratic English families whose roots went back to the Mayflower. My father, less than impressed with her credentials, once wryly referred to Mom’s genealogy as her “family twig.”
I received as a Christmas gift a calendar Bible, and as I ingest my daily helpings of God’s Word, I’ve been struck by God’s choice of flawed vessels to bring His Son into the world. For example…
Did you know that Jesus’s distinguished lineage included Jacob, who connived his way through life, lying to his ailing father and alienating his only brother? Also among our Savior’s illustrious ancestors was Perez, the illegitimate offspring of Jacob’s son Judah, whom he conceived with his widowed daughter-in-law when she was posing as a prostitute.
Peyton Place, anyone?
And let’s not forget David, the man after God’s own heart, whose illicit union with Bathsheba resulted in the murder of an innocent man in one of the most shocking cover-ups recorded in God’s Word. These two adulterers later produced Christ’s ancestor Solomon, whose liaisons with foreign women led the wisest king who ever lived into idolatry and compromise that besmirched his throne and ultimately divided his kingdom.
These are the some of the juicier tidbits in Jesus’s history. From a humble beginnings standpoint, Christ descended from Leah, Jacob’s unloved wife, who played second fiddle to her beautiful sister Rachel, and had to be pawned off on unsuspecting Jacob through her father’s trickery. God’s Son could also claim in His list of relatives Rahab, a member of the world’s oldest profession, and her daughter-in-law Ruth, whose widowed status forced her to beg scraps and marital protection from a stranger.
Truth really is stranger than fiction.
I can only conclude that Philippians 2:8 (“And being found in appearance as a man, [Jesus] humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross”) is the understatement of the century – no, the millennium. Better yet, the entire stage of human history.
Christ’s heritage, culminating in His birth to an unmarried teenager who just barely escaped being left at the altar on the strength of a dream given her disgraced fiancé, better qualified Him to land a role in As the World Turns than to head up the divine church.
And yet, this family tree was carefully, painstakingly constructed by none other than God Himself to serve as the vehicle by which He would introduce freedom to handcuffed humanity.
How fitting that the Son of God, who descended from such “colorful” ancestors, chose to grow up in an obscure town which His peers held in contempt. John 1:46 states that the thinking of Jesus’ day was “Can anything good come out of [Jesus’ home town] Nazareth?” Apparently, something good could – and did – come out of this humble, despised city.
Kind of gives you hope for the rest of us, doesn’t it?
Thea Williams’s short story, “Phoenix,” appears in 50 Over Fifty: A Celebration of Established and Emerging Women Writers. Her work appears in Focus on the Family Magazine and Al Anon’s The Rap. Subscribe to Thea’s blog at www.reflectionsbythea.blogspot.com By day, Thea educates and prays for young minds at a local school district. Contact Thea at https://www.facebook.com/thea.williams.16 or https://www.youtube.com/user/theabwilliams.