Advent Devotional: Week 4, Part 1

By Bruce Benedict & Elliot Grudem  /  

week four of advent

The Darker Side of Christmas #1 – The Scandal of Jesus’ Genealogy

If you actually take the time to read through the list of names in Jesus genealogy you find four very unusual names present for a typical genealogy. Matthew lists four women whose own background was either Gentile (non-Jewish), scandalous, or both! You can read the texts yourself to get the full picture: Tamar (Genesis 38), Rahab (Joshua 6), Ruth (Ruth 4), and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), who isn’t even listed by name.

Matthew 1:1-17
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations

Shedding some light...

Matthew creates a historical snapshot of Jesus’ family line where each name is carefully chosen. It’s hard to say for sure why he includes these women... they were both infamous characters and examples of people outside of the Jewish family on whom God lavished his grace. Overall you should get the impression that Jesus is the fulfillment of both God’s promises to the patriarchs of the faith (Abraham and David) as well as fulfilling his promise to declare salvation to all kinds of people from all the nations!

Children’s Prayer

God, we pray that you would make your Church grow all around the world.

Adults’ Prayer

Dear God of History, you have known us since our birth, and you have known us since before time began. Help us to praise you as the God who proclaims peace to all kinds of people people. Help us praise you as the God that desires all kinds of people from all the nations to enter into your family and to call on the name of your son Jesus. Make your name great, through your people in your Church, throughout the entire world. And use us to accomplish this great and glorious plan.

Advent Singing: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Advent Devotional Guide Download

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Compilation and Text
Bruce Benedict

Elliot Grudem 

Ladye Jane Vickers

Amelia Reynolds

PO Box 10095 | Raleigh, NC 27605
919-546-0515 |