28th December 2021

Messy Families

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham. 

Matthew 1:1 NIV

Christmas time is about love, family and children… so why is it so stressful? Why can’t everyone just behave like the families you see in the Christmas adverts on TV. Why do families in real life have to be so… messy!

It is interesting that the Gospel of Matthew begins by telling us about Jesus’ family history – his genealogy. Unusually for the time, instead of just listing men, Matthew draws his reader’s attention to four women. At least three of whom were not Jewish! Ruth and Rahab were Gentiles (foreigners) and so probably was Tamar. The remaining woman, Bathsheba, whom Matthew does not mention by name, was married to Uriah who was a foreigner.

The lives of these women were also not straightforward. Tamar slept with her father-in-law so that she could bear her dead husband a son. Rahab is introduced in Joshua 2:1 as being a prostitute. Bathsheba is known because King David committed adultery with her and had her husband killed to cover it up. Ruth was left destitute after the death of her husband and had to rely on the kindness of strangers to support herself and her mother-in-law.

Jesus’ family tree was messy. It would have made for awkward Christmas gatherings. Yet Matthew chose to specifically include these women in his Gospel account. Why did Matthew include these women? Surely it is to show how inclusive the Gospel is – Jesus did not just come to save the Jew, he also came to save the Gentile; he came to save men and women alike, people from all kinds of backgrounds… even the messy kind!

No matter how complicated or difficult your family situation is, you can turn to Jesus for help. He is our great high priest who is able to sympathise with our difficulties (Hebrews 4:15). He is our elder brother we can turn to in our time of need (Romans 8:27-29). He is our rock in whom we can take refuge (Psalm 18:2).


Heavenly Father, while it may not always seem like it, family is a precious gift and in Christ you have made all of us your sons and daughters. Father, please fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we can demonstrate your love and kindness to our families in all times and in all circumstances. In Jesus Christ’s name, amen.

 Study by Gavin Henderson


About the writer: Gavin Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for GCI UK and Ireland

Local congregation:  
GCI Northampton Ecton 
Village Hall 
78A High Street 

Meeting time: Saturday 11am

Local congregational contact: Email: northampton@gracecom.church

Word of Life contact: wordoflife@gracecom.church