Those who came before us make us who we are today
Published 5:14 am Tuesday, December 21, 2021
J. Jackson, lead singer of the Christian group, Apologetix, once told the story of a missionary he knew who worked for years with a previously unreached tribe to put their language into writing.
She began by translating the Gospel of Matthew for them. The tribe was so excited when a truck carrying the printed booklets arrived.
Then she realized they were only excited because they’d never seen a truck before! They never even bothered to read the booklets.
Eventually, she went back and finished translating the Gospel of Matthew.
It turns out, she hadn’t bothered to translate the genealogy of Jesus in chapter one, because she didn’t see much value in the long list of names.
Once the complete Gospel of Matthew was finished, the tribal chief started reading it.
He asked her to explain to him what the genealogy part meant.
She explained that those people were Jesus’ ancestors.
The chief exclaimed, “You mean, this Jesus you’ve been telling us about is a real person?”
Teary-eyed, he then asked, “Then why has no one ever come to tell us about Him before?”
That genealogy opened the door for the chief and his tribe to believe in Christ.
After hearing that story, I went back and read Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew chapter one. And something caught my eye, the genealogies in the Bible always list the names of men when tracing a person’s ancestry.
But for some reason there are four women listed in Jesus’ family tree.And they’re not just any women…these were bad girls of the Bible!
First, there’s Tamar. Genesis 38 shows she was the daughter-in-law of Judah and how she seduced her father-in-law just to get pregnant. (Talk about a messed-up family!)
Second, there’s Rahab. The book of Joshua chapter 2 tells how she was a prostitute in Jericho with a terrible past.
Then, there’s Ruth. Even though she has her own book in the Bible, she started off as a lawbreaker.
She was a Moabite woman who married a Jewish man, which was forbidden by law.
Finally, there’s Bathsheba, the unfaithful wife of Uriah and adulteress lover of King David.
When I saw those four women listed in the genealogy of Jesus, I couldn’t believe my eyes. How could God allow those bad girls to end up in the family tree of His Holy Son?
Then I went back and read their stories.
Yes, they all committed bad sins, but they also repented and believed on the one true God.
And because of that, God forgave them and placed them in the lineage of the Messiah.
You see, the reason those four women are listed in the Christmas story of the book of Matthew is because it doesn’t matter how messed up your family is… or what you’ve done in the past… or how many laws you’ve broken… or how unfaithful you’ve been.
God can forgive you and give you a second chance. And that’s what Christmas is all about!
Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.