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Sunday, 28 December 2014


Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:   

PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, December 28th, 2014:

‘The Genealogy of Jesus

            Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning.  My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the morning. I hope you had a great Christmas, and we at Good News in the Morning, want to wish you all the blessings of the season.

            I am glad that you tuned your dial to CFRA. I want you to know that you can also find Good News in the morning on the internet at . There you can hear past episodes and find interesting articles.

            This morning I want to talk to you about the Genealogy of Jesus. I am hoping that over the Christmas season that you have heard the story of the birth of Jesus. At Christmas not only do we celebrate the coming of Christ as a historical figure – we call that Christmas. We celebrate the coming of Christ into our hearts and lives – we call that Christianity.

            The story of Christmas is told in the Bible in the gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew. But before Matthew tells the story of his birth, he gives us Jesus’ genealogy.

. I believe that the Bible is the word of God. That it was inspired by God. Which means that nothing is in the Bible that God didn’t want in the Bible, and nothing was left out of the Bible that God wanted in it.

But sometimes you read passages of scripture and you ask why? Why did God put these in his word? Where is the reader’s digest version when you need it?

This morning I want to look at the first 17 verses of Matthew. Those of you who know this passage are saying, he is not going to read that is he. Yes, I am going to read it. Hang on:

1 ¶ A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
 2  Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
 3  Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,
 4  Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,
 5  Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,
 6  and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,
 7  Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,
 8  Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
 9  Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
 10  Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah,
 11  and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
 12  After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
 13  Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,
 14  Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud,
 15  Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,
 16  and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
 17  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 Christ.
Aren’t you just blessed?  Hasn’t my reading of this has inspired you to live like a better Christian? - Thanks for not turning your radio off while I read. It seems boring----Why did God have the writers of the Bible put stuff like this in His book?

There is actually a great reason. And I believe that God wants to use this passage to speak hope into your life. But before we get there lets recover from the reading by listening to

Mary’s Boy Child – By Harry Belafonte

The genealogy of Jesus. I want you to know that this is one of the most hopeful parts of the Bible. If you are tempted to despair on a personal level. If you are losing hope, and the darkness threatens to engulf you, this passage of Scripture is for you.

If you have experienced grief and loss, and you are wondering which way is up, if God is really in control, if you can hold on, then this scripture is for you.

If you are tempted to worry about the future. If the nightly news is getting you down. If the looming environmental disasters, or news of terrorist  getting biological or nuclear weapons worry you, this passage is for you.

If you are feeling insecure about your work and your world this scripture is for you. If you are frightened for your kids, and wonder what kind of a world they are going to grow up in, this scripture is for you.

That hope for the future is packaged in this list of names called the genealogy. The list of names are almost a summary of the Old Testament. Except for the last three names, all these names are in the Old Testament. And what these names communicate are two hope filled truths.

History is perfectly ordered, perfectly planned, and masterfully controlled. Verse 17 is a case in point.

17  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 Christ.

There were three major events in Jewish history. Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation. The nation reached its peak in both power and economics and faithful commitment to God under the reign of King David. It reached it’s all time low when they were conquered by Babylon, and taken into captivity.  And now Matthew is saying that the next major event has happened. Jesus the Messiah has come.

Now you need to understand that Matthews gospel was written to the Jewish people. Often the Jews used numbers to symbolize different truths. Seven or any multiple of seven was the number of perfection.

The seventh day of creation God rested to celebrate the completeness of his work. The exile in Babylon was 70 years. 10x7. It was the completion of their suffering, the completion of their payment for their rebellion.

In the Bible the number three often symbolized fullness, or completion. In Isaiah’s vision, the angels around the throne of God said, Holy, Holy, Holy representing the completeness the fullness of God’s holiness.

So that when Matthew says there were three sets of 14 ( 2 x 7) generations he is saying that history is complete, it is perfect, it is right.

The history leading up to the birth of Christ has been planned with meticulous care. Since God made his promise to Abraham he had moved history in an orderly, purposeful, masterful way to completion in Jesus Christ. God is providentially ordering history to bring on the coming of Christ. History is filled with purposeful orderly direction.

Jesus was on his way to Bethlehem for centuries, because History is the design of God.

The second hope filled truth that I want you to see in this genealogy is that


If this were your family tree, you would have tried to keep some of these people hidden. Because the people in Jesus background were a motley crew of people.

Abraham lied like Pinochio just to save his neck. His grandson Jacob was slicker the a Los Vegas card shark. He cheated his brother, his father in law, his uncle.

Verse 3. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerub. But if you have read Genesis, you might remember how. By committing incest with his own daughter Tamar.

Tamar is in the list too. Why do you think Matthew specifically mentions Tamar. God wants you to know that there was incest in the line leading to Christ. Good grief. This is not a pure line.

Tamar seduced her father in law Judah. Judah threatened to have Tamar burned for solicitation. (Gen 38:11) Jesus is called the lion of Judah so we tend to think of Judah as a great saint. But Judah was a hypocrite. Judah was an adulterer. Notice verse 2. It says Judah and his brothers. Matthew wants to remind us that it was Judah and his brothers who sold Joseph into Slavery.

Vs 5.  Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

Rahab was a prostitute.  There was a prostitute in the line of Christ. Ruth was a foreigner. She was not Jewish. Man, and you thought your family was mixed up.

Vs 6   David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,

Why does Matthew write that. Because he wants to remind us that the great King David had Uriah murdered so that he could indulge his sexual cravings. He writes in Psalm 51 I have been a sinner from birth. Adultery, deception, betrayal, murder. They are a part of line of Christ.

Vs 10 Manasseh, makes the list, although he sacrificed his own son to Bail and consulted with mediums and spiritists. He was one of the most wicked Kings in all of Jewish history. The bible says of Manasseh,    Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end    (2 Kings 21:6) Jesus had a Hitler type personality in his background.

Half the people on this list seemed to be kings who were embezzlers or murders or idolaters, or just not nice people. This is the linage of people.

If I were Matthew I would have left out the first 17 verses. I would want to advertise Jesus’ history. But why did God advertise the fact that there were murders and adulterers, and incest, and prostitutes, and liars, thieves and egomaniacs in Jesus line.

He did it because he wanted you to know, he wanted us to know that God chooses flawed humans to complete the history leading to Christ.  He knew that you and I watch the news. We see the crooked people, and we wonder where history is going.

He wanted us to know that when the world goes wild, He stays calm. He wanted us to know that when things seem to be falling apart, he is still holding things together. He wanted us to know, that when evil seems to be winning and winning big, that the game isn’t over yet.  Do you want proof, read the last name on the list.

It’s Jesus. God is announcing to a despairing discouraged world, that the plan succeeded. He would say to you:
The famine in Egypt couldn’t stop my plan
400 years in Slavery couldn’t stop my plan
Wilderness wanderings couldn’t stop my plan
The Babylonian exile for 70 years couldn’t stop my plan.
Murders, adulterers, prostitutes, idolaters, couldn’t stop my plan
Evil people in the very line of my son couldn’t stop my plan.

I control the flow of history, and I will use even flawed humans to fulfill my purposes.

And I want you to know that even as you look around the world today that God’s plan continues to be worked out in history.
Environmental destruction of the very creation of God won’t stop his plan.

Terrorists who gain control over more and more powerful weapons won’t stop his plan.

The rise of false religions, and atheism, and heresy within the church won’t stop his plan.

Godly lives that are seemingly cut short won’t stop his plan.
Even the true church fallen asleep won’t stop his plan.

He still controls the flow of history. Just as he has promised to come the first time, he has promised to come again. And perverted sexuality, evil in high places, evil in low places will not stop him. For God uses even flawed humans to bring about his plan. People when you are tempted to despair over the shape of the world, look back at the history of Jesus. He put it there so that you would lose hope.

Imagine living in the time of Judah and Tamar. Incest, treachery, deceit, hypocrisy marked the day. It would have been easy to thing that God had forgotten his promise. But he had not.

Imagine living in the time of Manasseh. The innocent were being murdered, and the murders were living like kings. There were thousands of lives that were seemingly cut short.  It would have been easy to think that God had abandon his plan, but he had not.

If you would have quoted Rom 8:28 to them and said, God causes all things to work together for good for those that love God, and are called according to his purposes. Those people would have said, “I can’t see it.” There is no evidence of it.

But I want you to know that God had not forgotten his plan back then, and God has not forgotten us now. God knows the future. He has a plan for the future. He is in control of the future, in spite of the evil that you can look everywhere and see. In spite of tragedy, in spite of the seeming randomness of life, God is in control.

If you look closely at each set of generations, you can start to see predominate characteristics. The first set, is the set of the foreigner. Three of the four women mentioned were foreigners. Some of the men were foreigners as well.

Some of you have felt displaced. You come to church and it looks like everybody comes from the good part of town, and you know your background. You feel out of place. You wonder if God can use you. I want you to know, it was a bunch of displaced people who God used to bring about the coming of Jesus. (And I would add, don’t let appearances fool you. There are a lot of people here, who have backgrounds as sorted as Jesus’) And God has a plan for you. You are part of the plan.

The next set of generations was the generations of sinner. Huge sinners. Some of you like David have felt the weight of your sin. Some of you are surrounded by sin. Some of you can’t seem to let go of your past. I want you to know that God forgives. But the lesson of this genealogy is that God can use you. You have not been too bad for him. You have not surprised God with your evil. God is able to take you where you are and bring about his purposes.

Don’t let the devil lie to you and say, that because of what you did before you knew God, that you will always be one of God’s second class children. That is a lie of the devil. Where sin abounds, graces does that much more abound. And God is able to take the wickedness and hurt and pain of the past and weave it into his plan.

Don’t let the devil lie to you and say that because of your failings as a Christian that God can’t use you. If God can use the adultery of King David, he can use you. And God is able to the failures of the past and bring about amazing good.

The next set of generations is the generations of nobodies. The names are hardly recognizable. We have forgotten who these people are. But even people who live out their lives in obscurity have not been forgotten by God.

Some of you wonder if you have been forgotten. You feel as if you are one of those nobodies on the list. Just a name to this world. You haven’t left your mark. Your life hasn’t counted as much as you would like it to have. I want you to know that God can take your life, and make it an intricate part of his plan.

I want you to know that God is weaving a tapestry out of history. If you have ever seen the back of a tapestry, you will see a lot of extraneous threads, and an incomprehensible pattern. It just doesn’t seem to make sense. But when you and I get to the end of our lives, and we see things from God’s perspective we are going to see the other side. The side with the picture. And you will see what God has been drawing all along. It will be a glorious picture, for God is the master artist. It will be a magnificent tapestry, because God is the master weaver. We will stand in awe of what God has done.

God knows where he is taking your life. God knows where he is taking the lives of your children. God knows where he is taking history. He is the grand designer. God knows what he is doing and he knows where he is going.

To those of you who are prone to fearing the future. God knows what he is doing. He will work his plan out. For those of you who are prone to worry. God knows what he is doing. He controls the flow of history. For those of you who are in despair about the shape of the world. God is still in control. He will work things out. Jesus will come back. He will do what he said.

There is a story told of a man and his son, during a raid on London in World War 2. The building they were in was being bombed, and it looked like it was going to come crashing down upon them. So the man and his little son ran out of the building. There was a hole nearby, caused by another bomb, and the father dived into it. He then called up to his son, “jump son, jump”.

But the son said, “but, dad, it’s dark. I can’t see you”. The father said, “I can see you, jump”

Our heavenly father would say even when it is dark, trust me. Jump. Will you make that leap of faith and trust God with the future. The last name on the list of the genealogy was Jesus. He is the one who is  going to write the final chapter in history as well. God knows what he is doing. Jump.

Let’s Pray,

Lord, I want to thank you that you are in control of the flow of history, and that you use flawed human beings in the middle of history. Lord, we recognize that we’re flawed. And, Lord, we see in your background, you had a whole lot of flawed individuals, and yet, you came, and you came to save us.

So, I want to give thanks for that. I want to give thanks that you are in control of history, and so, Lord, I pray that you would use each listener, that you would help them to see that they are part of your plan, and you would help them to live that plan out.

I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

            Thank you for your words of encouragement, and for keeping us in your  prayers.,   Keeping this program on the air continues to be a work of faith. If you can help with that, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 , Rideau Ferry , On. K0G  1W0. Or you can give online by going to

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May you know   Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love


God is in Control (Twilla Paris) – Look at Shelia Walsh

Music to 7 min.

By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, December 28th, 2014: