Monday, May 25, 2009

Matthew 1

So unlike the heady and abstract opening of John, Matthew starts with a good old Hebrew genealogy. I think it's so interesting to see how each of the gospels open. So after looking at John yesterday, I wanted to read through each of their intros. It is said that Matthew considered his main audience to be the Hebrew crowd. So I guess this makes good sense to start the story of Jesus with who He is and where He came from in a way they would understand. But from what I understand of the Old Testament genealogies, this one is somewhat incomplete. It does however have one feature that I really like. It mentions five women.

In the first century, women were pretty much second-class citizens. What's more, most of these five women were notable for their checkered past. Tamar's story is so screwed up, you'll just have to go read it from Genesis 38 yourself. Rahab was a lying prostitute. Ruth, although a loyal friend, was a foreigner (also a group looked down upon). It can be argued that Bathsheba wasn't really at fault for being an adulteress, but she was skinny dipping within public view. And Mary, although she didn't do anything wrong, did cause a stir for turning up pregnant before she was married. All of these women (and a list of wicked and even cursed kings), still got to play a small role in the history of Jesus Christ's life. Because they are Joseph's family tree, they weren't biological ancestors (until you get back to David), but they get top billing here in the New Testament none the less.

I know to Matthew's audience this was probably intended to solidify Jesus' claim to the throne of David, but to me today it is yet another way the Bible shows us that God's plan is to use imperfect people as a platform to demonstrate His grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love. This list of idolaters, fornicators, adulterers, murderers, thieves, liars, cheaters, deceivers, and whatever other sins you can think of all became a part of the tapestry that was the big beautiful backdrop for the life of Christ.

Lord I thank you for you grace. Weave me into your beautiful story of redemption. Let my life shout and sing and declare your glory.


Bea said...

Yes, God's goodness, mercy and grace are astounding!!!! It is truly amazing we get to be a part of it.