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Jesus' Family Tree – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2023 1:00 am

Jesus' Family Tree – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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December 8, 2023 1:00 am

We'd like to think that kings come from a royal line with ancestors of high moral quality, but they don’t always. Jesus Himself came from a royal line, but it contained questionable, sinful characters. In this message, Pastor Lutzer suggests two transforming lessons from the lineage of Jesus. Jesus is one of us, but in His case, without sin.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. We'd like to think that kings come from a royal line with ancestors of high moral quality, but we know this is seldom true. Jesus also came from a royal line, but it contained some unsavory characters. He is one of us, but in His case, without sin. Today, more on the back story of where Jesus came from.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win, with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, do you think Jesus was aware of the people in His line that were less than perfect? Dave, there's a tremendous amount of mystery when it comes to the divine nature of Christ and the human nature, how they intersected. But of course, even from a human point of view, Jesus would have known about His ancestors. He'd have known about their failures.

He would have also known about their forgiveness. What a marvelous Savior we have, and as we anticipate Christmas, we're reminded of the fact that He came for us. I'm holding in my hands a devotional entitled God's Best for My Life by Lloyd John Ogilvy. What this devotional does is every single day of the year, it has a scripture reading, but it also has some nuggets of truth to help focus your mind as you think about your day. For a gift of any amount, we're making it available for you. Here's what you do. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's or 1-888-218-9337. And now let us contemplate our Savior from heaven, yes, but born into a human family. So that's the story of Tamar, story of incest, immorality.

Who's next in the list here? Well, in terms of women, you have Rahab, another Canaanite. This is verse five. And Solomon, the father of Boaz by Rahab. Rahab, everyone knows that Rahab was a prostitute. And you know the story of how she is there in Jericho, the spies, the Israelite spies come and they want to spy out the land and they come to her place.

I guess it was kind of the meeting spot because she was kind of the Heidi Fleiss, if you know, of that particular generation. And she believes in Jehovah. She believes that Jehovah is the true God. She disbelieves in the gods of the Canaanites and she misleads the Secret Service of Jericho because they're looking for these spies. She tells them, in fact, an untruth and she sends the spies away and then says, remember me because I'll have a cord that will come on the other side of the wall. And when you see me, spare my house when Jericho collapses. And they kept that word. So that's Rahab's story.

Rather sordid, I would say. And then the other woman, the other women, I should say, the next is Ruth. Now she's a Moabitess. She's a Moabitess, which they were regarded as kind of cousins to the Israelites. But again, because they were cousins, they were half-breeds and generally despised by the Jews. And then we have Bathsheba. Now Bathsheba isn't specifically mentioned by name, but look at there in verse 6. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah. And that, of course, indicates Bathsheba because you know the story well, don't you? Now Bathsheba was an Israelite, but she was one who had a mixed marriage because her husband, Uriah, who is very loyal to David, her husband was a Hittite. Who in the world are the Hittites?

The Hittites were a tribe within the Canaanite population. So she's in this particular marriage. David, of course, brings her over to the palace. Sometime later, she sends him a note and says, I'm pregnant, signed B. And David realizes that what was supposed to be just a casual affair turns out to be very complicated. And he ends up killing Uriah, and you know the rest of the story. And Bathsheba, by the way, becomes the mother of Solomon. And God says, regarding Solomon, and the Lord loved him. Isn't God full of grace?

Full of grace and mercy and forgiveness. Now, in order to understand this, notice that there are two walls that are just smashed in this genealogy. The first wall is between Jew and Gentile. Right immediately, Matthew wants to understand that Jesus isn't just the Messiah to the Jews. Jesus is the Savior to the Gentiles. Matthew wants us to understand that.

But more than that, another wall also goes tumbling down. And that's the wall between men and women. God, through his word and through the inspiration of Matthew, is saying, women can be included, too, in the genealogy. And yes, these women, for the most part, had a sordid past. But if God can include them, he can include anybody in his grace and mercy. And anyone can become a member of Jesus Christ's family tree. Jerome, the Bible translator, looked at these women in the text and says, everyone is a sinner and that is why they are here. This is a chapter about grace. They obviously could not have saved themselves.

In fact, no one can. And there it stands. Talk about a skeleton in Jesus Christ's family tree. Luther said, all these women are foreigners.

And he says, we are all foreigners. He says, they are out of their country, but they are included in God's matchless grace and in his genealogy. Hendrickson, a commentator, says, it is through such a channel of iniquity, the Savior, according to his human nature, was willing to pass on his way from the glories of heaven to the incarnation and the crucifixion.

It is through that channel that Jesus Christ has come to us. So Jesus Christ is related, obviously, who'd show up for his family picnic. Well, the Jews certainly would.

The genealogy is clear. But so would the Gentiles. They also would show up as they think about his family tree. And then we would also.

We would also. The Bible says in the book of Hebrews that Jesus is related to all of us. He said, we have a savior, it says in Hebrews, who is not unable to identify with us because he was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, most assuredly. Now, of course, God knows exactly what we're going through because he's God. But with the coming of Jesus, you have an added dimension. Jesus can say, I not only know all the details of your experience, but I have personally experienced it. Experience rejection. I know what it's like. Injustice. I know what it's like hunger.

I've been there. And so he identifies with all of us. There's a verse in the book of Hebrews that I've often pondered. It says in chapter two, in effect, that God's intention is to bring many sons into glory. God says, I have one son, but I want more. And it is through suffering that these sons and daughters are brought into glory along with Jesus, who also had to go through suffering.

And then it says, wherefore, because of this, he is not ashamed to call us his brothers. Do you have a relative that you would prefer to not attend the family picnic? You know, every family tree has a little bit of sap. Some have more than others. There are some people that they show up and you say, I hope they won't be here too long.

Some people you don't want to be identified with. Here's Jesus who says, you know, he says to you and to me, for believers, I'm not ashamed to call you my brother. Wow. Thank you, Jesus. And he's not ashamed to call us his brothers. As a matter of fact, because God has one son and he's brought him into glory and is bringing us into glory, because of that, the Bible says that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

Oh, think about it, because we're going too fast this morning. Just imagine, God says, I make no distinction between the inheritance that Jesus will receive and the inheritance that you will receive. I'm not ashamed. He isn't ashamed to say you are my brother.

Wow. So Jesus is related to us too. And as we think about this genealogy, I'd like to make two life transforming comments.

First of all, it is obvious that there is more grace in God's heart than there is sin in your past. You know, I read this and of course I've studied this genealogy before and even preached on it many years ago, but I never realized until yesterday that Perez and Zara are included in this genealogy. They are the children of Tamar impregnated by her father-in-law. You know, we live in an age of dysfunctional family. Some of you, God bless you. You don't know who your father is.

I've talked to some of you and you don't know that. And what a hole that creates within your heart, or maybe you never received the approval of your father and on and on it goes. The other day I was listening to a CD about a man who was telling how they adopted a little child who had been, whose father was a rapist. And they adopted that child because they said, you know, he has no responsibility for what happened.

And so they're raising this child for the glory of God and the honor of his name. We live in a very, very broken world, but it's not a new world. Just look at the genealogy of Jesus. Brokenness all over the place. We could go through and we could find out more skeletons in Jesus Christ's closet in his family tree.

Matthew is saying to you and to me, immediately, please understand that Jesus Christ is for everyone and the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people. Let me talk to you just a moment about the harlot Rahab. Here she is. She is a Canaanite.

She's living in Jericho. She's running this brothel and she believes in God Jehovah and she invites the spies, your member, to leave in another way as I mentioned. And what does the New Testament say about her? Hebrews chapter 11, you know the passage that has all the heroes of faith.

This is the one chapter that is like a gallery. You walk through and you see Abraham and David and of course you also see Noah. And in fact, it begins with Abel and goes all the way through and she's listed there as a heroine of faith. And then in James chapter two, I was struck by this. James says Abraham was justified by faith.

Well, we understand that, but then it says in the very same way, the harlot Rahab was also declared righteous by God. Talk about hope. Hope for women. Yes, hope for lecherous evil men who misuse women.

About a third or I should say about a quarter, all baby girls born this year will at some time be molested by evil people, perverted people, brokenness all over the place. But in the midst of this, Jesus comes. He comes to darkness, but he gives light and he gives hope. And there is more grace in God's heart than there is sin in your past. So what are you bringing to Jesus today? I tell you, man to man, listen, he's adequate for it. He's adequate for it for sinners like you and me. And second, of course, and this will be the focus of my last message in this series. Your spiritual family is even more important than your physical family.

No matter what your genealogy may be, the fact is that Jesus invites you to be a member of his family, his family, so that you can look into the eyes of God and say, father. Unfortunately, we don't have the opportunity when you live in the Chicago area, we don't have much of an opportunity to see stars here. Usually when we do, there are stars of a different kind. But you know, when you're out in the prairie, am I going too fast? Maybe when you're out in the prairie and you can walk out in the night. I've often done this, particularly as a child growing up in Canada where it really gets dark in the night and you can see the northern lights. You walk under this canopy and you look into the stars and you say, he is my father.

Wow. That's what Jesus came to enable us to do through faith in him. I love to tell the story about World War I. There was a group of soldiers whose comrade was killed, and that of course was in the days before bodies were shipped to be buried here in the United States. So they were looking for a place to bury their comrade. And they went to a Catholic cemetery and asked the priest if he could let them bury their friend in the cemetery. And the priest said no, because he said this is a Catholic cemetery. If your friend wasn't Catholic, he can't be buried here. Well, they felt very sad about it, but what are you going to do?

Necessity is the mother of invention. They decided to dig a grave just outside of the fence and bury him there. Close, but not inside. The next day they came by because they wanted to bring some flowers and so forth and they couldn't find the grave. They wondered what happened. They went past the fence and it wasn't there. And then the priest said this, he said, I couldn't sleep because of what I told you.

He said, what I said wasn't right. My conscience troubled me so much that this morning got up very, very early and I moved the fence to include your comrade within the premises. You know what Jesus is doing here in the first chapter of Matthew in this genealogy, his family tree?

What he's doing is saying, hey, I move in the fence. Am I Jewish? Absolutely.

Those are my roots. Am I just the Messiah to the Jews? Absolutely not. Included are Canaanites and Hittites and a whole lot of other ites and even megabytes. They're all included in God's program and by God's grace. Now that doesn't mean that we are automatically included. Doesn't mean that God's just taken the fence and moved it and now anybody and everybody, listen, the opportunity of God's grace is open for everyone. But the Bible even says that many are called but few are chosen.

The Bible says that there are many people who walk by who do not avail themselves of the opportunity to receive God's grace and forgiveness and to become his child so that so that they can be members of God's family and live with him eternally. What is Christmas all about? Christmas is God's farthest reach.

Christmas is God at eye level saying, I love you. I care about you and I'm here to redeem you. Will you let me?

The willingness has to do with you. The invitation is to everyone. Let us bow together in prayer. Our Father, we want to thank you today for this genealogy. Thank you for Jesus Christ's family tree that right from the beginning opened up the gospel to all people. No one has fallen too far.

No one is racially too disenfranchised. Everybody's here because you died for people in their sin and their brokenness and all of us are thankful because we're all there. Now, Lord, would you encourage your people for those who have never trusted Christ as savior? You're listening to this message maybe by way of internet or right here, the Moody Church.

You've never trusted him. Would you at this moment say, Jesus, I want you as my savior. Thank you that I'm included, but I want to specifically be included.

Would you tell him that? Father, we ask in Jesus name, save those who need to be saved, encourage those who need to be encouraged and may all of us delight in the fact that Jesus came to rescue us from ourselves and our sins. We pray in his name. Amen. Amen.

Well, this is Pastor Lutzer. You've heard me say this before, but Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It's a time of relationships. It's also a time of giving. And even as we anticipate the end of the year, I hope that many of you consider very seriously and pray about the possibility of giving a gift to the ministry of running to win. It's because of people just like you that this ministry continues to expand. And we are so deeply grateful for the opportunity to be in so many different countries in so many different languages. Thank you for helping us.

And we also want to help you. We have a resource that we think will be a tremendous blessing as you enter a brand new year. It's entitled God's Best for My Life by Lloyd John Ogilvie. It's a daily devotional that will give you nuggets of truth to focus your mind and to remind you that God is with us.

Now, for a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, if you're like me, sometimes you hear info and you don't have a pen or pencil in hand, so I'll give you this info again. Go to or pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Thank you so much in advance for helping us. It's time now for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Luly lives in Florida and is just 14 years old. This young listener has a very perceptive question about Matthew chapters 21 through 23. In reading through these chapters, we come up against the relentless questioning by the scribes and Pharisees. If Jesus knows everything, that is, that they're trying to trap him, that they're going to come up with another question and then yet another question, and that they don't have good intentions, why does he continue to answer? Well, first of all, let me say how delighted I am that we have a 14-year-old who listens to Running to Win.

I hope we have thousands of them throughout the country. I hope that they are all as perceptive as this 14-year-old. Yes, it is true that the scribes and the Pharisees asked Jesus many questions, and he answered them.

Couple of comments. First of all, yes, of course, Jesus knows all things. He knew exactly what they were going to ask him, and he knew the answers to all the questions that they would ask him. However, if you ask the question, well, why is it that Jesus bothered to answer them because they were insincere or whatever? Keep in mind that Jesus was a kind person, but also remember that he gave answers for our benefit. You know, I'm sometimes reminded of what happened there in the Garden of Eden where God said to Adam, Adam, where are you? Now, this is a little bit different because God is asking the question, but God asks the question not so that he might find information, but he wanted Adam to tell him. Well, that's why sometimes Jesus Christ in his interactions asked questions. He often did, and sometimes he answered questions that he in turn was asked.

Always, it gives us deeper insight into his character and insight into what he was thinking. Good question. God bless, and above all, keep listening. Thank you, Lully, for that great question, and keep reading in your Bible. Dr. Lutzer, thank you for that answer, and to our listeners, if you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. The first bracket back from anyone's family tree contains their parents. Since he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus only had an earthly mother, and next time on Running to Win, we'll look at Mary in detail. We'll learn about her incredible destiny, a destiny that set her apart from all other women before or since. Plan to join us for Jesus's Mother. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-08 02:33:27 / 2023-12-08 02:42:01 / 9

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