God’s Redemption Is Truly for Anyone
Written by: Meredith Miller
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I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth. - Numbers 24:17 (NLT)
Call me crazy, but I have grown partial to genealogies in Scripture, particularly when it comes to Jesus. As a younger Christian, I would skim these lists of names, mostly because they were just too hard to read. But then I did Jen Wilkin’s study, God of Creation, and suddenly learned to love these genealogies because of all the things I could learn about Jesus from them.
My favorite is in the first chapter of Matthew because it includes women. When a woman’s name is mentioned in Scripture, my ears always perk up because this was so uncommon for the time. But God made sure that we knew women were crucial to the line of Jesus!
The first mentioned is Tamar, whose story can be found in Genesis 38. She was left in what was considered a state of disgrace after losing two husbands and having no children, but her father-in-law Judah refused to marry her to his third son. She tricked Judah into fathering a child for her.
The next woman is Rahab, whose story is in Joshua 2. Although she was a Jericho prostitute and most people believed in pagan gods, she followed the one true God and protected the spies that scouted out the Promised Land. The book of Ruth tells the story of the next woman, who married her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. Even though she was from the pagan land of Moab, she chose to follow her mother-in-law and believe in God.
David’s wife Bathsheba is also mentioned, even though David’s relationship with her started out as adultery; she was the mother of Solomon, who carried on this line. And of course, the mother of Jesus, Mary, is in the Matthew genealogy, rounding out the list of five prominent women given this honor.
In each case, these women were not looked on kindly by others. They were shoved aside as widows, prostitutes and adulterers, or unwed mothers. But each one of them finds redemption - not only because God gives them the honor of carrying on this line, but because this line ultimately leads to the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ! I just love that in this, God reminds us that no matter how far gone someone may seem, there is always a chance at redemption.
Of course, most Scripture about Jesus’ lineage points back to David. In today’s key verse, Numbers 24:17, Balaam predicts that “a star will come out of Jacob, and scepter will come out of Israel” (NIV). This refers to Jacob, also renamed Israel by God, who appears early in the line of Jesus. Isaiah 11:1 zooms in, when Isaiah prophesied, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse…” (NIV). Jesse, also in the line of Jesus, fathered David. Then Jeremiah 23:5 gets us right to David himself: “...I will raise up for David a righteous Branch…” (NIV). But how can we be sure that Jesus is THE descendant of David that is the awaited Messiah? While man’s expectation of what He should look like indicates a mighty ruler, God gives us a clear picture through David himself.
In 1 Samuel 16:7, when God directs Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king, Samuel assumes it will be one of the sons who is handsome with a strong build. But God tells him, “...People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (NIV). Both David’s heart and outward appearance were that of a shepherd, one who guides a flock and cares for each sheep, leaving behind all others in order to find the one that is lost. This image clearly points to the ultimate Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who would spend His earthly ministry and His eternal reign doing exactly the same thing.
Just like those women in Jesus’ lineage, David was not perfect. He often turned away from God’s law in order to rule his own way. But he finds redemption in the line of Jesus, both through the honor of being included and the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus for the saving of all mankind. Time and again, Jesus’ genealogy exceeds our human expectations, showing that God’s redemption, received through faith in Christ, truly is for anyone and everyone, no matter how lost they appear.
1. As sisters of Jesus and daughters of God, we are also in the lineage of Jesus! How does this fact change your perception of yourself? If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior through faith, but are interested in the hope and redemption that comes with being part of His family, we’d love for you to learn more about starting a relationship with God.
Check out the Emoji Gospel at laneofroses.com/startarelationshipwithgod.
2. What ways is being a part of the family of God redeeming your story?
Heavenly Father, thank You so much for all of the pictures of redemption that we can see in the line of Jesus. We, too, are in need of that redemption, and we praise You that You have included us in this family. Help us to always see You as our Good Shepherd, seeking to save us when we are lost. In Your Son’s Precious Name, Amen.
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