We all have those stories, some more painful than others: the embarrassing stories of our ancestors. In East Tennessee, almost everyone has a great uncle who either made or ran moonshine—sometimes one of each. Many of us know family stories of bank robbers, army deserters, cheaters, or gamblers. These are the stories we pull out for entertainment at reunions or with the teenager’s new boyfriend or girlfriend. One day, I’m going to write a book of stories about my grandmother and great-grandmother. You wouldn’t believe some of the things they did!
Other stories are buried further back in the closet, back where the bare light bulb at the top of the chain doesn’t shine. These are the stories we wish we didn’t know, the stories to which our parents only allude, and then only when no one outside the blood family can hear, and which they always accompany with a raised eye-brow that says, “Nothing further need be said.”
Still, those buried stories creep out to define us in our most vulnerable moments.
They tell us we can’t change our fundamental nature.
They tell us we will end up just like that relative.
They tell us we are weak.
They tell us we don’t really believe or we’re hypocritical.
They tell us we will fail before we even begin.
Jesus had skeletons in His closet, too.
Sure, there’s Abraham and King David, King Josiah (who discovered scrolls in the decrepit temple and called the people to repentance, 2 Kings 23) and Shealtiel (who led the returning Israelites to rebuild the temple after the exile, Ezra 2:2). But there are other men and women…
Tamar (Genesis 38). After her husband died, Tamar seduced her father-in-law so she could get pregnant.
Ahaz (2 Kings 16). This King of Judah sacrificed his own son to a Canaanite god. He took all the silver and gold from the temple and the royal treasury and sent it as a gift to the king of Assyria (16:8), trying to buy protection for Judah. Later, he desecrated the temple in numerous ways, too.
Rahab (Joshua 2). She hid the Israelite spies who surveyed Jericho before its fall. She even lied for them, deceiving her own government. But don’t forget, Rahab was a prostitute.
King David (2 Samuel 11). Despite being “a man after God’s own heart,” David stayed home when he should have gone to war, spied on a bathing woman from his rooftop, then was so overcome with lust he brought her into his bed. She got pregnant, so then he had her husband killed to cover it up.
Jesus’ ancestral history
never made him stumble.
Yes, Jesus had some pretty scary skeletons in His closet, but these facts never stopped Him.
Tamar and Rahab’s promiscuity didn’t cause Jesus to hesitate when he told the woman caught in adultery, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).
Ahaz’s disrespect for the temple didn’t give Jesus pause when he created a ruckus in the temple and chased away all the money-changers (Matthew 21)
David’s lust didn’t make Jesus stutter when he said, “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
Jesus fit into a long
line of faithful and
Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, but never forget He was also the Son of David. He fit into a long line of faithful and unfaithful, honorable and horrible, successful and scandalous. He knew His ancestry couldn’t make Him or break Him. Jesus was Who He was supposed to be.
So are you and I. Don’t let the skeletons in your family closet divert you from God’s purposes in your life!
Do you have embarrassing—even shameful—family stories? Have you ever thought of Jesus’ genealogy in this way? Let me know what you’re thinking in the comments below. I love hearing from my readers!