A Lineage of Sinners
There is much to say about the people mentioned in the two genealogies found in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. We know a bit of history about several of them. Each one teaches us things about God’s wonderous grace. In fact, Jesus’ lineage is a remarkable testament of God’s grace.
David was an adulterous man who murdered and slaughtered many men (1 Chronicles 22:8). He was also a poor father who didn’t manage his household well.
Abraham (who is mentioned to have great faith) lied about his wife becuase he was scared and lacked trust in God’s protection. He shamed his wife. He brought dishonor to God. Jacob’s sons (Judah and his brothers) were heads of the tribes of Israel and were sinful, weak, and unfaithful.
Tamar, the Canaanite daughter-in-law of Judah, lost here husband and brother-in-law to God’s wrath. She was a liar and tricked Judah into sexual relations. She was a prostitute. Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth were Gentiles (not God’s chosen people).
These were just a few of the names in the lists. We somtimes cringe at the grave sins they committed and forget that we are sinners just as much. Our sins may not be as morally tragic, but they are sin nevertheless. They are an offense to God. They are just as bad. We are no better than they that make up the lineage of Christ.
Still, they have a special grace being in the lineage of Christ. Independent of their choices and thoughts, God selected them as His heritage. His grace has been poured out throughout the Old Testament in each of their stories and it climatically pours once again in the birth of Jesus.
The list is more than a list of ancient names. It is a testimony to God’s grace and to the ministry of Jesus who “did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:13). John MacArthur asks this question, “If He has called sinners by grace to be His forefathers, should we be surprised when He calls them by grace to be His descendants?” An excellent question.
So what is it that we can learn fromthis line of old names? God has come to graciously save sinners. His lineage attests to this. Glor to God.