Day 13 // Grace

“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1 (NIV)

Discovering hidden treasure makes any journey an adventure! Our Advent adventure today reveals a wealth of grace in the most surprising place of all – the genealogical record of Jesus. I have to admit that reading the genealogical records in the Bible is about as fun as going to the dentist. (No offense Doc) In fact, I often wondered why the New Testament begins with almost the whole first chapter dedicated to genealogy. Before you yawn, let me challenge you to read on and you will be as amazed as I was when I first discovered this treasure.

Beyond establishing the human and divine heredity of Jesus which was essential to validate His identity as the predicted Messiah, Matthew lists four names who made it in the line of Jesus you would consider the least likely! In Jesus day it was unusual to find a woman’s name in a genealogy, yet Matthew includes the names of four women. Not only are they women but they are Gentiles. What’s even more remarkable is what you think should have disqualified them. Let’s take a brief look:

Tamar – You can read about her in Genesis 38 but it’s a sordid account of immorality at its worst. Yet God chose for His Son to come through the sinful line of Judah and Tamar.

Rahab – She was a prostitute in Jericho who hid the Jewish spies in Joshua 2:1

Ruth – She was born in Moab and by Jewish law could not even be included among the Lord’s people. The law shut her out but love accepted her. (Ruth 1:4, Deut. 23:3-4)

Bathsheba – Listed as Uriah’s wife, she was married to him when she slept with King David. (2 Samuel 11)

You would naturally ask the question, “How did they get into the genealogy of Christ?” Ah, that’s where we see the treasure of grace hidden in the genealogical record! God loves all people regardless of our race or our mistakes. Jesus was not ashamed to be born in the line of sinful people; people that would have been considered by the religious crowd as outcasts! He came for sinners. Aren’t you glad He did! It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, grace covers it! The Bible tells us in Romans 5:20, “… where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” I’m sure if you were to have asked any one of these women if they thought they would be in the line of the Son of God, they would have laughed or maybe quietly held their head in shame. Maybe you feel like that. Be encouraged, grace will lift your head and embrace you with God’s love and accept you into His family with all the rights and privileges of a joint-heir of Jesus Christ! How awesome is that?

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus! A friend of sinners! A friend of mine! How grateful I am that nothing in my past, present or future can separate me from Your love! Thank You for accepting me into Your forever family!

Have you felt excluded from God’s family because of something in your life?

How does it feel to be embraced by grace and know that God loves you?

Who could you invite to one of the Christmas Eve services that may feel excluded because of some issue in their lives?