Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).
One of the distinctive features of Matthew's list of Jesus' ancestors is the inclusion of four women, each of whom had an unusual and painful story to tell.
Take Bathsheba, for example (2 Sam. 11-12). While she was bathing on the roof of her home, King David spotted her and lusted after her. He used his sovereign authority to have her brought to him so that he might have sex with her, even though he knew that she was married to a man named Uriah. When she became pregnant, David tried to get Uriah, who served in the king's army, to sleep with his wife so that David's immorality might not be discovered. But Uriah refused out of loyalty to his fellow soldiers. David responded by having Uriah placed at the front of the battle line so that he might be killed.
As judgment upon David for his gross sins, God took the life of the child he fathered through Bathsheba. Later, he again slept with her, after he had taken her as one of his wives. This time Bathsheba gave birth to a child who lived: Solomon. And he became one of the legal ancestors of Jesus.
Talk about amazing redemption! God used even David's abomination in his plans to save the world. This in no way excuses David for what he did with Bathsheba and Uriah, but it does testify to God's amazing grace and inscrutable sovereignty.
If God can work even through a man like David, then he can work through people like you and me. If God can bring good out of David's egregious sin, then he can redeem our lives as well.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How has God brought good out of bad things in your life, or the life of your family? If God can bring good out of evil, does this lessen our desire to do what's right? Or does it increase it? Why?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, I marvel at the wonder of your grace, and the mystery of your sovereignty. You execute your will, not only in spite of our sins, but sometimes even through them. You can take the worst of actions and turn them around for good. That doesn't excuse the wrong, of course. But it does testify to your incredible mercy and love.
All praise be to you, my Redeemer, for taking the mess of my life and working it out for good. What a wonder you are, dear Lord! Amen.