Saturday, January 7, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Matthew 1-2
Many Christians, particularly those who are young in their faith, might read the first 17 verses of Matthew 1 and ask, “Why? Why are all these names important enough they fill the opening verses to the New Testament?”
The foremost answer to the question is they chart the spiritual and royal lineage of Christ through Joseph, the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus. Verse one states Jesus was “the son of David”, the king of Israel, and “the son of Abraham”, the heir of God’s covenant promises of a Redeemer who would be a universal blessing to all men (Genesis 12:1-3; Luke 19:9; Acts 4:12).
Representing a succession of 42 generations, each of the names in the Abrahamic and Davidic lineage (1:1-17) represent a life that was lived; among them are the names of five women in the lineage of Jesus Christ, who are individually a testimony of God’s grace: Tamar (1:3), an adulterer who bore two sons to Judah, the beginning of the royal lineage of Israel; Rahab (1:5), a prostitute of the city of Jericho who hid Israel’s spies in her home; Ruth (1:5), a Moabitess, a descendant of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter; Bathsheba (1:6), an adulterer who is not named, but identified as “her that had been the wife of Urias” and gave birth to Solomon, the son of David and heir to the throne; Mary (1:18), a peasant girl of Nazareth and the virgin mother of Jesus Christ.
Take a moment and ponder those five names again…adulterer, prostitute, child of an incestuous line, an adulterer, and a humble peasant girl. “Scandalous”, you say? Yes, but testimonies of God’s mercy and grace, His unmerited favor, by which all sinners might be saved.
Think you will never be “good enough” for God? You are right; however, God’s grace, love and forgiveness, is extended to all who turn from their sin and come to Him through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus.
Romans 5:8-9 – “8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith