Some families seem to go through the most traumatic of experiences. Yesterday I was reflecting on a house fire that was reported on a few days ago where 2 small children lost their lives, their parents survived. How do you get over that? Many in the world have to try. Every day is a struggle.
We are working through some names but they are chosen for a specific reason by Matthew and he gives small indicators to help us see what he is reminding us of in his genealogy of Jesus.
“Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.” (Matthew 1 v5-6)
Ruth was a Moabite and she fell in love and married Mahlon, an Israelite whose family had come to Moab as refugees escaping the famine in Bethlehem. She settled to this new life of marriage. It was upsetting when Mahlon’s father died but they took care of the mother, Naomi. Then after 10 years tragedy strikes, a double-blow. Both Mahlon and his brother die. Naomi is left with neither a husband nor sons. Ruth is a widow. The future is bleak indeed. Naomi returns home and after an argument, Ruth accompanies her. They return and they have one person to blame and it is God. God has wrecked their lives.
The story of Ruth is one of redemption but let us never forget the tragedy that she had to go through. That was steeped in their family story. Obed was born to a mixed-race parentage. However, there could have been an even more cruel twist if the Jewish Midrash is correct. “Boaz was 80 years old and Ruth 40 when they married (Ruth R. 6:2), and although he died the day after the wedding (Mid. Ruth, Zuta 4:13), their union was blessed with a child, Obed”
Family tragedy continues into the next generation with the arrival of Jesse who had 8 sons. But the youngest he never had any thoughts for, it would seem. He considered this son as the runt of the pack. He overlooked him and rejected him. Even though God chose and appointed him can you imagine the pain of that rejection for that son?
Then we come to not just David but King David, the second King of Israel. His name means ‘beloved’ but he found throughout his life that he was certainly not loved by everyone, even the closest of people. His adopted father, Saul, turned on him. David’s Psalm (59) is a song he wrote recollecting his thoughts of the time when Saul sent men to capture him and he fled and escaped through a window. His own son wanted him dead. His own family spent years jostling for power. Not to mention the external strife from the north and southern kingdoms, David just spent years of his life escaping or fighting. He is also remembered for some of his errors of which we will see next.
Can you see this genealogy of Jesus? Stories of tragedy, bitterness, rejection and family strife.
Jesus was born into that family line. If you were to share a story from your family tree. Even if you were to share your own personal story, He knows, because He has stories too.
And that is what is so brilliant about the genealogies!