Tuesday, December 29, 2009



The space-time event in history of the birth of Jesus is filled with so many highlights. And everyone has his or her favorite thing to share about the Christmas story. Jesus was born on time and in the little town of Bethlehem according to the many ancient Prophets.

What fascinates me most about the birth of Jesus is how it all came about through a variety of unlikely players. The Jews very carefully kept track of their genealogies as they relate to the godly line of the Messiah. In Matthew the genealogical record is most likely that of Joseph's and the genealogical record in Luke seems to be that of his Mother Mary.

What is so amazing is that after all of the care to follow each step of the way of the Messiah's godly line, God purposefully inserts some very unlikely people. Let's call these skeletons in Jesus' closet. A skeleton in the closet usually has to do with the uglier side of our family line. Jesus had 7 skeletons in His closet that all have a potential ugly side. Let's look at each of them:

FIRST-Mary, His mother. Mary was a sinful woman just as any other woman on the planet. She was an admitted sinner by calling her son her Savior and was surprised at the choice of the angel to create the Messiah through her. This is the least ugly of the 7 skeletons and yet was a definite application of the grace of God to choose her. She clearly recognized that she personally was in need of the Savior she was to birth.

SECOND-David. Although we know David is known as a man after God's own heart, he was guilty of horrific sins. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and then set in motion the plan to have her husband, Uriah, killed in order to cover up his sin.

THIRD-Abraham. Remember, Abraham was a Gentile and God chose him to be the father of a new nation altogether-the people of Israel. Abraham's life was not a clean one, even though he was to be the father of all who believe. Two different kings brought Abraham's wife, Sarah, into their harems, because out of fear Abraham lied to each of them, saying that Sarah was his sister. What a horrible and shameful way to treat Sarah.

Even though David and Abraham were miserable sinners, Jesus the Messiah is known to be the son of David, the son of Abraham and proud of it. Then, within the genealogy of Jesus in a culture where genealogies were mostly dominated by men, there are four women, probably all Gentiles, who are included in the godly line of Messiah Jesus.

FOURTH-The first woman is Tamar, the Canaanite daughter-in-law of Judah. She resorted to deception, prostitution and even incest when she was unable to have a child. She tricked Judah into having sexual relations with her and she had twin boys, Perez and Zerah. Tamar and her son, Perez, both are included in the godly line of Jesus-both part of His sacred family tree.

FIFTH-The next woman who was also a Gentile was Rahab. She made prostitution her livelihood. Rahab risked her own neck to hide the spies of Israel when she lived in the ancient city of Jericho. Because of her faith and action on God's behalf, He agreed to spare her life and the lives of all her family during the battle of Jericho. She became the wife of Salmon and the mother of a godly man named Boaz. Boaz was David's great-grandson. By this marriage Rahab was inserted into the Messianic godly line that would produce Jesus.

SIXTH-The next Gentile woman, a Moabite, was Ruth. Although she was a former pagan and a Moabite, having no right to marry an Israelite, God's grace brought Ruth into the family of Israel, and through Boaz into the royal line. She became the grandmother of Israel's greatest king-King David.

SEVENTH-The final Gentile woman who was surprisingly in the godly line of Messiah Jesus is Bathsheba. Now get this! She entered the godly Messianic line through adultery with David. Their first son died in infancy, yet their second son was the great King Solomon, who was successor to David's throne.

As you can see the story of Christmas has some amazing surprises in it. These undeserving, Gentiles not Jewish, people were inserted into the godly list solely and completely by the grace of God.

So, in the birth of Jesus the Messiah, the skeletons in the closet turn out to be all about grace-amazing grace! This is the story of Christmas: That God's Messiah has come to deliver whoever will come to Him. This is truly what the Good News is all about. Jesus accepts and loves anyone and everyone-no matter your origin, ethnicity or religious beliefs. Jesus proves His love and acceptance by including four sinful women in His family tree. By the way, this means Jesus accepts you and loves you unconditionally, too. Therefore you can celebrate your brokenness, your ways of falling short, the many times you've missed the mark. Jesus simply overlooks all of your negative stuff and wants you to accept His light into your life that you might be whole. Now, that is a Merry Christmas that gets you ready for a very Happy New Year!

Don't forget! We're going through the Book of Acts for 28 days in a row. Don't miss this, beginning in the morning!