Today I started with Matt. 1:1-10, where Matthew gives Jesus' genealogy beginning with Abraham. Yep, that's one of those lists of "begats," except that in the New Living Translation the "begats" are updated to modern English. Not the most interesting stuff to read... usually.
I paid attention this time, though, and noted some interesting names on the list:
- Tamar. She committed incest with her father-in-law, Judah, because he wouldn't marry her to his youngest son in fulfillment of his family responsibilities. (Gen. 38)
- Rahab. She was a prostitute. She was the one who protected Joshua's two spies from the Canaanites, and was later spared when Jericho was destroyed. (Josh. 2, 6)
- Ruth. She was a gentile, meaning not a Jew, not one of God's "chosen people". She herself was obviously a very fine lady. But she was from Moab, a highly idolatrous tribe descended from Lot's son / grandson Moab, who was the product of incest. (Book of Ruth; Gen. 19)
- Manasseh. A descendent of David, he was probably the most evil king in the kingdom of Judah. God punished him and he did repent, but later the entire kingdom of Judah suffered because his sin was so great. (2 Kings 20, 21, 24:2-4)
That's the kind of people Jesus had in his lineage. A lot of the others were imperfect too. One thing I find particularly interesting is that, with the exception of Solomon's mother Bathsheba — who had issues of her own — the above three ladies are the only women mentioned in the list. Remember, this was a highly male-oriented society, and ancestry was mainly traced through the father.
Just think... That Almighty God, the most superior Being in all the universe, would join the human race at all is astounding enough. But to descend from such people? He could have arranged for his Son to have only top-quality people in his ancestry, but he didn't. He used ordinary folks, and folks who, even today, would still be considered low class. He ain't fussy!
I've asked God many times to show his love to me, and he really seems to have made quite a project out of that for about the last decade. He's brought myriad little things to my attention, things just like this. Sometimes he takes my breath away.
Well, folks, time to go. Happy New Year, and I hope you have a blessed 2010!