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*Slide 1 “Title”*
·         There’s a song made famous by Ray Stevens that tells the story of a widow who remarried and later her grown daughter married her new husband’s father.
Then each couple had a child.
The lyrics tell us:
o    This made my dad my son-in-law
o    My daughter was my mother, cause she was my father’s wife
o    Father’s wife then had a son
o    He became my grandchild, for he was my daughter’s son
o    My wife is now my mother’s mother
o    Now if my wife is my grandmother
o    Then I’m her grandchild
o    As husband of my grandmother
o    I’m my own grandpa
·         The research of genealogies has become a very popular pastime if not passion for many people.
o    I know that Lynn has roots that run to General Custer and Geronimo
o    It’s caused an inner tension in her family that manifests when we play Pictionary and they can’t decided which side to be on.
o    I think that’s part of the draw in researching genealogy: is there some one of infamy or notoriety in our family tree.
o    I met a fellow Harris who told me the Harris clans (at least those from Wales in Britain) come from a clan of pirates.
·         So, as the New Testament begins, in the very first gospel the writer, Matthew, lays out the genealogy of Jesus.
o    My guess is most of us skip the first 15 verses of chapter 1 if we’re reading through Matthew.
o    It might be better if the names were like Tim, George, Bill, Susie, and Ed.
o    But we have names like Zerubbabel and Eliakim and Salathiel.
o    It’s the passage we dread being asked to read out loud in a bible study group.
o    With all the noisy names and dry lists of lineage it’s tough for 21st century minds to see beyond the initial black and white list; they’re just necessary evils.
·         Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience so he was writing from a Jewish perspective.
o    Genealogy was very important to the Jew.
o    Your genealogy told you who your people were, what tribe they came from, and most importantly if you were 100% Jewish – were you a part of the Promised People.
o    So they kept very tight family trees.
·         I see the genealogies like a Bev Dolittle painting.
·         *Slide 2 “Painting”*
o    At first you see a nice painting with an obvious scene in the first layer.
o    But as you look closer at the painting, new images arise that begin to bring out new elements of the paintings story.
o    We’ve already established that Jews placed a high value on genealogy; family history was important, much more so than it is in our culture.
o    They also knew that the Messiah would come from King David’s line.
o    Matthew showed the Jewish audience that Jesus had royal blood in His veins.
§  If you can’t prove you’re royalty by your lineage, then you aren’t royalty.
o    While the first seventeen verses of Matthew seem dry and foreign to us, it established the validity of what was to follow in the rest of the gospel.
§  Without the genealogy, Jesus was just one of many other “messiahs” of the time.
o    In the genealogy of Jesus we not only see the lineage that connects Jesus to the line of King David, (the needed proof of authenticity for the Jewish mind) we see a picture of God working in the midst of a fallen people like you and me.
o    Because frankly, the family tree of Jesus was highly dysfunctional.
*Slide 3 “Title”*
·         *God is not dysfunctional… people are dysfunctional.*
o    Nothing is haphazard with God; even the Son of God’s family tree.
o    God knew what He was doing; He understood the ramifications of every event and circumstance.
o    It was the same with the family tree of His Son.
o    It flows through 28 generations and around 1700 years.
o    Even women are mentioned in His family tree – not seen in OT genealogies.
o    The family tree is divided into three divisions of fourteen.
§  Three was considered the divine number of perfection and fullness.
§  Seven or any multiple of seven (fourteen) symbolized perfection.
o    Matthew was showing that God was in control and God’s perfect plan lead to Jesus.
o    The incarnation of Jesus, God in the flesh, wasn’t a last minute idea.
§  God had been working the plan throughout history.
§  The appearance of Jesus on earth was the culmination of a divinely inspired plan to make life available to His creation.
·         *The faces on the tree…*
o    Reading the genealogy of Jesus is like looking at a family album.
o    Looking at the faces in the album brings back good and sometimes not so good memories associated with people.
o    Now, in our humanness we’d expect God’s family album, the family album of Jesus, to be filled with people who lived stellar lives; this is the family of the Son of God were talking about.
o    But, just like looking at a Bev Dolittle painting, when we look closer we see all kinds of different pictures emerging.
o    There are skeletons in God’s family closet.
o    Let me give you some examples:
*Slide 4 “Abraham…”*
§  Abraham said that his wife was his sister, twice, so that he wouldn’t have to fight for her; Abraham the coward and liar.
*Slide 5 “Isaac…”*
§  Isaac did the same thing, and got caught snuggling up to her.
*Slide 6 “Jacob…”*
§  Jacob lied to his father, cheated his brother and ripped off his father-in-law.
*Slide 7 “Rahab…”*
§  Rahab was a woman (unusual in OT genealogies) and a prostitute.
*Slide 8 “Ruth…”*
§  Ruth was a gentile from a despised country.
*Slide 9 “Solomon…”*
§  Solomon allowed his wives… and he had a bunch… to worship false gods.
*Slide 10 “Rehoboam…”*
§  Rehoboam split the nation of Israel in two.
*Slide 11 “Many kings…”*
§  Many of the kings in Jesus’ line were not good men.
·         They often worshipped false gods.
·         They could be tyrants.
·         They did many cruel things.
·         King Manasseh even sacrificed his own son to an idol.
*Slide 12 “Two notable…”*
o    Two notable examples of dysfunction:
*Slide 13 “Judah and Tamar…”*
§  Judah and Tamar:  Genesis 38
*Slide 14 “King David…”*
§  King David:
*Slide 15 “Title”*
o    God wasn’t working through a story book, He was working in the nitty-gritty, fallen, ugly, sometimes faithful, lives of people like you and me.
o    Redeemable, but full of flaws.
§  The one common characteristic among everyone in the lineage of Jesus was their incredible propensity to be down-right human and down-right sinful.
§  Some of you may be thinking, “And I thought /my/ family was bad!”
§  Jesus had royal blood in Him, but He also had the blood of murderers, cheats, liars, prostitutes, pagans and swindlers as well.
§  Yet Jesus Himself was without sin… that power!
§  And it was through this blood-line that God’s plan to bring us into new life flowed.
*Slide 16 “God can…”*
§  God can take the unlikeliest people and messed up situations, turn them upside down and use them for His purposes… in fact evidence would suggest He prefers this method – actually there is no other alternative.
*Slide 17 “While God…”*
·         *While God uses us in our dysfunction, He never celebrates our sin.*
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