A Very Matthean Christmas – Part 3 (Matt 1:1-17)

The final unexpected character in Jesus’ family tree (see the previous two days’ posts) isn’t even named. So far we’ve seen Tamar, involved in one of the earliest sex-scandals in Israel’s history. Then Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute. And Ruth, a Moabite woman. All giving us clues as to what Jesus was going to be about – showing God’s forgiveness to sinners, God’s kindness to the poor, and God’s heart for people from all nations. And then we read on, to find the last woman mentioned:

1:3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife

Uriah’s wife? That would be Bathsheba. Referred to as the one who “had been Uriah’s wife” as a way of highlighting the scandal. You might remember the story from 2 Samuel 11. I’m going to outsource most of today’s notes to one of my favourite video clips by John Piper. He reminds us of the story, before showing how this relates to what Jesus came to do.

(Watch from 23 mins 11 sec until end. It should auto-start from that point.)

It’s powerful stuff. And here, before Jesus is even born in the Christmas story, this incident in the life of King David is highlighted by Matthew. Showing that Jesus came to bring good out of the sinful mess his world had become. Where even “a man after God’s own heart” can mess up this badly.

David had other children. One of them could have become king. But Solomon did. One of them could have been the line through which Jesus would come. But it was through the child conceived from an adulterous relationship that God chose. Doesn’t that tell us so much about what kind of God we serve? What kind of saviour Jesus would be? And that no matter what it is we’ve done, how much God is prepared not only to forgive, but to continue to work his purposes in our lives?

Sure, there will be consequences for our sin in this life. After all, David and Bathsheba’s first child died. But through it God can still work. That’s the Christmas message.

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