Ordinary Descendants

Today’s Reading: Matthew Chapter 1

Good morning friends. I’m excited to begin a new series with you all today on the words of Jesus. For the next several weeks we’ll study the actual words of Jesus Christ as they appear in the gospels. Today, we’re going to begin at the beginning; the genealogy and birth of Jesus. In the first seventeen verses of Mathew 1, we are presented with three sets of fourteen descendants of Jesus beginning with Abraham and ending with King David. The list of 46 people spans more than two thousand years and includes both icons of faith and some shady characters! We hear about the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, Ruth and David which connect the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Messiah to Jesus’ birth. We also hear of Tamar and Rahab as part of Jesus’ birth line. We know from Genesis 38 and Joshua 6 that both women have a reputation for prostitution. Matthew isn’t just ticking off a list of descendants in verses 1-17, he is showing us that God’s work is not limited by human sin. Matthew reveals to us in his very first lines that our heavenly Father uses all of us for His glory. Of course, this genealogy offers proof that Jesus is the Messiah but it also shows that God uses ordinary people to establish His kingdom.


Perhaps one of the best examples of an ordinary man making extraordinary history is Joseph. Beginning in verse 18, Matthew describes Joseph’s dilemma. After discovering that Mary is pregnant he finds himself with two choices: divorce her quietly or expose her apparent unfaithfulness and have her stoned by the Jewish authorities.

“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:19-20

Joseph could only see two ways out of his situation but God showed him another solution. So often God shows us that there are more options available if we are just willing to trust in Him. I think there is so much encouragement in today’s Jesus story that is right here waiting for us. According to Jewish law, Joseph had every right to divorce Mary when he discovered her pregnancy. He faced significant social stigma for staying with her as her husband. How often do we face social stigma at work or school when our beliefs about Jesus are challenged. Joseph may have been an ordinary man, but he made an extraordinary choice in the name of his faith in God.

Today’s words of Jesus show us that although he was born of a woman, Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. Jesus’ lineage is full of faith filled prophets and ordinary sinners. As Christians, we are now the descendants of Jesus. As we move about our modern world we have the opportunity to make extraordinary choices in the name of Jesus. I pray that you will take that encouragement to work, school, the grocery store or the doctor’s office today. I pray that you will be strengthened by His grace to be a witness of His love.

Have a great Monday!