Advent Day 5: Black Sheep

God and Sinners Reconciled”

On the surface, reading a genealogy is about as wonder-filled an experience as staring at a brick wall; however, in the hands of an author like Matthew, moved by the Holy Spirit, Jesus’s origins conveyed a true sense of excitement and anticipation. This was only one half of our definition of wonder though. The other element of wonder is the surprise that comes with seeing glimpses of things we did not expect to see- surprise that causes us to ponder, and leaves us in silence. Alongside the thread of excitement, Matthew weaves in another thread to this cord that will surprise us.

After mentioning Abraham and David, Matthew includes names like Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheeba. These women are not at all what we would expect, in fact, they might cause some discomfort for Matthew’s initial readers. These women were foreigners, or prostitutes, or adulterers, or worse. Why would Matthew include them?

In placing Tamar, and Rahab, and Ruth, and Bathsheeba in this genealogy, Matthew has forever glued together the promises of the Old Testament with people who the world would view as the undeserving. The statement that Matthew has made is that the blessings of Abraham and David belong to people like these, and because of the nature of Jesus’s lineage, they can never be separated.

And so we are left in wonder. Wonder at the reality that God would attach his blessings to people like these. We rest in the comfort of knowing that we in our failures are invited in to the blessing of the advent of Jesus, and we are challenged as we begin to comprehend that the blessings extend beyond us- to everyone- even those WE would deem unworthy.

Passage:

-Matthew 1:2-6

DIscussion Question:

-The wonder of Matthethew’s genealogy largely comes from the fact that he ties unexpected people like gentiles, prostitutes, and adulterers to Jesus’s blessing. Think about the people around you today- What kind of people do you have trouble accepting that Jesus’s blessing is for?