Turning Scandal Around (The Christmas Series)

Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar).
Perez was the father of Hezron…

Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab).
Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).
Obed was the father of Jesse.
Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah)

Matthew 1:3a, 5-6 New Living Translation

One of the things that stands out when you read the genealogy of Jesus as recorded in Matthew is the women Matthew chose to include in the list: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. All four have stories of scandal in their day. Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and had an adulterous relationship with her father-in-law, which resulted in twins being born to Judah. Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute who protected two Hebrew spies as they scouted Jericho before its eventual destruction. Ruth was a foreigner who married into a Jewish family twice. Bathsheba was the wife King David stole from one of his soldiers. Each woman had a scandalous side to their story but each woman also is an example of God’s redemptive nature. God took their scandals and turned them around for good.

It seems fitting that Matthew would include these women in the genealogy that opens his telling of the story of Jesus. His focus in writing was to make Jesus known to a Jewish community that had turned their law into a system that kept more people out than it welcomed in. Matthew, himself, was an outsider by virtue of his job as a traitorous tax collector for the Roman Empire that now oppressed his people. Matthew’s Gospel is a story of how God turned over the social structures of his day to create a new covenant that would welcome people who were outcasts and foreigners.

As we look at our own story, the things that speak shame and scandal to us may stand out in our minds. The American society has become a shaming society that can breed anxiety that someone will out the things we would prefer no one else knew and bring us shame. It is God’s desire, though, to redeem those stories and turn them around for the benefit of others. He longs to write a new story of grace where others would write a story of shame.

Thank you, God, for your mercy and grace. Thank you that you turn our stories of shame into stories of redemption.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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