This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:18-21

Almost every family has black sheep. A rebel who can’t seem to toe the line, another is making news because of an embarrassing antic. They are the ones in the family picture that others step away from so they are not too closely affiliated.

Jesus had black sheep in His family. When we read through Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1, we find prostitutes, adulterers, murderers, idol worshipers, and every other sort of black sheep. Not the kind of pedigree we might expect for the Savior of the world.

And then there’s Mary. Mary is found to be with child before marriage – a stigma in any society. We know how that news landed on her fiancé Joseph. He was embarrassed. He had in mind to leave her “quietly.”

In His sovereignty, God cleared up the matter for Joseph in a dream, but what of the rest of Mary’s family? Her closest friends? Her community? It’s likely that Jesus walked under a cloud of shame all His life because some could never accept such a fantastical story as a virgin conception. In their minds, Mary, and Jesus Himself, would always be black sheep.

God is apparently perfectly OK with that. In fact, black sheep are exactly the sort of people Jesus came for: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).

Jesus really had no other option than to come through a family tree with broken branches, a family tree like yours and mine. Every one of us is a black sheep. But thank God for the perfect Lamb who came to save black sheep like you and me.


Who comes to your mind as the black sheep of your family? Is it you? How does Jesus’ mission to save people from their sins change your view of black sheep?



Thank You for coming as a perfect Lamb to save black sheep like me – wash me with Your precious blood and make me white as snow.


Devotional from: Newtown, Pennsylvania, USA.