Focus on the Family ... of Jesus
Jesus showed up in a human family, a messy, crazy, wild human family.
The Gospel of Matthew starts with a genealogy, displaying this family. I'm always tempted to skip over genealogies in the Bible. I know that all Scripture has value, but some passages have a value that's harder to see. But there's something special about this genealogy.
On the surface, the most interesting thing is the inclusion of women. Even though Jewish identity is traditionally passed down through the mother, all of the genealogies in the Bible focus on fathers.
Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Uriah's wife ... these women all stand outside the normal stream of God's people. They are included through marriage, through desperation, through stories filled with pain. But their names are remembered.
In Jesus' family, you find a liar, a weakling, a thief ... and that's just the patriarchs. Other ancestors visited prostitutes, murdered rivals, cheated on their wives, had multiple wives, worshipped other gods, and took advantage of the poor.
And then there's the dozen or so people we've never heard of, names like Shealtiel, Abihud, Azor, and Matthan. In fact, most of Jesus' ancestors were ordinary people, people you've never heard of.
What does all this tell us?
Jesus enters a diverse family.
Jesus enters an imperfect family.
Jesus enters an ordinary family.
And his ongoing family ... the church ... we're not that different.
Jesus joined with people like us: people who's families are unique, people with characters in their family, and people who don't know their roots. He joined us ... united himself to us ... to save us.
How could Jesus save us if he wasn't part of our family?
"The Last Judgment: Jacob, Abraham and Isaac in Heaven" by Andrei Rublev courtesy of WikiPaintings.org