The Gnarled Family Tree of Jesus

Denise M. Kohlmeyer

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Jehoram — (also Joram) "When Jehoram had ascended the throne of his father and was established, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and also some of the princes of Israel…he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord (2 Chronicles 21:4, 6b);

Uzziah — (also Azariah) "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…nevertheless, the high places were not taken away" (2 Kings 15:3-4);

Jotham — "he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord...nevertheless, the high places were not removed" (2 Kings 34-35);

Ahaziah — (also Ahaz) "He did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God…he even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations…he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree;" furthermore, "he led the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom and made Judah go astray" (2 Kings 16:2b-4, 11);

Hezekiah — "he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…he trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him…he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered" (2 Kings 18:3, 5-7; 2 Chronicles 31:20-21);

Manasseh — "he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel…he built high places…he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah…he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger…Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 21:2-6, 16) ;

Amos — (also Amon) "he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…he walked in all the ways in which his father walked and served the idols that his father served and worshiped them. He abandoned the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord" (2 Kings 21:20-21);

Josiah — "he did what was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left;" he repaired the Temple, reformed Judah through the rediscovery the Law and restored the Passover (2 Kings 22:2);

Jechoniah — (also Jehoahaz) "he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 23:32);

Shealtiel — taken into captivity in Babylon (1 Chronicles 3:17);

Zerubbabel — first commander to lead a group back to Israel to begin repopulating the area and rebuild the Temple after being in Babylonian captivity 70 years ;

Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob — no information;

Joseph — earthly step-father of Jesus who honorably married Mary after she had immaculately conceived the Messiah.

Whew! And that's just the genealogy that goes back to Abraham. The one in the Book of Luke goes all the way back to Adam. So now you see for yourself that Jesus' lineage includes every kind of character imaginable. And here's the blessing: if God wasn't ashamed to include them in His Son's earthly ancestry — and even record them for everyone to see — nor should we be ashamed of our own ancestors, many of whom were just as sordid and sorry as our Savior's. Keep in mind too that we are not responsible nor accountable for them. They will give an account for themselves when they stand before God Almighty. Just as we will.

I love Biblical scholar Raymond Brown's explanation of Jesus' genealogy in comparison to ours:
The God who wrote the beginnings with crooked lines also writes the sequence with crooked lines, and some of those lines are our own lives and witness. A God who did not hesitate to use the scheming as well as the noble, the impure as well as the pure, men to whom the world harkened and women upon whom the world frowned — this God continues to work through the same mélange.

And here is another amazing thought: despite the despicable and dishonorable actions and behavior of some of Jesus' ancestors, God remained true to His promise to bring the Messiah through the line of David. Listen:
Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David because of the covenant that He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever. 2 Chronicles 21:7
While many forsook and broke their promises to follow wholly after God, HE never once forsook them, but remained wholly faithful to them and to His Davidic promise until it consummated in the righteous reign of Jesus Christ. Indeed, our God is the perfect Promise Keeper.

Yes, dear readers, our Family Trees have broken and twisted branches (some more than others), but our Sovereign God can — and does — graciously and gloriously make them straight by His forgiveness and redemption! It is all part of the wonderful story He has written in the past through our twisted lineages and continues to write in the present in our own broken lives. And for reasons my infinitesimal mind can't comprehend, it all brings Him glory, honor and praise!

So, am I afraid now of what I might find in my ancestral line, even if it is a Nazi collaborator? No! My ancestors' actions and behavior don't define me. Nor do they define you!

So, ancestry.com, here I come!

Image Credit: Tim Green; "Tree"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Family-Life  | Jesus-Christ

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Published 8-16-16