Imagine if God were to have a family reunion. What would that look like? I think it’s safe to say that the family tree of Jesus Christ presented to us in Matthew 1 is as colorful as a Christmas tree.
You may look at it and say, “That person doesn’t look like they belong in the family tree of the Savior of the world.” But that’s the beauty of the Gospel: this tree is full of imperfect people God saved and used in extraordinary ways to carry out His plan of salvation.
In fact, Matthew fills this genealogy with women. That’s unusual. Genealogies of that time typically listed only the names of the fathers because those were the only names considered essential. But Matthew lists five different women among the men. And not just any women…but women we wouldn’t dare tell anyone we’re related to. Rahab was a prostitute, Ruth was a foreigner, and Bathsheba isn’t even mentioned by name. God includes a bunch of people in the family of Jesus who don’t help His case one bit for being King of Kings. It’s a family filled with moral failures, social outsiders, and ethnic outcasts.
Why? I contend this can teach us at least two things.
The excluded are included in Christ.
If Jesus had such individuals as His forebearers, we shouldn’t be surprised Jesus has invited such individuals to be His followers. Matthew is getting us ready to meet Jesus, the friend of sinners, the Savior sent not to condemn the world, but to save the world (John 3:16–18).
Matthew uses this list to help us realize that God’s purposes are fulfilled in ways we would never imagine, with events we would never design, including people we would naturally exclude. And that should send us a powerful message: Jesus came to include you, no matter who you are, in His family. The people Jesus came from are the same people Jesus came for.
Jesus is not part of our family; we are all part of His family.
We don’t invite Him to be our Savior and King. Instead, He invites us out of sin, shame, and guilt to be saved. He invites us to add our names to His family tree. And if you don’t accept the invitation to receive Jesus as the Savior for your sin, and if you reject Him as King of your life and refuse to submit to His authority, your name will be nowhere to found.
You will arrive at the judgment before Jesus, and He will say, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” And you will spend all eternity having missed out on an open invitation to have your sin fully forgiven and forever forgotten. But nothing is lost or too late in Christ!
We can learn so much from Jesus’ relatives. But the best lesson we learn is that, through Christ, we can be adopted into the family of God. That means that you and I, and everyone who has made the decision to follow Jesus, has been grafted into His family tree, made sons and daughters of God, and we have a part to play in this epic story. Join His family today!