first 17 verses in Matthew when reading the Christmas story. To be honest, I thought it was dumb. Who cares about the family tree?
But if you look a little deeper, spend a some time looking at the names that are mentioned, you'll see something that further emphasizes the gospel message.
Something you miss when you skip over the passage.
Along with mentioning some giants of the faith, Matthew includes some unusual names.
Seriously, read the story of Tamar. Why would Matthew feels the need to include her name? Leave her out and
no one would notice.
Another name that is alluded to, but never mentioned, is Bathsheba. Matthew uses some curious phrasing when describing Solomon. "Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife."
Pour some salt on the wound while you're at it.
You see, when we write stories about our heroes we leave out the bad parts.
We don't mention the affairs
We don't mention the family who leaves because dad is 'married' to his ministry
We don't mention the second set of financial records
So why does Matthew deliberately mention a prostitute and adultery?
Because that's exactly who Jesus came for.
Matthew made a point, right from the start of the story, to make sure his audience knew Jesus came for the screw-ups, the sinners, the people who have messed up so badly they think there is no hope.
I used to skip over the first 17 verses in Matthew, but now I stop and reflect on the names. I'm reminded that the story of Christmas is not about Jesus coming to redeem the righteous, but rather those who know they are not.