If anyone would have a perfect family tree, it would be sweet baby Jesus, right? No one who wants to rule the earth can hide skeletons in their closet. Any politician can tell you that.
In the end of the Old Testament book of Ruth, the writer gives a summary of Jesus’ lineage up to King David. First mentioned is Perez, son of Judah. Instead of a squeaky clean Old Testament saint, we find that Perez was the result of Judah mistaking his daughter-in-law for a prostitute (Gen. 38). Any good journalist would have sniffed out that scandal in a heartbeat and plastered unflattering pictures on the front page of every newspaper.
But that’s not all. This genealogy also mentions Boaz’s father, Salmon. But who was Boaz’s mother? None other than the heathen prostitute, Rahab (Josh. 6). Shocking.
Boaz marries Ruth, a Moabitess. Where did the Moabites come from? Well, when Lot is told to flee the city of Sodom, he and his daughters escape to a cave. There, the daughters conspire to preserve their father’s line and the eldest gives birth to her father’s child, Moab (Gen. 19). A sensational story that only God had the guts to write.
The family tree leaves more scars as generations march into history. Why didn’t God hide these skeletons in His Son’s closet instead of recording them for all people for all time? He had set up His Son for political failure.
But Jesus wasn’t a politician. His goal was not to erase the past, but to redeem it. God could have chosen a purer heritage for His Son; instead, He painted a stunning picture of redemption. These broken relationships in Jesus’ lineage wounded the heart of God, but out of them came Jesus, Healer of broken relationships, Hope of the hurting world.