A Fresh Look at the Story of Jesus

By Gayle Hadden
As our children grew up,
every Christmas eve we would read the Christmas story aloud, usually acting out
the various parts of the story to “bring it to life” for our children.
Actually, because Alyssa and Tiffany tended to fuss over who was going to get
to play the role of Mary, we usually had to read it twice.
We’ve never started at the
beginning of the story as Matthew tells it, but this year I think we will.
You see, Matthew 1
introduces us to Jesus through a lengthy (yawwwn!) genealogy. But I recently
discovered through Andy Stanley’s DVD, An
Unexpected Christmas
, that there’s some eye-popping family dirt
highlighted in this genealogy that would have made his contemporary Jewish
audience gasp at its inclusion. Was there really a need to dig some people out
of the family closet? Why allude to Judah who sold his brother Joseph into
slavery and committed incest with his daughter-in-law Tamar? Why include Rahab
“the harlot,” the foreign Gentile Ruth or Bathsheba’s husband Uriah whom King
David had murdered? Let’s face it, as a despised and traitorous Jewish tax
collector, Matthew himself was unqualified to be in the lineup as a disciple of
Jesus the Messiah. And that’s the point he makes in this genealogy.
Jesus was born in a dirty,
stinky stable at an inconvenient time to poor parents besieged by whisperings
behind their backs, staggering Roman taxes and religious oppression steeped in
a system of hypocrisy. He was born into a human family with shame and guilt and
mixed bloodlines, and yet, he lived without sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He is
Immanuel, God with us!
And THAT’S the point of
Matthew’s strange genealogy. Jesus identified with broken, dirty people. They
were His people. Compassion and healing flowed from Him to them. As women who
battle in prayer, you and I are His kind of people. Matthew highlights that in
9:12 as Jesus says, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Jesus’
story isn’t received by the “well” people, who piously and falsely think they
will be good enough to get to heaven on their own merit.
No, Jesus’ story was
written for His people, those of us who know we and our children are sick with
sin and need the healing touch of the Great Physician.
Matthew’s genealogy
isn’t just the beginning of Jesus’ story … it IS the story.
May His birth and His
salvation touch you afresh.

Merry Christmas,
Gayle

Gayle Hadden is the Moms in Prayer Heartland Regional Director. She married to Terry, her high school sweetheart from Topeka, Kansas, in 1977. They have three young adult children, a son-in-law and a grandchild. Gayle loves playing with her granddaughter, boating, directing church dramas, bird watching, sewing and LOTS of chocolate.

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