"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)
I am reading the Chronological Bible again this year; ten years and counting. New things are popping out to me all the time in God's Word. I LOVE IT! The Scriptures are so practical and pertinent to what is going on in my life. The Holy Spirit will breathe new life into a verse that I have read many times before and peel off a new layer of scales from my eyes. The Word of God is the greatest treasure I possess.
Jesus' genealogy from first Matthew 1 and then Luke 3 are given right after the announcement of His birth to the shepherds and their visit to see Jesus lying in the manger. Matthew's account gives Christ's lineage from the time of Abraham, but Luke's account traces His line back to Adam. I have been known to skip over all the "...and so and so begat so and so" to look for more exciting material in the verses following, but I was reminded of several things in those passages that made me so glad.
Jesus' family tree is filled with imperfect people. Through the last ten years of study, I have become much more familiar with the names that Christ descended from because God the Father ordained that the Son of God would take on the name of a man called Joseph. Here are some brief snapshots of Jesus' more infamous ancestors:
Judah-The patriarch Jacob's fourth son. Had an incestuous relationship with his daughter-in-law after she disguised herself as a prostitute, resulting in twin boys being conceived named Perez and Zerah.
Boaz-His mother was the prostitute Rahab who had hid the two spies on her roof before the fall of Jericho. Boaz married Ruth the Moabitess and was the great grandfather of King David. (Ruth 1-4)
David-Abused his power as king over Israel by sleeping with a married woman, Bathsheba. Then, when her husband Urriah did not become part of David's cover-up scheme for the pregnancy that resulted, he had him murdered. The sword never left his house as a result of his sin. (2 Samuel 11)
Manasseh-The most wicked king the divided kingdom of Judah ever produced. He burned his sons in the fire to a detestable pagan god. He led Judah into a horrible time of apostasy and idol worship. Yet, he repented in the end and God forgave him. (2 Kings 21)
Josiah-The eight-year-old boy-king who found the temple scrolls and led his people back to the true worship of Jehovah, even though his grandfather, Manasseh, and his father, Amon, had been desperately wicked men. (2 Kings 23)
Luke's account of Christ's genealogy starts like this:
"Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph..." (Luke 3:23)
and ends like this:
"the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God." (Luke 3:38)
What's my point, girlfriends? Just this--we all have messed-up family trees. There is no such thing as a perfect family with no dysfunction. We can spend so much wasted energy playing the exhausting game of cover-up over our shame in this area. What I absolutely love is that Jesus, although He was perfect and without sin, did not come from a perfect family. His lineage was full of scandal. Not once, but many times. I have had friends that have never been able to shake their sense of poor self-esteem because of the mess their family members have gotten into. They wear that shame like an albatross around their necks.
Let me say this LOUD and CLEAR! We each, individually, come to our Jesus. He looks at OUR hearts, not our parents', siblings', or our extended family members' hearts. Even before Jesus' death, the Law of Moses did not punish the children for the sins of their fathers (Deuteronomy 24:15). Because Jesus is our righteousness, we each have a clean slate. And, just like Manesseh, if we have royally messed up, we can come to the foot of the cross and be completely forgiven for those sins.
Listen to this from Hebrews and be encouraged my sweet sister!
So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. For he said to God,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise you among your assembled people.”
He also said,
“I will put my trust in him,”
that is, “I and the children God has given me.”
Hebrews 2:11-13 (NLT)
The best gift some of us could ever be given this Christmas is a new name not attached to the shame of something that has happened in our family. Girlfriend, you have been given that gift. Our Jesus is not ashamed of you. If you have accepted Him as your Savior, He has given you a new name--His!
Whatever the facts of your genealogy look like, they find their completion with your name just like Jesus Christ's does (put your name in the first blank, your father's name in the second):
_____________, the [daughter] of ____________, the [daughter] of God! Being the daughter of God wipes away any shame that may be associated with any other name in your family line. That is the truth.
Thank You, Jesus, that Your Name is the Name above all names. And with the power of Your Name, my shame is wiped away. I have a clean slate, no matter what my lineage looks like. I belong to You!