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A Twisted Family Tree | Jesus' Earthly Ancestry

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 22, 2023 3:00 am

A Twisted Family Tree | Jesus' Earthly Ancestry

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 22, 2023 3:00 am

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Some of the genealogy TV shows are fascinating. They trace the ancestry of a famous actor or music artist. So often, hopes are high that they can trace the lineage back to a regal monarch from a faraway land. But sometimes all they find is a regular ol’ horse thief from a nearby county. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie takes us to Jesus’ family tree. It’s a fascinating tour of the colorful characters God chose for Jesus’ earthly ancestry.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at There's a story to be told in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Pastor Greg Laurie helps us trace the earthly ancestry of Jesus, and there are a few people you wouldn't expect. We all have strange people in our family trees. Well, you might be surprised to know that Jesus had a few robes in the gallery of his family tree.

I'm talking about prostitutes, liars, cheats, adulterers, and even a murderer. Some of the genealogy TV shows are fascinating. They trace the ancestry of a famous actor or music artist. So often hopes are high that they can trace the lineage back to a regal monarch from a faraway land.

Sometimes all they find is a regular old horse thief from a nearby county. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie takes us to Jesus Family Tree, a fascinating tour of the colorful characters God shows for Jesus' earthly ancestor. If you're going to be home for the holidays, that means you're probably going to get together with your family. And let's admit it, we all have weird families.

You don't need to qualify, well my family's weird. Everybody's family is a little bit weird, right? We all have that obnoxious uncle, that strange aunt, that twisted cousin, and grandpa's getting crazier every year, right? We all deal with that in varying degrees. Maybe you have other complications in your family, maybe your parents are divorced, so you're going to go visit mom and her new husband and dad and his new girlfriend and all the drama that can come this time of the year. Then sometimes we have family members that come from out of town and they won't leave. And so it's a lot of stress.

Instead of it being the most wonderful time of the year, it can actually in some ways be the most stressful time of the year. You know, a big trend right now for people is tracing their family roots. In fact, I read that 26 million people have taken an at-home ancestry test.

How many of you have done that? Where you've done, you know, those little, what is it, 23andMe or something like that, there's a few of them out there, wondering where you came from, what your roots are, etc. Oh, there's a genealogist that attends our church and he actually took my family tree following my grandmother and my grandfather and went back and it was really kind of surprising. I did find out I am actually related to Johnny Cash for sure.

I haven't wondered about that, but it's true. My great-grandmother was named Lutetia Cash and she came from the same Cash family that Johnny came from emigrating from Scotland. This is another funny thing. I found out that I'm a distant cousin of Steve McQueen and I also found out that I'm also related to Billy and Ruth Graham, more specifically Ruth Graham. So I thought, I've written books about all these people. I also found out I'm distantly related to Walt Disney and I'm wondering, can I get Disney passes because it's now $5,000 to go to Disneyland for one day and that's just one park, not California Adventure.

Crazy. Okay, so that sounds kind of cool, but then I found out there's some unsavory people in my family tree as well, starting with Benedict Arnold. Ever heard of him? Best known for being a traitor. I'm also related to John Dillinger, a criminal and murderer, and I'm related to Jesse James.

Oh, fantastic. So I found out I'm related to a traitor and two outlaws. So I bring this out to say we all have strange people in our family trees. We all have curious people in our existing families.

We have some heroes and we probably have a few zeros. Well, you might be surprised to know that Jesus had a few rogue rogues in the gallery of his family tree. I'm talking about prostitutes, liars, cheats, adulterers, and even a murderer. The family tree of Jesus Christ was decorated with notable sinners. So if you think you're the only person who was a relative who embarrasses you, understand Jesus had it as well in his family tree. And we look back on that and we realize that there's a story to be told in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, which is presented in two gospels. It's presented in both the gospel of Luke and the gospel of Matthew. Matthew's gospel presents a genealogy of Christ through Joseph.

Luke's gospel presents a genealogy of Jesus Christ through Mary. And both go back to the house of David. So I want to look at some of these people because I think it just goes to show that God can redeem the problems of our lives. He can bring good out of the bad. And as the Bible says, he can bring beauty out of ashes. So let's read a genealogy together.

You ready for this? Matthew 1, verse 1. The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begot Isaac. Isaac begot Jacob. Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar.

Perez begot Hezron and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amenadab and Amenadab begat nation and nation begat Elvis. And just wanted to see if you're listening. Am I losing you already? Hold on.

We're almost done. Simon begot Boaz by Rahab. Boaz begot Obed by Ruth. Obed begot Jesse and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

That would be Bathsheba. Solomon begot Rehoboam. Rehoboam begot Abijah. And Abijah begot Asa.

Now drop down to verse 15. Iliad begot Eleazar. Eleazar begot Mathen. Mathen begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

So we'll stop there. So there's some surprising names in the family tree of the Messiah. Normally Jewish genealogies do not include women. For instance in Luke's genealogy there are no women included. But Matthew includes five. And who are these women that are included? Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and of course Mary.

Some of these women were pretty questionable in their character. Yet they made it into the most exclusive genealogy in all of human history. So what does this tell us? It tells us the reason Jesus came. It's not about helping perfect people.

It's saving lost people. A key part of this story really is in the Christmas story is we have God doing for sinners what they can't do for themselves. And why did Jesus come in the first place? To give us a reason to go shopping and get ourselves in debt?

Of course not. Jesus came to heal broken lives and to restore shattered hopes. He came to save His people from their sin.

Remember the message is you will call His name Emmanuel for He will save His people from their sin. So now we come to Mary the mother of Jesus. Now there's other women mentioned in this genealogy.

Rahab and Tamar are both immoral women. But here's Mary mentioned as well. Now Mary was the opposite of an immoral woman. She was a virtuous godly young girl who of course was a virgin and she was living in a very ungodly place known as Nazareth. Her story is not of immorality forgiven as it was for the others but it was of a woman living in obscurity discovered.

She was a peasant girl living in a nowhere town in a nowhere place in the middle of nowhere. Nazareth was sort of a place you stopped at on your way to another place. And it was a place where Roman soldiers would spend time and more than one young woman in Nazareth might find herself pregnant outside of wedlock because of this. So it was known for wickedness. You know different cities are known for different things. You know Paris is the city of lights and Jerusalem is a city of gold and New York is a city that never sleeps and Las Vegas is what?

Well you seem to know a lot about that don't you? Well Nazareth could be known as Sin City too. And here in this Sin City if you will in this nowhere place that was a stopover on a place to somewhere else in this place that could be called the Barstow of the Bible. Does anyone go to Barstow? We stop there right?

Get gas, food, and move on to the river right? In this place God finds this young woman and chooses her. Handpicks her to be the mother of the Messiah and so Gabriel comes to her. Now there's different rankings of angels. There's only one angel that's called an archangel in the Bible and that's Michael. But surely Gabriel is close to the ranking of Michael and maybe he too is an archangel. But he appears in both the Old and New Testaments. So when an angel of the Lord shows up it's a big deal. But when Michael or Gabriel show up it's even a bigger deal.

This was a special assignment. I'm sure every angel in heaven wanted to be the one to deliver this good news. That after 400 years of silence, not a single miracle, not a single prophet, not a single word from the Lord, the silence would be broken and Gabriel would announce to Mary that the Messiah was coming and she was going to have the privilege of being his mother. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.

Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Glad you're along today for a fascinating holiday message from Pastor Greg called A Twisted Family Tree. Pastor Greg is unwrapping the Christmas story. So here's what happened in Luke chapter 1 verse 26. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. Having come in the angel said to her rejoice highly favored one the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and when she saw him she was troubled at his saying and considered what manner of greeting this was.

Now let's stop there. Let's clear up a misconception about Mary and what this all meant. In verse 28 when he says rejoice highly favored one the Lord is with you blessed are you among women he's really just extending a message of grace to her.

Sometimes we're taught to pray hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with you blessed are you among women. Mary was not emanating grace. Mary was a recipient of grace you see. Mary was not born of immaculate conception. She like any other woman was a sinner and later in her psalm of praise sometimes called the Magnificat recorded in the gospel of Luke she actually said my soul rejoices in God my savior.

So Mary indeed was a sinful woman but she was given a special privilege. Imagine how you would react ladies if an angel came to you and made this announcement to you. Actually the word that is used here for agitated comes from the Greek word freak outo.

We get our English phrase freak out. I'm not serious. That was a joke of course I think you knew that. But why would an angel of the Lord appear to her of all people. I mean I don't think she thought she would merit this. I don't think she sat in the synagogue when they were reading scripture and came to the passage in Isaiah that said behold a a virgin will conceive and bring forth the Messiah. I don't think she thought that's me for sure. I can't say the thought never crossed her mind but it seems unlikely. You know she had just followed the normal trajectory of her life. She would have married a nice Jewish boy. They would have had a family and they would have lived and died in this little town known as Nazareth. But God hand picked her because she was a humble woman and she was chosen for this special privilege.

And it's an amazing thing. So we we talk a lot about Mary at Christmas and I think we should. But I think the unsung hero of the Christmas story is Joseph.

You know there's really no songs about Joseph are there. We have Mary did you know. There's no Joseph did you know. It's just like we just sort of moved Joseph from the narrative. And you know it is interesting because Mary lived on. Mary was alive when Jesus was crucified. So she was there throughout his childhood and Joseph sort of disappears from the scene. It's probably because he died and that's why. But he is a hero of the Christmas story because just as surely as God chose Mary to be the woman who would bear the Messiah in her womb God also handpicked Joseph to be the father figure or stepfather on earth for Jesus.

I mean that's a big deal. God says I want a man that reflects my character. I want a man that will be a great father figure for my son as he's growing up as a young boy. A man that will teach my son how to put in a good day's work.

A man that will be an example of what a man should be. I'm choosing Joseph. What a privilege that was for Joseph.

But of course that privilege came with some awesome responsibilities and some hardships as well. You see when Mary told Joseph I'm pregnant and it's you know an angel came to me and and I'm going to be the mother of the Messiah he was like uh-huh right. He didn't believe it. He wasn't buying it. He loved her but he wasn't buying it. And the Bible says he was willing to put her away quietly.

In other words Mary I'm not going to make a big deal about this but clearly the wedding is off and we're done and my heart is broken and I don't believe what you're saying to me. So the Lord sends an angel to him too. And in Matthew chapter 1 verse 20 while he's thinking about these things the Bible says an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said Joseph son of David don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit and shall bring forth the son and he will call his name Jesus and he will save his people from their sins. Now Joseph could have said Lord I believe this is true but I don't want to be a part of this because you know what when I go down to the work site with the other guys no one's going to believe this. And that's pretty much true. Even into his adult years they said of Jesus that he was born of fornication.

In other words you were born out of wedlock. Why should we listen to you? That was a reputation Mary had to live with. That is a reputation Joseph had to put up with but they were willing to make this sacrifice for God's glory to be the unique instruments that the Lord would use in this amazing story.

There'll never be another Joseph and Mary. They have a unique place in biblical history but yet God used them. And I think what we see in this genealogy and even in the people that God picked Mary and Joseph we see God going out of his way to work through ordinary people.

You know God took nobody's to go to everybody to talk about somebody. And I bring this up because maybe you feel like you know my life doesn't really matter and I'm never going to touch anybody else's life or impact anyone. Listen everything you've gone through in your life up to this point has either been done by or allowed by God to make you into the man or woman he wants you to be. He's preparing you both for what is ahead in this life and for the afterlife as well.

So we need to just say all right Lord I don't have a lot to bring to the table but what I have I offer to you now. Use my life. I speak especially to you younger people. You have your life ahead of you and you have a future and God wants to use your life. And you know I came to Christ at 17. I made a commitment to follow him and offered to the Lord what I had which was very little and anything good that has come out of my life has been a result of just God working. But I've discovered that God can do a lot with a little. You know when we think of the story of the feeding of the 5,000 and how Jesus multiplied that food. Why did he need to multiply food? He could have materialized food.

He could have spoken and it would have rained in and out burgers from heaven followed up by Krispy Kreme donuts right. God didn't need a little boy's lunch to multiply but it's interesting how he chose to work that way. So how are we going to feed all these people Jesus asks. And someone says there's a little boy here with some loaves and fishes and he presents them to Jesus and the Lord multiplies them. So it's not our job to feed the 5,000.

It's our job to bring the loaves and fish right. God's the multiplier. God's the one that takes it and does something with it but we have to be the one that says here it is Lord. Here's what I offer. Here's my meager offering. Here's my little thing that I bring to you and you watch what God will do. Some good counsel from Pastor Greg Laurie today on A New Beginning is from a fascinating message called A Twisted Family Tree. As we've been talking about being used by the Lord maybe your relationship with God is a little different. God seems a bit more distant or you're more distant. Maybe you're thinking about a change and having a real relationship with the Lord. Pastor Greg what would you share with that listener?

Well they just need to hear more. They need to hear what the essential gospel message is and I've got a great resource for you. We've set up a web page that's called You go there. I have a video presentation of how you accept Christ, lead you in a prayer, and then it links to other spiritual resources that will help you grow spiritually. So just go to Do it right now. All right. You know Pastor Greg you've been reaching out with the gospel for a long time now and we often hear from people who found the Lord way back in the early days of your ministry.

In fact listen to this. Pastor Greg I was saved as a five-year-old little girl while listening to you preach the gospel. It was 1995 at Angel Stadium and I knew even at that age that I needed to make my way down for the altar call.

It's a day I will never forget. Even down to the Harvest Crusade counselor who prayed with me and my parents. I am now serving Jesus every day in walking out my calling. I just watched your movie Jesus Revolution and cried watching your story unfold. I'm so grateful that you accepted the call to Jesus all those years ago.

Thank you Pastor Greg. Well I love that five years old you know a lot of times we think oh the kids don't understand oh they understand. They understand a whole lot more than you think they do and a commitment can be made to Christ at an early age that will last a lifetime as shown in what we just heard. You know Dave I'm amazed at how many times I get letters from folks that say we listen to a new beginning on the way to school or as we're driving around and the parents will say and my children have come to the Lord listening as well. So that's why I always try to illustrate my messages why I use humor in my messages because I always think of those little kids that might be listening in on what we're saying. In fact they're listening right now so hey kids how you doing we love you we love you and this is for you too.

So let me talk to your mom and dad or your grandparents for just a moment and say let's do everything we can to reach this younger generation. By the way we're doing something we're very excited about that we're going to announce in the first of this year but we are going to get into animation. As you may know I used to be a cartoonist if you saw the Jesus Revolution film you saw that my character Greg was always drawing and that was very true. So I have this little character his name is Ben Bornagain and he has a dog named yellow dog who talks it's a cartoon you can do that in cartoons and so we have animated Ben Bornagain and yellow dog and this is going to be a cartoon that will be entertaining it's going to be fun lots of gags and jokes to keep the attention of the little ones but then it has a very direct gospel message complete with a prayer the little kid could pray to ask Christ to come into their life.

So if you follow me on social media you'll see little things I'm going to release but in the beginning of this year you're going to be able to see the animated version of that living water track that I drew that was featured in the Jesus Revolution film and be introduced to the cartoon adventures of Ben Bornagain and yellow dog. But listen if you believe in reaching this next generation if you believe that people need to hear about Jesus Christ I'm going to ask you to bring a generous year-end gift to us here at A New Beginning Harvest Ministries and in doing so you're hoping to reach those little five-year-olds and those 55-year-olds and those 85-year-olds and everyone in between because everyone needs to hear the gospel so be generous and invest in the future with the only message that can change the human heart the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yeah that's right and it's easy to get in touch with us just call 1-800-821-3300.

We're here 24 7 to take your call that's 1-800-821-3300 or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or just go online to Well next time more practical insight from the pages of God's word. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Laurie. Hey everybody thanks for listening to A New Beginning this is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners so for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner just go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-22 05:33:28 / 2023-12-22 05:42:57 / 9

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