Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God himself. By heaven’s plan, a body was prepared for him (Hebrews 10:5) and he came down from heaven to earth in the form of a human being many years ago. He did this through the passage of a normal, sinful virgin woman (Mary), after being conceived of the Holy Ghost.
No man was therefore responsible for his conception. He did not come to earth as a result of any human seed because he was conceived of the Holy Ghost.
Although he was God the Son, by heaven’s design, he came to earth humbly, making himself of no reputation (Philippians 2:7-8), so that he could die, his blood be shed and in so doing, he could save man from the power and penalty of sin, redeem them from the devil’s clutches and reconcile them with God the Father, from whom all mankind was estranged.
Of his purpose for coming to earth and the death that he would die sacrificially in our place, for our sin, Isaiah 53:1-10 prophesied:
- “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
- He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”
So pure and perfect is Jesus Christ, that, since he died and rose up again from the grave on the third day, his blood, which has the power to cleanse human beings from sin, has been applied to any person that believes in his resurrection and confesses with his mouth that indeed, he is Lord.
Leviticus 17:11 tells us, in reference to the practice in the Old Testament, where the blood of animals was formerly used and repeatedly to atone or offer a pardon for the sins of the Israelites: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
Hebrews 9:13-15, in making reference to the new Covenant and the power of the blood of Jesus which was shed, to save and cleanse from sin, tells us:
- “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Of the blood of Jesus which was shed for us when he was killed sacrificially on the cross, the Word of God states:
- “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” (Hebrews 13:12)
- “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:20)
- “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
- “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Revelations 1:5)
- “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
- “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
- “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”(Hebrews 9:22)
- “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (Romans 5:9)
- “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelations 12:11)
- “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
- “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” (Hebrews 10:19)
Undoubtedly therefore, Jesus is the Son of the true and living God, he is perfect, sinless, stainless and completely faultless. His life on earth was never marred by any sin and indeed, he is the only person (due to his divine nature), that never sinned but always pleased God his Father (Matthew 3:17).
One would think therefore, that, when it came to the earthly lineage that would lead to the time that Jesus Christ was born, that God would look for the most noble human beings, the most spiritual and the ones who had committed the least amount of sins, to form part of it. One would have thought that no person who was involved in any vile sin would have been permitted to form part of the earthly genealogy that led to the time the Son of God was to be birthed. However, this was not the case.
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND JESUS’ GENEALOGY
Whatever God does, he does deliberately. He does not second-guess himself or wonder if he made the right decision or consider changing his mind on something. In his wisdom, every action on his part and whatever he allows is subject to his complete sovereignty and control.
In Matthew 1 for example, we see that, although people lived their lives throughout the generations, making their decisions and generally living as they pleased, at the end of it, God still ensured that the generations from Abraham’s time to David were exactly fourteen (14) and from David to the carrying away of the Israelites into Babylon were exactly fourteen (14) and then from the time of Babylon to the time that Jesus Christ his Son was born was exactly fourteen (14).
This underscores the sovereignty of God. He is all powerful. Even when people are living their lives and thinking in their pride that they are in control of it and that everything that is taking place is as a result of their own decisions, there is one that is greater, who sits upon the throne and who rules in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17).
Given that nothing happens unless God allows it, the people who ended up being a part of the earthly genealogy that led to the time of Jesus Christ, did not end up there coincidentally. Even where they committed sin, which God hates and did not will for their lives, God chose deliberately for them to be included in the lineage, maybe as a testament to the extent of his saving GRACE, his willingness to FORGIVE sins once a person REPENTS and SURRENDERS his life to Him, his ability to still bring something beautiful out of an ugly situation, no matter how hideous and the awesome power of REDEMPTION.
Indeed, of Jesus Christ, who is our REDEEMER, Hebrews 7:25 states: “Wherefore he is able also to save them TO THE UTTERMOST that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
With this in mind, Matthew 1:1-6 reads:
- “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara OF THAMAR; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; And Salmon begat Booz OF RACHAB; and Booz begat Obed OF RUTH; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon OF HER THAT HAD BEEN THE WIFE OF URIAS…”
Shockingly, it is important to note, that when it came to the earthly lineage of God’s perfect, spotless, sinless Son:
- Of all people, God chose to include JUDAH, whose idea it was to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelite’s who were on their way to Egypt. He chose Judah, although Jacob had eleven (11) other sons, who, according to human reasoning, may have seemed far more noble in character, like Joseph or Benjamin;
- Of all people, God chose to include TAMAR, the woman that Judah mistakenly slept with thinking she was a wayside prostitute because she deliberately disguised herself in this manner and set out to deceive him. He later found out when she became pregnant with twins, that he had slept with the woman that had been his daughter-in-law on two (2) previous occasions, having been married to two (2) of his deceased sons in succession. Yet, perhaps to the disgust of man, God chose to include this woman in the lineage of Jesus Christ;
- Of all people, God chose to include PHARES (one of the twins that Tamar gave birth to due to her relations with Judah), although Judah had a third living son Shelah, who was not the product of this messy situation and therefore seemed to be the most noble choice of Judah’s three (3) living children, according to human reasoning. Yet, God did not choose Shelah, the son of Judah’s wife who had died but Phares, one of Tamar’s sons;
- Of all people, God chose to include RACHAB, the mother of Boaz, who, if she was Rahab the prostitute from Jericho (as is believed), whose life was spared because in faith, she helped the Israelite spies when they came to Jericho to spy out the land in advance of its overthrow, this would mean that God chose to include a woman who was from Jericho and who, before she was saved from Jericho’s overthrow was a filthy, vile prostitute, in the lineage. This he chose to do when he could have used some noble Israelite woman who was married to an Israelite man, to be the mother of Boaz. This would have been the thing to do, according to human reasoning but God decided instead, to choose RACHAB, a woman who had lived maybe for many years, as a worthless prostitute;
- God chose to include RUTH, who became the wife of Boaz, a non-Israelite woman with baggage, as she was also a childless, poor widow and of all despicable things to be, a Moabite! She had come from the shameful Moabite family that had its origins as a result of incest. The Bible tells us that Lot’s daughters got him drunk and lay with him after they had escaped Sodom and Gomorrah, which resulted in both of them becoming pregnant. The child of Lot’s first daughter was named Moab, who was the father of the Moabites. Yet, although God is all-wise and all-knowing and although he hates sin and could have chosen an Israelite woman that seemed far more noble than Ruth, to be wife to Boaz, he did not. He chose the woman associated with a shameful background, a widow, who had not a cent to her name, to be wife to Boaz, a wealthy, spiritual, man of God;
- God chose to include DAVID, the last born of Jesse’s eight (8) sons, the one who seemed to be the least esteemed, insignificant and who merely took care of the sheep. God bypassed all the other sons, even Eliab, who Samuel initially thought, according to human understanding and his appearance, must be the one God wanted to be King. Instead, God chose David, the simple shepherd boy, the youngest of his brothers, anointed him as King and put him on the throne of Israel. Yes he could have chosen another one of Jesse’s sons who seemed more noble and more significant and more worthy, according to human reasoning but he didn’t;
- God chose to include BATHSHEBA, the woman that David eventually married after he had committed adultery with her, got her pregnant and had her husband Uriah killed to cover his sin. God could have chosen to use another one of David’s wives or even his concubines with whom he never committed adultery and who therefore seemed more noble, according to human understanding, to birth the son that was to be the next King but he didn’t. He deliberately chose Bathsheba, the woman with whom David had shamefully sinned;
- God chose to include SOLOMON, the second son of David and Bathsheba, (after God had punished David by allowing the first child Bathsheba conceived for him to die), when he could have chosen any other of David’s sons by other women to whom he was married or with whom he had had lawful sexual relations, like with his concubines. Surely, according to human understanding, the children borne from these relationships were far more noble than Solomon, the son of the woman with whom David had so wickedly committed adultery, yet, God chose Solomon, even before he was conceived in Bathsheba’s womb and made him King as David’s replacement. 2 Samuel 12:24 states: “And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.”
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS?
After reading Matthew 1:1-6, one can’t help but ask, what is God trying to tell us? Given that he has purpose for everything he does, why did he allow some of the seemingly worst sinful people or people who were the product of the worst kind of sins, into the lineage of Jesus Christ?
Choosing such people was not an endorsement to sin but the portion of scripture which God ensured was recorded for us to read today, comes with some lessons.
- FIRSTLY, it demonstrates and reminds us that not one of us are without sin, whether big or small, little or great. Without exception, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and therefore, as human beings, we are all vile in the sight of God and in need of a Saviour. Mankind is sinful by nature. We are born this way due to sin being in our DNA from since the time of our ancestors, Adam and Eve and the choice they made to disobey God;
- SECONDLY, it demonstrates and reminds us of the extent of God’s grace. His grace is able to reach any situation, to redeem any person from their shameful, sinful past and to bring about beauty out of the worst, filthiest ashes;
- THIRDLY, it demonstrates and reminds us that no person who forms part of the body of Christ and that has been chosen by God as part of his elect is worthy of salvation. None of us deserve to be saved but God has not dealt with us according to our iniquities (Psalm 130:3). What was told to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 is the same principle that applies to those who God has chosen today, as his elect, to be saved from his wrath and partake of his eternal inheritance. In Deuteronomy 7:6-8, the Israelites were told:
- “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and REDEEMED you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
- FOURTHLY, it demonstrates and reminds us that God’s power to redeem is greater than all our mistakes and all our messes;
- FIFTHLY, it demonstrates and reminds us that there is no write-off with God. There is no person that is beyond his redemptive grasp. Upon belief, God can graft any person in to his family and into his purpose. In fact, God is able to use anyone for his purposes and His glory. He often uses the least likely candidate to showcase the extent to which he can take a bad, ugly, filthy situation, clean it up and then bring forth something that is beautiful and pure;
- SIXTHLY, it demonstrates and reminds us that, where there is repentance from sin and a heart wholly submitted to him, God does not dwell on our past as human beings tend to do or perpetually hold our sins against us and frown at us, fixated on our shortcomings as humans are prone to do. Once we have repented of our sins, God does not dismiss us as useless, scum, worthless, beyond hope and as people that he can never use in his Kingdom agenda. Indeed, some of his greatest work is reserved for people exactly like that, who have sinned greatly and have come to the cross and repented and sought his forgiveness. This we saw with Saul who later became Paul and Peter, one of Jesus ‘disciples;
- SEVENTHLY, it demonstrates and reminds us that God’s ways are not our ways. He does not think like man or reason like man. Many times, what he chooses to do and who he chooses for his Kingdom purposes, shocks us and will continue to shock us.
In summary, I think that the overall lesson to be learned from the genealogy referred to in Matthew 1:1-6 is that despite your past, no matter how horrid, how abusive, how sordid or how sinful, God is able to change the trajectory of your life and to give you a beautiful future, if you submit to Him through Jesus Christ his Son, THE GREAT REDEEMER.
You don’t have to stay in your sins. God is able to take you forward, to erase your past, no matter how ugly it may have been and to transform your life for the better.
Once you repent of your sins, believe in your heart on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and confess with your mouth that he is Lord and once you accept the fact that he died for your sins, so that upon your believing on him, you could be forgiven and every sin stain wiped away completely, if you resolve to surrender your life to His Lordship and submit to his Holy Spirit, God stands ready to cast your sinful past (even those that include sins done against you which involved you as a child or otherwise) into the sea of forgetfulness and to shape your future in such a way that it emits a beautiful fragrance, despite the stench of your past circumstances.
As Amar Rambisoon once stated:
- “Consider the fragrance of a rose. It was planted in foul smelling manure. Yet it does not exude the influence of its smelly roots. Lesson: We don’t have to blame our bad upbringing, our abused past, the horrible conditions we grew up in or our ugly experiences as an excuse for not exhibiting Jesus. There’s a miracle between the root and the petal – From MANURE to becoming MATURE. The Rose of Sharon can perfume our lives though planted in the sinfulness of human soil…”
(Written on 28th December, 2020)