A Holy Irregularity

Scott Hoezee

Read: Matthew 1:1, 12-16

. . . and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. (v. 16)

You are perhaps ready to move on from this family tree. Hopefully, we have come to see some surprising theological nuggets hidden in this genealogy. Even so, six days in one long list of names is enough. It’s so repetitive. It’s one sentence after the next of “was the father of . . . the father of . . . the father of . . .”

Ah, but wait. What about verse 16? Suddenly the pattern of all those “the father of” lines gets snapped when Joseph is called “the husband of Mary.” The husband of Mary, not the father of Jesus. Hmm. This verse has been called a kind of “holy irregularity.” Something new is afoot here. Mary had a baby. Her husband was Joseph, but . . . something unusual, irregular happened to bring about the arrival of this Jesus.

Apparently, Jesus is more than his ancestry could have produced. Yes, he’s fully human and this is his family listed in Matthew 1. And as we said at the start of the month, it was very important to Matthew’s Jewish readers to establish that Jesus came from the line of David. But for history to change, for grace to flow, for salvation to come, something extra was needed. We needed a miracle. And we got one. It’s called Christmas. —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: O God, the virgin bore a son. And we fall back to praise you for that miracle. Amen.