Blog The Greasy Ancestry of Jesus

Does this title shock you? Well, I suppose it should. I thought very hard whether it was okay for me to write such a phrase. But I did. Because today I will be discussing Genesis 38, which describes a portion of the life of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, the man out of whose line the Messiah would arise.
Buckle up.
Judah goes his own way from his brothers, gets married and has three kids. Two of them are killed personally by God for their evil actions.
Shortly after the death of his wife, Judah goes to get his sheep sheared. He sees a temple prostitute, gets in the mood, and has sex with her, and pays her with a goat. She conceives.
But here's a bit of a hitch: this temple prostitute happened to be his daughter-in-law Tamar, the wife of his dead son, in disguise, who held a grudge against him for not marrying her off to his younger son in place of her dead husband, his older son.
After a bit of private scandal, Judah discovers the truth, and admits that even this conniving hussie is more righteous than he is, as he had refused her the husband he promised her in his son. So he never has sex with her again.
Shortly later, Tamar gives birth to twin boys, Perez, and Zerah. And Perez is recorded by Matthew in the paternal genealogy of Jesus Christ.
I want to make two points here.
The first is aimed at young people (and therefore old people): we can use modern language to describe Biblical stories and concepts.
I am a relatively young man, and to me, this story is not scandalous, deplorable or obscene. This story is greasy. The greasiest of the greasy. And I find nothing wrong with describing it in the language with which I am familiar and comfortable. In fact, having (if I may say) a sturdy grasp of the English language, I can state confidently that the vulgar word greasy is a more precise definition of this mess than any of those polite words I have mentioned.
To any young person reading this who may find themselves feeling left out of the equation of the Church: you are not. Jesus finds you every bit as valuable, and can make every bit as much use of you, as Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Billy Graham, or any of the towering Christian heroes of the past.
Those heroes are not irrelevant to you. I cannot make that too clear. The past is the most valuable thing in this world, and it must be studied very closely if you are to make heads or tails of how our current situation came to be. But if anyone, young or old, tells you that you are of no use to Jesus because of your blue hair, your vape, or your taste in music, you can walk right past them. You are more dangerous to Hell than you can possibly imagine.
The second point I wish to make by recounting this tale is universal: you have no reason - absolutely no reason - to be ashamed of who you are or where you come from, because Jesus clearly is not either.
Here is yet another reason why we should never dismiss the genealogies of the Bible. Because within these seemingly dull and unimportant lists we discover that at one of the most crucial points of the Son of God's lineage lies a story too nasty to read on the news.
And the Word of God makes no secret of it.
This is not even the only scandal to be found down Jesus' family line. Ruth, a member of the hated Moabite race, is there. Rahab, a prostitute, is there too. Also, Jesus grew up in the village of Nazareth, which was the laughing-stock of Israel at the time.
We as humans place so much importance on personal reputation. Those from famous, powerful, upper-class backgrounds think so highly of their strong stock and influential families. Yet in the Bible we find God's Son, the Saviour of mankind, speaking very frankly about how messed up his background is.
How very much ground the Church would gain if we would just drop the thinking of the world and remember who we follow!
And so, young and old, rich and poor, father and son, mother and daughter, it is time to be reconciled to each other. It is time to see that we are all products of our time, that we are all born into the same plane of time, and that we are all meant to follow Jesus, just as we are, into the glory of an eternal future! Amen.

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