“Jesus’ human lineage teaches us that the unconditional love of God is limitless
and without prejudice.” Tom Ricks @gtccmo
Next week my girl will play Rahab in a Christmas musical. I’m not kidding. Gone are the years of being an angel with a sparkly halo covering her white-blonde hair. Instead, my sweetie is Rahab, the prostitute.
Do you know her story? Take a look. Besides my Rescuer, Rahab just might be my new favorite nativity character…
Her wandering mind — a pathway to her aching heart. In the daytime while trying to do regular life. At dusk while anticipating another job. In the night when her work seemed to last forever.
Rahab. The prostitute from Jericho. God’s choice to help His people redeem what was once theirs before slavery. “That woman” with an unprotected heart was about to play the role of protector.
(Bear with me, friend. This really is an Advent post.)
Who would have imagined it?! Our counter-cultural God. He woos me out of judgements and man-made religion.
She hears a knock and welcomes two spies from Shittim, the very town where God’s people began to “whore with pagans” years and years before being enslaved in Egypt. Yes, Moses really did write those words. The Rescue is all the more beautiful when we get honest about our messiness. How absolutely mysterious Joshua chose two men from Shittim — the memory of Israel’s physical and spiritual harlotry — to recapture their hope. Recapture their Promised Land. Recapture their hearts. Again.
Rahab. She had the perfect job for this plan to unfold. Two men entering her home looked rather commonplace in her doorway. But her future of redemption and purpose was anything but ordinary.
“We have heard how the Eternal held back the Red Sea,” she admits, “so you could escape from Egypt on dry land … As soon as this news reached us, our hearts melted… The Eternal One, your God, is truly God of the heavens above and the earth below.” Joshua 2:9-11 Aching for truth Rahab was. Fashioned for something greater than man’s empty lust, her purpose found her. Practically stumbled upon her doorstep.
Can you see the woman captured by shame? Can you see the spies — the former slaves — captured by consequences of their ancestor’s mistakes? Can you see the Maker choosing people with heaps of baggage? Can you see Him bringing together diverse people taught to hate and mistrust one another as He writes His Rescue Story for generations to come?
And what a radical ending… The scarlet cord used to lower the spies from her window served as her protection upon their return with an army. Joshua 5 & 6 The rescue tool she provided really saved her. She married an Israeli and bore a son named Boaz… a son who would later be known for his sacrifice and deep commitment and care for an immigrant, one of society’s outcasts.
What a proud mama she must have been! The one who had been given grace saw her adult son extending grace to a foreign outcast. Without prejudice.
It doesn’t get much better than that. But actually, it does…
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. Matthew 1:1-16
Yes, next week my daughter will be Rahab in a Christmas musical. You see, generations after Rahab taught her son, Boaz, to love without prejudice, Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger. Jesus, the Immanuel, was from the line of Rahab. God With Us was from the human line of a scorned woman redeemed by grace.
The Gospel message, well, it’s different than what we’ve sometimes made church out to be. The Gospel extends beyond masks of perfection, beyond man-made communities still segregated by race and class, beyond our enslavement to what others think of us. God intentionally wove people into His ancestry whose aches led them to choices we hope our children never make.
When tempted to harshly judge others, challenges Darrin Patrick, remember that all of us violate our own convictions with embarrassing regularity. @darrinpatrick
Merry Christmas to you and yours. It feels different this year, doesn’t it? It’s almost as if you have choose to ignore or choose to engage in deep self-reflection.
Examining our own heart feels more like Good Friday and Easter rather than Advent. But the cross is here now, too. And really, it’s our only hope.
Limitless love. Without prejudice. I dare you. I dare me.