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The Family Tree of Jesus

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There is Grief in the Family Tree of Jesus

Abraham begot Isaac ... David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah

Talk about heartbreak, sorrow, misery, and grief—all those things are woven through the fabric of our Lord’s family tree. Can you feel their grief behind these words? The grief of Abraham leaving all he had known to go to a land where he had never been. The grief of letting go of his firstborn, Ishmael, whom he loved. And what about King David? He had a son who died in infancy because of David’s own sin. His son Absalom killed his brother Amnon, and if that were not enough to break a father’s heart, Absalom led a revolt against his own dad. 

But all these names in Christ’s family tree don’t hold a candle to grief this Christmas season. Jesus understands the grief in His ancestors and His descendants. Perhaps your own heart is heavy. Perhaps you have been misunderstood. Jesus was. He says, “I understand.” Perhaps you are lonely. Jesus says, “I know the loneliness of Gethsemane’s garden.” He will bear your griefs and carry your sorrows ... if you will let Him.

There is Grace in the Family Tree of Jesus

Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth.

If time permitted, we could stop at each of the names in Christ’s genealogy and speak of the grace behind their lives. But there are four obvious testimonies of grace that should catch our eyes. They are all women, and in that ancient world it was unheard of to see women listed in genealogy tables.

First is Tamar ( ). Who was she? Let me introduce her. She once dressed as a prostitute, seduced her father-in-law, and had an illegitimate child (Genesis 38). We also read of Rahab ( ). She was the town prostitute of ancient Jericho. Next comes Ruth (v. 5). She was a member of a race that began in incest and worshipped pagan gods. Finally we meet Bathsheba (v. 6). She lived in adultery with King David.

How did these women find their way into Jesus’ own family tree? Only one word: grace! God’s unmerited favor.

There is God in the Family Tree of Jesus

And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

Note carefully what verse 16 says ... and doesn’t say. It does not say, “Joseph begot Jesus.” Here the repetition of the “begots” ends. The “whom” in Greek is feminine singular, referring only to Mary and not to Joseph. Can you see God the Father right here in the family tree of Jesus? Jesus was the virgin-born son of Mary, in whose womb the Father implanted His Son. Hundreds of years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had said the virgin birth would be the “sign” of the long-awaited Messiah ( ).

It is because Jesus was Mary’s seed (the seed of a woman, ) and not the seed of Joseph that entitles Him to be your Savior and Lord. The virgin birth is the bedrock of His authority.

Some see only grief. But look closer and you will find grace. And, if you look close enough, you will see the hand of God molding, making, forming, and fashioning you. He has been there all along.

Excerpts with permission from The Believer's Code: 365 Devotions to Unlock the Blessings of God's Word, copyright © 10/24/2017 by O.S. Hawkins, publisher Thomas Nelson

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About The Author

Image of O.S. Hawkins

O.S. Hawkins has served pastorates, including the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, for more than 25 years. A native of Fort Worth, he has three earned degrees (BBA, MDiv, and DMin) as well as several honorary degrees and is presently a PhD candidate at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the president of GuideStone Financial Resources, with assets under management of 16 billion dollars, serving 250,000 pastors, church staff members, missionaries, doctors, university professors, and other workers in various Christian

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