“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah…. Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. ….” Matthew 1:1-17
The lineage of Jesus is a picture of the redemptive power of God, how God takes those who commit great evil and works good out of it, and how good and evil alike ultimately work the will of God into this world experience. Looking at the kings of Israel is a roller coaster ride between good and evil. For me, as I read the names of all theses who struggled in this life and yet were included in the bringing of the Christ to us, it gives assurance to God’s ability to use even me. Just looking at the five women mentioned in Jesus’s family lineup is such a beautiful picture of redemption.
Tamar – the daughter-in-law of Judah who tricked Judah into fulfilling the law of birthing a child to carry on the name of the deceased don, who was her husband. She played the harlot in tricking Judah into lying with her so she could conceive and birth one of the fathers of Jesus. Despite the trickery she felt forced to practice in order to receive her due, Tamar was counted more righteous than Judah who refused his last son to her out of fear. Through her story we see deception, trickery, fear, faith, hope, and restoration.
Rahab – a harlot in Jericho who helped the spies of Israel escape and was protected on the day the walls fell and God’s people took possession of that land. She and her family were saved, and she was taken as a wife by Salmon, rewarded by God as one added to the line of Christ. Through her story we see harlotry, mercy, and redemption.
Ruth – the Moabitis daughter-in-law of Naomi. After the death of Naomi’s husband and two sons, Ruth refused to leave Naomi’s side and committed herself to follow Naomi and her God, no matter where that led her. It led her through commitment, faithfulness, and redemption to the pages of the history of Israel and its coming King.
Bathsheba – wife of Uriah, taken in adultery by King David who tried to hide the sin leading to pregnancy, even having Uriah killed in his attempts. But the prophet of God knew. The child born was taken in sickness, leading David to repent his sin. God’s grace to David and Bathsheba brought Solomon to life. We see lust, adultery, deception, murder, repentance, comfort, grace, and redemption.
Mary – believed to be of teenage years, was a virgin, considered a woman in her time frame, betrothed to Joseph. Found with child before the consummation of their marriage vows, no one believed her story of miraculous conception by the work of God’s Holy Spirit. If found out, she was destined to death by stoning for out of wedlock relations; the growing fetus considered proof of indiscretion. But God.
Angelic messengers, sent by God, prepare the couple for their journey of faith. Gabriel lets Mary know of her chosen estate, which she willing accepts by faith, despite the danger to her life. An angel in a dream brings Joseph into the loop of understanding the calling of God on them. And our Savior was born. Mary’s and Joseph’s story is a one of faith, humility, courage, hope, intrigue, anticipation, and, yes, redemption, as God protects mom and Babe, seeing Jesus safely to His destiny as redeemer of the world.
Redemption is throughout the history that brought the time of Christ to the earth. Now we have a part in His story. Jesus paid the price of sin that separates us from God, giving us a way to Him anew. His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension removed power from sin’s death, granting all humans opportunity to choose life – relationship with God for all eternity. All sin is paid for, but each person must choose to believe and receive the gift of Christ for themselves. The only sin that continues to separate us from the Father is refusal to believe and receive the truth of Jesus, the redeemer. By grace through faith we are saved. And once we choose Him, we become part of His redemptive story. What are you writing on His pages with your life?