Scott Nichols

Read: Matthew 1:2-11

. . . And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah. (v. 6)

You see it sometimes in a movie. In the course of the story one of the characters learns about an uncle—a brother of his father—he had never heard about. “Why didn’t you ever mention Uncle Winston?” he asks his father. “Because we don’t talk about him” is the stern reply. Turns out Uncle Winston had been a bad man, jailed for murder long ago and kept secret. Winston was a skeleton in the family closet. You don’t talk about such relatives.

The Israelite family line that produced Jesus had plenty of skeletons in its closet. It would have been easy to keep them under wraps, but Matthew goes the other way. He knows Tamar had seduced her father-in-law, Judah. He knows Rahab had been a prostitute in Jericho. He knows the great King David had an affair with Bathsheba and tried to cover it up by arranging the death of her husband, Uriah. Far from hiding all that, Matthew brings it front and center before we even get to the story of Jesus’ birth.

Why? As a reminder of why Jesus came to this world. Every family has “a past” that is not all lovely and pretty and tidy. The whole human race has “a past.” The Messiah’s birth we anticipate this month is God’s answer to everything we would otherwise be too ashamed even to talk about. —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: You see our hidden faults, O God, and our shameful history. Yet you love us. Thank you! Amen.