This morning, as I read Matthew 1, my intention was not to stay in chapter one. In fact, in my pursuit of knowing Jesus more, I expected to read several chapters before coming across anything I could learn from or apply to my life.
I have often glossed over these multiple names that were both familiar and strange. While some names may sound more familiar to you than others, I think it’s important to review some key points about these people.
Abraham- Yes, “Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham…” Does anyone remember this fun, active Sunday School song? Abraham was married to a Sarah (formerly Abram and Sarai) who very late in life gave birth to a son named Isaac. They didn’t believe God when he told them they would bear a son and that Abram would have as many children as the stars in the sky. Actually Sarah laughed when God told her she would become a mother so late in life.
Jacob- He was the son of Isaac. Jacob tricked his father into believing he was the elder brother in order to steal his brother’s blessing. Jacob’s mother was so frightened for Jacob’s life, she sent him away to a distant relative. Years later, Jacob was still scared of his brother’s anger and sent multitudes of gifts ahead of him before facing his brother. Surprisingly, his brother was thrilled to see him even without all the gifts.
Rahab- a prostitute who trusted and allowed Israelite spies to use her house to escape Jericho without being seen. Because of her act in faith, she is mentioned in several places throughout the Scriptures as an example of faith.
Boaz- Remember Ruth, whose husband died and followed her mother-in-law back to her family? Boaz was a great example of love even before he knew who Ruth was. He allowed her to gather wheat from his fields. He then preserved her honor by being her kinsman redeemer (lots of culture in this phrase).
Jesse- had multiple sons and showed favor to one in particular…
David- Became a good king and led his people pretty faithfully, but you might also remember a certain affair he had. During the affair, he stayed home while he sent Bathsheba’s husband to the front lines of battle, thinking by killing Uriah the affair would be covered up. Little did he know, she became pregnant.
Solomon- Son of David and Bathsheba. Solomon ruled better than his father and is still known as one of the wisest and wealthiest kings. He asked for God’s wisdom and was given more wisdom than I could even hope for.
These are just the names I know from memory without doing any additional research. Who knows what other stories and family members have been included in Jesus’ history. Although Jesus is full God and full man, his earthly history amazes me. One would think that the perfect Son of God would have a cleaner past or that the writers would want to hide some of the not so appealing parts of his human side.
I’m grateful to see the crazies and the love and mercy and faithfulness all weaved throughout the earthly side of Jesus’ history. This does not make me question his authority in heaven or on earth. It does not make me even question God’s hand in the lives of those before Jesus.
What all this does do, however, is remind me that there is a great foundation God has set in past generations to get me where I am today. I don’t have to be stuck in past mistakes. He has already been working to lay the foundation for who I should be and can be.
God is in the business of making new things and He’s not done yet.