Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 27 December 2022. Today’s topic: Disturbed Herod

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  Matthew 2:3

Who was King Herod?   He was one of the greatest figures of antiquity, “great” because he did big and far-reaching things.   His family came to power thanks to their relationship with Julius Caesar, and Herod devoted his life to consolidating that power.  He greatly expanded the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem so that it became THE focal point of Jewish worship.   He ruthlessly held the occupied Levant together under local rule while still being a vassal, subservient to Rome.  Named “King of Judea” by the Roman Senate, Herod the Great was second in power only to Caesar Augustus in Rome.

When Herod was happy, his kingdom rejoiced.   When he wasn’t, you know the score.

If someone was perceived to be a threat to that power, that someone was in mortal danger.   That someone was the newborn Savior, Jesus in Bethlehem.  When Herod heard that prominent visitors from the east had traveled to Judea to worship the newborn King, he was troubled.   More appropriately, he felt threatened; intimidated, disturbed, cornered.  Herod didn’t feel what he did simply because he was a power-hungry tyrant.   Herod was disturbed because Satan was at work in his heart.  All our fears go back to Satan.

Along with Herod, the political and religious leaders in Jerusalem were troubled when Herod felt threatened.   He had already executed people in his own family, including one of his wives, who he perceived to be threats.   The powers-that-be understood that there would be bloodshed if the king felt anyone was a threat to his hold on power.  In a few verses, we’ll learn what happened when Herod lost his temper over what the Magi had done. 

I think of King Herod in the same way I think of Stalin.   Or Xi of China.   Or maybe some narco cartel leader.   Thugs with access to money and power, and the lust to preserve both.   Satan works greatly through such people in our own time.  Why would God send His Son to be born in a place controlled by such a horrible person?   Why would He take such a risk.   Perhaps it’s so that God’s glory might shine all the brighter.   Perhaps it’s some other reason.   Don’t ask me:   ask the Lord.

Whatever the reason, King Herod of Judea, who understood the Old Testament messianic prophecies, sensed that those prophecies were coming true in his own time.   You could say that Herod was one of the first who believed that Jesus was the true Messiah because Herod understood that the Messiah could be a threat to his power.   Herod the Great wasn’t a man to be trifled with, as both the Magi, then the mothers in Ramah, would soon come to understand.  Herod was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

For more reading: Matthew 2:4

Lord, help me to learn and understand the place of Herod the Great in Your perfect story of Christmas

Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 26 December 2022. Today’s topic: The Work of Christmas

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  Matthew 2:1-2

On the day after Christmas, the work of Christmas begins.   Sure, we spend weeks leading up to the holiday, baking and buying and partying and celebrating and wrapping and decorating and I could go on listing dozens more activities.   We do them all.  We do them in the name of celebrating the baby from Bethlehem.  Afterwards, when the bottom of the tree is barren of gifts, when the meals are done, when the wassail is gone, when radio stations stop playing the music, we get back to work.

What did the Magi do?   They were wise men; we all know that.  That means that, perhaps, they were men of accomplishment.   Or professors, perhaps; learned men who spent their days studying, and learning, and interpreting matters of the world.  Maybe they were kings.   What did these wise men of worldly standing do?   They journeyed for weeks from their homes in what is now Iran, or Saudi Arabia, because they saw a star they did not understand.   Their work was to understand such things, and the only conclusion they could reach was that this start must be a sign from God that He was coming into their world.

He came into their world.   He comes into our world.   And that’s when the work of Christmas begins.   It isn’t the work of burning used wrapping paper.   Or putting away decorations.   It isn’t the work of driving home or returning to our jobs.  It actually isn’t the kind of thing that we’d consider work at all.

We need to do the work of the magi.   It’s time to do what they did.  To journey in our hearts and simply worship.  You know the song:  o come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.   That takes work, preparation of the heart.   It takes time and effort to see the signs God sets before us that point to Jesus, to our looking for Him so that we, like the Magi, might follow His star and worship Him.   It means reading His Word and putting it into practice.   It means forgiving our brothers and sisters who hurt us.   It means choosing His peace when there are so many other choices in our troubled world.  It means talking about what He did for us.  It means worship in all we do.

That takes work, but it’s the work Jesus came here to do in us.   It’s the work of Christmas that Jesus asks us to do every other day of the year.  Get to work.

For more reading: Numbers 24:17, Jeremiah 23:5, Mark 15:2, Luke 2:4-7, Luke 23:38, John 1:49, John 18:33-37, Matthew 2:3

Savior Jesus, do Your work in me today, that I might work for You.

Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 22 December 2022. Today’s topic: We Endure Them

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25

It was prophesied; it happened.   What God wills cannot be denied.  When we obey God’s will, we see we’re living in extraordinary times.  Nobody forced Joseph or Mary.  They obeyed God and let His will take place through them.  They chose to obey; they chose to follow the Lord, and they endured these unusual things.

Can you imagine being married in the West today and not making love for at least nine months?   Having ‘legal’ unencumbered sex after marriage is, frankly, one of the reasons people get married.   It’s a good & Godly benefit of marriage that we get to express ourselves sexually with our spouse; to share the physical union and pleasure of being as together as people can be.  Can you imagine waiting until ‘the other’ child is born before doing this with your wife?   It’s alien to our culture; it was foreign to Joseph & Mary’s as well.   But they obeyed. 

And can you imagine the gossip in Nazareth?   Mary might have been showing; her pregnancy might have been publicly visible.   At a minimum, those closest to her would likely have known she was pregnant.   Anyone in Nazareth “doing the math” would have been able to calculate that the time between their marriage and the time when Mary first showed her pregnancy might not have added up.  Granted, this is all speculation.   Perhaps her immaculate conception happened at the time of her vows.  Perhaps it was only Joseph and Mary who knew and nobody confronted them.  Yet, if others did know, surely that would have caused gossip.  

Mary and Joseph endured it.   Joseph, upright and righteous, endured it.   I’d think they endured it without comment, without ‘returning fire.’  They had accepted what God had given into their lives, and they obeyed Him.   Like obeying His command to not consummate their marriage, they obeyed Him to accept His will and not add to it.

In doing so, they accepted living an extraordinary life through extraordinary events.   And it was only just beginning.

Matthew’s Gospel doesn’t describe Joseph and Mary’s trip to Bethlehem (itself a fulfillment of prophecy).  And he doesn’t describe how the birth of John the Baptist preceded Jesus’ own birth (another prophecy).   Or like how John’s ministry preceded Jesus’ ministry, the former preparing people for the latter.  In the next chapter, we meet the Magi, the learned non-believers who followed God’s signs and then believed.   And we learn of Herod’s treachery, how he murdered thousands of children to preserve his own hold on power.

Those were extraordinary events in an extraordinary time.  Like our own.   And we endure them.

For more reading: Luke 1:31, Acts 5:19, Matthew 2:1

Lord, praise to You for the extraordinary events of Your birth.

Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 21 December 2022. Today’s topic: Unusual News

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  Matthew 1:22-23

It was unusual and miraculous enough that Mary had claimed God had placed a child within her.   Then, that Joseph would be visited by an angel.   Then, what the mission of Jesus’ life would be:  that He would save people from their sins.  Now, the angel tells Joseph one of the ‘background reasons’ why all this was happening.

Because Jesus would fulfill Old Testament prophecy.   According to my Concordia, this is the first of twelve times (in his book) that Matthew would tell how Jesus fulfilled prophecy.  It’s also the first of 47 times when Matthew quoted the Old Testament which he, as a Jew, would have been formally trained to memorize and know (even if he, as a former tax collector, had long ago abandoned it).

The Jews of Jesus’ time lived and died by the words of the Old Testament.   It was their law; it was the only ‘bible’ they had (because that word wasn’t in use yet).   It recorded all the ways Yahweh had revealed Himself throughout history (and no new revelations had come in centuries).  The Isaiah reference that Matthew uses was first used in the time of King Ahaz.   It was said (then) to reference a miracle of deliverance; a comment on how God performs miracles even when our faith is weak.

And then came Jesus.   And then came how Jesus fulfilled what was so much more than just an ancient commentary.   It turned out to be a prediction, a prophecy of what would actually happen.  It wasn’t the last time this would happen in or through Jesus’ life.   In fact, it was the first of hundreds of prophecies that were fulfilled only in Jesus of Nazareth.

Now think about what His name means, how God’s miracle would result in “God with us.”   Not just a name, even though God’s name is to be revered.  God would present Himself to us in a way to which we could relate:   as a baby.   As a baby whose family history took him all the way back to the honored patriarchs.   As a child of royal lineage.   As a child born under extraordinary circumstances.  As a commoner; unknown to His fellow men.  As just another man.   God was with us.   God would be with us.   God is still with us in the persons of the Father, Jesus the Son, and their Spirit, who works through our lives.

All explained in this dream given to Joseph. 

How do you think Joseph would have reacted to all this unusual news?   How would you or I react? 

For more reading: Isaiah 7:14, Luke 4:21, Luke 24:44, John 13:18, John 19:24, Matthew 1:24

Lord God, all praise to You for how Your Son fulfilled the prophecies You gave us.  All thanks and praise.

Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 20 December 2022. Today’s topic: More Than Just In Dreams

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:20-21

So, Joseph considered divorcing Mary.   He had thought it over and, even though he loved her, he couldn’t bear the shame, the wondering, the inevitable division and strife that would come with continuing this new marriage to a woman who was carrying someone else’s child.  Can you blame him?  It was his right.   In they eyes of many, it would even be his duty.

That’s when the angel showed up.

Me, I don’t remember most of my dreams.   I wish I did; I’d like to remember more about them, about things my mind has stirred around.   Maybe it would help me understand my life better.   Yet my dreams aren’t like the one Joseph had.   I would think that someone would remember if an angel spoke to them in a dream.   I would think it would make a deep impression, one that would transcend slumber. It would embed itself into your consciousness, so that you couldn’t forget. 

Notice what the angel said.   He reminds Joseph that he’s descended from royalty.   He tells him to ignore his fears because God has plans for his family:  plans bigger than even King David could have imagined.   The angel tells Joseph that he is to be a father to God’s Son, that he, Joseph, the simple carpenter who had, moments before, thought himself shamed, would have the privilege of naming God’s Son:   something that no other man had ever done.   That this Son would save people from their sins, meaning He would be both God and man.

Joseph, son of royalty, would name and father the Son of the Great I AM.  Imagine how quickly Joseph dispensed with the thoughts of divorcing Mary.   What had just seemed like inevitability now seemed foolish, despite the months, even years, of scorn and ridicule that would come from their neighbors in Nazareth.

You and I:  we are God’s children, too, even if we aren’t His only Son.   He gives us each purposes and missions in our lives.   Joseph’s mission was to adopt Jesus, who then adopts us into His Kingdom, into His divinely royal family and fellowship.  Despite all the ways we try to divorce ourselves from Him, Jesus pursues us every day, showing us His better ways, asking us to let Him help us through.   More than just in dreams, it all is still always the truth.

For more reading: Psalm 130:8, Luke 1:31, Luke 2:11, John 3:17, Romans 11:14, Titus 2:14, Matthew 1:22

Lord Jesus, bless Your name for being the Son of God and adopted child of humble Joseph.

Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 19 December 2022. Today’s topic: Joseph’s Right

Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  Matthew 1:19

It really looked like Joseph had every reason to divorce Mary.  They were betrothed, though not yet living together (as was the tradition for betrothal, where the woman would continue to live with her family until a year had passed and her new husband had paid a bride-price for her).  Now, only a few months into that year, Mary becomes pregnant, and the baby isn’t Joseph’s.

That of itself would have been scandalous, and a reason for divorce (then as now).  During this year-long betrothal, Mary and Joseph wouldn’t have slept together.  They wouldn’t have consummated their marriage, even though vows of commitment had already taken place.   Odd?   Yes, but some cultures in our world still do this today.  “But but but I thought they were only engaged,” you might say.  The short answer is “sort of.”   We (today) might consider them to be only engaged.   In their time, however, Mary and Joseph their betrothal was considered to be full marriage.

Now, betrothal looked like betrayal.  Where did the baby come from?   At first, Joseph didn’t know.   His first assumption was the one any one of us would have made.   The baby wasn’t his, so Mary must have had sex with someone else.   Seemingly obvious adultery. Yet Joseph was a peaceful and righteous man.   He understood the situation seemed morally, ethically intolerable, but he loved Mary.  “He did not want to expose her to public disgrace.”   Nazareth was a tiny village; in our world, it wouldn’t even have a Post Office.  Everyone would have known everyone (and everyone’s business).   Joseph, a known tradesman in his small town, didn’t want to disgrace Mary, a younger woman from the same town.  

He simply wanted out, as was his right under Jewish law.  It seemed like he had every righteous reason to.  We find out in the next few verses that God had other plans, and those plans bring out Joseph’s good character in even finer ways.  As of today, his feelings must have felt heartbreaking.

We can identify with Joseph, because so many of us get hurt in relationships.  Beginning a marriage involves growing together, learning lessons from navigating issues.   Some of them involve hurt, though hopefully not the possibility of infidelity.   How many of us would stay together if it looked like the partner had been unfaithful?   It’s at the heart of most divorce, and God bless those who choose to stay.  As of today’s verse, it looked like Joseph SHOULD have wanted out, and it was his legal right.   Anything less would have shown him to seem weak.  Because it’s (about) Christmas, come back tomorrow to talk about the next great miracle.

For more reading: Deuteronomy 24:1, Matthew 1:20

Lord, bless Joseph and those who are enduring divorce.   Let each have the heart of Jesus’ earthly father.

Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 15 December 2022. Today’s topic: Mary Believed

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18

Imagine how you’d feel if you learned you’d become pregnant without sex.   From the account in Luke, an angel visited Mary and told her she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  Mary was a good girl, a young woman of honor who lived her life in Godly ways and became engaged to a morally upright man named Joseph.  According to Martin Luther, two miracles occurred here.   The angel told Mary what was to happen, and Mary believed. 

Cue in on that last sentence.   It was a miracle that Mary believed.  People of that time, in Anno Domini, weren’t so different from us.   Some, mainly religious scholars, knew that a virgin would give birth to a child, but nobody outside Mary, Joseph, Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, and maybe her husband, Zechariah, recognized it when it happened.  We don’t know of anyone else who did:   not Mary’s family, not her friends, not the men in their Nazareth synagogue; nobody.  Even those few who knew probably questioned.

And still, Mary believed.  She believed what the angel had told her, and she obeyed God.

Who of us would do that today?   Most people don’t believe in God.   Most non-Christians look at this story as a myth, as an impossibility.  Let’s face it:  by the measure of the world, it IS an impossibility.   Life is created through sex, and Mary had never had sex.  But, you know, if God can speak all of creation into existence, then overcoming biological procreation isn’t difficult.   He’s God.   Of course He did this.  

Most of the world didn’t realize it had happened.  Most of the world, then and now, disagreed that it would, or could, happen.   Most of the world would, did, and does reject Mary’s Son, Jesus Christ.   Some things never change.

Yet imagine how it must have felt to Mary in real time.   She hadn’t asked for this; she didn’t know it was coming.   She was simply a young woman, likely no more than a teenager, living her life in the poor town of Nazareth.  Accepting God’s plan and submitting to His will didn’t mean Mary wasn’t sometimes scared, overwhelmed, didn’t wonder what was going to happen to her.   Imagine how you would feel.   To be honest, I can’t even imagine.

And still…

And still Mary believed.   She believed that God was working a miracle through her.   That He was keeping, in her lifetime, in her body, a promise He had made to Adam and Eve.   That He was doing the greatest of all great things, and that all the rest of time would be changed because of it.   Mary believed.

For more reading: Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:23-45, Matthew 1:19

Father, thank You for the story of Mary, and how she believed Your word and Your promise.

Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 14 December 2022. Today’s topic: Fourteen

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.  Matthew 1:17

Fourteen:   so what?   My Concordia says that use here of the number fourteen may signify several things.   It could be an indicator of Matthew’s fondness for “systematic arrangement.”   It could be a way of expressing praise for Jesus by identifying the twice the number of completeness (7) multiplied by the number of the trinity.  The book also says that fourteen is “the numerical value of the name David,” meaning it is another indicator of how Jesus is indelibly identified with both the lineage and royalty of David.

Whatever the meaning, it doesn’t really matter.   It’s nice to speculate and nice to know, but it doesn’t add to or take away from the connection that begins with Abraham – the original Jew and common patriarch to 3 religions – and ends with Jesus, the only Messiah.  Besides, Matthew’s math is inexact; there don’t seem to be exactly fourteen in number in each of the tiers he mentions. It takes a stretch of counting that is generous in nature.

Again, it doesn’t really matter.   What matters is that we believe in how Jesus was both man and God at the same time, and that He established Himself as a man through patriarchal genealogy that extends back to the most prominent heroes of the faith, as well is ordinary men whose fame would be non-existent were they not mentioned in this genealogy. 

Somewhere in Jesus’ past were ancestors who endured slavery in Egypt, the barbaric period of the judges, the civil wars that plagued the kingships of David and the later monarchs, the wealthy splendor of Solomon’s years, the rise and fall God’s chosen people, destruction of Jerusalem, exile to Babylon, return home to a devastated land, and the successive occupations by the Babylonian, Mede, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires.   Thirty-two generations of the ancestors of Christ saw “great” things occur that are unequaled in history, living from the ancient Mesopotamian Bronze Age to the dawn of the age we can trace up to our own. 

And you read about it here, in Matthew, in the Bible, which so many people discredit without offering anything comparable in return.   Merry Christmas to them, too.

That is, perhaps, what all those ancestors of Christ might say, had they known their descendant would be the Messiah awaited since Eden.  They would, on the unbeliever, wish “shalom,” meaning “peace.”   They would also, perhaps, challenge you to ask what your heart believes about all this, then go to God so you might interpret these truths.  Whatever the three fourteen’s mean, they are, at a minimum, God’s truth in His Word.  Fourteen?   Yes indeed.

For more reading: Matthew 1:18Lord, I don’t always understand why Your Word says what it does.   I simply believe it, and trust in Your truth.   Praise and all thanks to You

Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 13 December 2022. Today’s topic: Joseph and the Others

After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. Matthew 1:12-16.

The exile to Babylon destroyed ancient Israel, the divided kingdom, as it had been.  Split after the time of Solomon into the related nations of Israel and Judah, this arrangement continued for over 300 years.  The (northern) kingdom of Israel disappeared after the Assyrian invasion.   Judah reigned until the Babylonian invasion in 598 BC, when it was exiled to Babylon.  After decades, the Jews came back to their homeland, but were no longer the nation they had been.   The temple was destroyed.   Their independent throne was gone.   Their national sovereignty was no longer intact.   For the next 500+ years, Judah declined, eventually being overrun (again) by a succession of empires until the time of Jesus, when the pseudo-nation found itself under Roman control.

That’s why the ancestors of Jesus, listed above, seem mostly unknown.   Shealtiel was a prince, son of the last king of Judah, Jeconiah.   Zerubabbel, Shealtiel’s son, led the exiled Jews back home, and is credited with rebuilding the Temple that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed.   Yet the rest of Jesus’ ancestors, from Abihud to Jacob, are unknowns.   They lived lives in obscurity, with their deeds unacknowledged and unremembered by history (outside of the Bible).   Indeed, perhaps the greatest of this line of descendants is Joseph himself, the adopted and earthly father of Jesus.  

Think about it:   Joseph is the model for all of us.  God used him to model the kind of relationship that God the Father has with each of us.   Joseph adopted Jesus when he didn’t have to.   Joseph raised Jesus as he would his blood-son, teaching him behaviors and skills that would serve Jesus’ eventual ministry.   Joseph, like his wife, Mary, did something no other human has ever done:  lovingly raised the Son of the triune God as family.   Joseph loved Him.

Each of us, we are created by God, but our sins alienate us from Him, destroying the bond of love and spiritual intimacy God designed.   Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God adopts each of us, grafting us back into His family line.  He then asks us to model what Joseph did, raising sons and daughters to follow Him, then having us adopt others into the faith through the lives we lead.

Everyone has a family; everyone has family history, even Jesus.   Let us each be encouraged but never constrained by it, knowing God has us where and as He wants us to be.

For more reading: Matthew 1:17

Lord, all praise to You for Your family history.

Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 12 December 2022. Today’s topic: Sinners Than Saints

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiahand his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.  Matthew 1:6-11

We’re continuing to see some of the people from whom Jesus was physically descended.   I challenge you to get into the books of the Old Testament (1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings specifically) to read up about the lives of David, Solomon, and all the others.  Jesus descended from these kings of Judah, and some were good, and some weren’t.   It’s worthwhile to remember that, first, Jesus was descended from the world’s Godly patriarchs, then descended directly from God’s chosen kings.   He was a member of the royal family.   Like most people today, even those in that royal line didn’t know their full ancestry.

Some of them probably didn’t care.   Rehoboam, Abijah, Jehoram, Manassah, and Amon were evil kings.  It’s not that they just did “evil in the eyes of the Lord” (the common Old Testament description of their actions):  it’s that they enthusiastically did evil.  They willingly, willfully, gleefully committed detestable sins that were totally contrary to God’s commands.  They abandoned worshipping at the Temple; they set up idols; they performed sexual acts to worship their graven gods of wood, mud, and stone; they performed human, even child, sacrifices.  

These were the men God allowed to sit on the throne He established.   It’s a testament to God’s patience, as well as His respect for free will, even when it (often) runs against His holy word.  It’s a good thing to remember because, my friend, we aren’t so different from those evil kings of old.   Just yesterday, my friend, Mark, preached an advent sermon on King David and his wayward, evil son, Absalom, who staged a revolt after incidents of incest and murder in the king’s own family.   David was, as we all know, “a man after God’s heart.”   Yet David sinned against God, and, years later, he refused to step in to administer justice when his heir, Amnon, raped another of David’s children.

Again, these were the children through whom God chose to demonstrate His patience and His justice. Contrast them to Jesus, who embodied God’s love and perfect justice many centuries later. Through Jesus, God’s patience and love are still displayed today.   Summing it up, like good people among us, there were good kings of Judah in Jesus’ genealogy but, by and large, there were more sinners than saints.

For more reading: Matthew 1:12-17

Father, thank You for sharing Your Son’s royal lineage, for informing us of their sinful and saintly acts alike.