The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
You can learn a lot about a family just by reading its genealogy. A quick reading of the family history of Jesus is very insightful and helpful to understand who He is and who we are in Him. There are a lot of great names and heroes of the faith in Jesus' family tree. Names like Abraham and David, Isaac and Jacob, Solomon, Uzziah, and Hezekiah. These are the names of great kings and mighty warriors. Not perfect people by any stretch of the imagination, but people who achieved a level of greatness in their lives.
But there are also some gnarled branches in Jesus' family tree. Judah, who fathered Perez and Zerah by his daughter-in-law Tamar, whom he thought was a prostitute when he slept with her (see Genesis 38). Mentioned also in Jesus' genealogy is Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute living in Jericho, whose life was spared because she lied to protect the Israelite spies who came to check-out the great walled city (see Joshua 2). Then there is Bathsheba, who is not mentioned by name, but whose story with David is well known.
Perhaps my favorite is Manasseh who became the King of Judah after his father Hezekiah had led the people in a time of spiritual renewal and revival. Manasseh rebelled against the ways of his father and became one of Judah's most vicious, blood-thirsty and power hungry kings. According to 2 Kings 21, Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit, leading them to do evil in the Lord’s sight. (2 Kings 21:16 NLT). Manasseh's evil was so great the Lord removed him from the throne by having him captured by the Assyrians.
At first thought, one may wonder why you would put the names of such notorious people in the genealogy of the Savior of the world. Wouldn't you want to focus on His godly heritage to enhance His hero status? Why include these nefarious sinners? The simple answer is two words: GRACE and TRUTH. Each of these stories reflects the truth of Scripture and the amazing grace of God overcoming the sinful failures of man to the glory of God.
Manasseh's story is a supreme example of God's grace. While in prison in Assyria, Manasseh experienced the grace of the Lord and a transformation of life. He prayed to the Lord in repentance and the Lord restored him to the throne and he worked, in the latter years of his life, to overcome all the wrong he had done(see 2 Chronicles 33).
The Bible says that Jesus came in to the world "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). We see His nature and character reflected in His family tree - in the stories of the heroes and villains of the faith, we see God's grace and truth. And the good news is, His story is our story. Jesus is still growing the family tree, and all who come to Him know His grace and truth. We are in the family tree because of God's grace and the truth of His Word.