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What Jesus Can Do with Dead Wood and Bad Family Trees

What Jesus Can Do with Dead Wood and Bad Family Trees

Editor’s note: Enjoy these two excerpts from the Daily Reader The American Bible Challenge with your family!

Biblical Classified Ads — Aaron’s Staff

Read Numbers 17.

God asked Moses to collect staffs from the Twelve Tribes. The next day they woke up and found Aaron’s staff had not only budded but blossomed and produced almonds. A dead stick came to life and produced fruit. This miracle stopped the grumbling of the Israelites, who immediately recognized the power of God.

The staff was so legendary, it received a place inside the Ark next to the tablets containing the Ten Commandments and the jar of manna (Hebrews 9:4).

Why was it such a big deal? The staff represented the tribe of Levi, setting them aside for the role of priests. But it also showed the Israelites — and us — that God can take deadwood and bring it to life — budding, blossoming, and producing fruit.

It was a miracle that God could do with an old stick. It’s still a miracle He does with us. So if you feel like you’re deadwood or an old stick in the mud, don’t worry God can make you blossom again.

Bible Challenge

  1. What did Aaron’s staff turn into when he threw it before the Pharaoh in Exodus 10?
  2. Which three plagues of Exodus 7 and 8 happened as a direct result of Aaron’s staff?
  3. From which person in each tribe were the staffs collected in Numbers 17?
  4. What was written on each staff?
  5. What did they place the staffs in front of?

Genealogy of Jesus

Read Matthew 1:1–17.

I don’t know if I would publicize my genealogy if it looked like Jesus’:

  • Two men who had sex with their wives’ handmaidens
  • One who slept with his daughter-in-law
  • A prostitute
  • Someone who killed the husband of a woman he’d gotten pregnant
  • A line of political leaders who split and destroyed Israel

Sure, there are some highlights in there, but the lowlifes overshadow the good.

If Jesus, God Himself who knits and forms humanity in the womb, could design any family line he wanted, why choose this one? Because if He came through a perfect line of godly people, it would send a message that we needed to be bred perfectly to be included in God’s spiritual family. We would think any rotten branch on our family tree immediately disqualified us from righteousness. “Sorry, your dad was a train robber. You’re out!”

By coming through a line of imperfect people, Jesus shows us that He has risen above His heritage. Just because He came from sinners doesn’t mean He had to be a sinner.

Our parents may have been alcoholics or absentees. Or maybe our grandparents’ faces showed up routinely on the post office “Wanted” posters. Your great-great grandparents could have marched with Stalin. It doesn’t mean you have to be like them. Jesus proved that to be true.

A believer enters a new family line — the adopted sons and daughters of God the Father. That’s a family tree you should be happy to share.

Bible Challenge

  1. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus begins with what person?
  2. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus contains what woman who tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her in Genesis 38?
  3. According to Matthew, who was the son of Boaz and Ruth?
  4. Who is the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary?
  5. Three sets of how many generations are mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy?

Excerpted with permission from The American Bible Challenge by Troy Schmidt & Jeff Foxworthy, copyright Troy Schmidt.

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Your Turn

Jesus can change us from dead wood to a living, vibrant tree just by trusting in Him! We’re not lost causes no matter what our heritage, no matter what manner of bad behavior is represented in our family trees. He’s been there before us and made a way for us to relate to Him. How amazing is that? Come share our thoughts with us on our blog! We want to hear from you!