Do you have skeletons in your family closet? Are there people in your family tree of whom you and some of your relatives are ashamed or embarrassed?
Matthew wrote his gospel mainly to Jews. The most interesting way to get their attention was to begin with a genealogy. If you were writing a biography to a Jewish audience back then, and you couldn’t establish the person’s family lineage, they would look at the “biography” as a fable or tabloid story. It would have the same credibility to them that the Enquirer has with us.
It is so great how God goes against the grain of modern culture so often. In many Jewish genealogies, women would not be mentioned. But in Jesus’ family tree the Lord inspired Matthew to include Mary and then 4 other women (3 by name). Two of the women he mentioned by name were Gentiles (Rahab and Ruth). Tamar is the one who disguised herself as a prostitute and had intercourse with her father-in-law Judah. And the hits just keep on coming – Rahab the Gentile prostitute is in here. Then there was Ruth the Moabitess. Deut. 23:3 says not Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. But God’s grace allows such a woman into His family tree. Then there is the wife of Uriah. This woman is so infamous in Jewish history he doesn’t even say her name – but they all knew it very well: Bathsheba (the woman with whom David committed adultery).
But it’s not just the women Matthew included that show God’s amazing grace. Look at the men: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob – they lied a time or two. Jacob was practically a con-artist for a while. Some of the men were into divination. Judah – committed incest with his daughter-in-law. But in his defense he only thought she was a prostitute! Moses murdered someone. David committed adultery and had the woman’s husband killed. Manasseh sacrificed his own son in the fire.
This is great news for us! We just happen to know about the sin in the lives of those people. But I am just as undeserving to be in the family of Jesus as any of them. We don’t know about all the sin and corruption in each other’s lives. But God does and He still wants us in His family.