Skip to main content

Last Friday we ended with this. That’s what Matthew 1 is teaching us. Jesus had roots. He had a history. He had a family. He came from somewhere.

Jesus’ family tree hides nothing. His heritage was a multi-ethnic society and included several unattractive or embarrassing individuals. 

Indeed, the circumstances surrounding His own birth might have raised questions in the minds of some. But Jesus never denied His ancestry or allowed others to shame Him. 


Do you remember the TV mini-series Roots? It was the story of how Alex Haley, set out to discover his family’s history. All he knew was that his family had descended from an African slave named Kinte who landed in America 

 He also remembered stories his aunts and grandmothers told him when he was a child. So Alex began to try and put the story together. 

One thing that was significant throughout Alex’s generations, were a few words of the original African language that had been repeated. With that information Alex went from one linguist to another, asking if they knew what language they came from. 

No one seemed to know, until one day he met someone who identified the words as belonging to a tribal language from the small West African country of Gambia. After more research, he discovered that Maryland was an entry point for thousands of African slaves. When Alex went to that area, he found the name Kinte in the breeding records of a family that had owned slaves a century and a half earlier.

Eventually, Alex made the trip to the Gambia. There he visited tribe after tribe, listening to the tribal historians tell their stories. These were old men who had memorised hundreds of years of birth, death, marriage and war. One day he sat for hours listening as a man told the story of his tribe. The genealogy of hundreds of years was told and during the story, Alex heard “So-and-so was the first. He married so-and-so. They had so-many children and lived so many years.” They had a son. In such-and-such a year he was taken away and never seen again.” What was the name of the son? Kunta Kinte. 

The year was 1752. Alex said, “I had what they call a peak experience.” It was one of those moments of revelation that you have once or twice in a lifetime. He said, “I realised then that I had roots. I had history. My family came from somewhere.”

We need to understand and accept our roots in terms of culture, race, gender, and reputation. Moreover, like Jesus, we want to avoid demeaning anyone else’s heritage. 

Finally, Matthew wants to show us that Jesus is also the international Christ, the Saviour of the whole world. 

Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” Jesus had a human family. He had a mother and a father and a history. He’s not some fictional character—like the gods on Mount Olympus. No, he was a real person born into a real family. 

John tells us this about Jesus I John beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Now John is saying something else.” John says, He was full of grace and truth.” The word “full” means that you just could not have any more. He brought all the deity with Him, and He was full of grace and full of truth when He came down here.

So Jesus has roots both as eternal (self-existing) and in human from the Christmas story.

Author Edward Lawrence

More posts by Edward Lawrence