NT Connect: Matthew 1:5
Weekly Reading: Ruth 2-4; 1 Samuel 1-2
An Unexpected Lineage
Recently, my brother revealed the results of a genealogy test he had taken. My sister and I sat in anticipation of some crazy ancestry news that would change the way we view our family forever. He announced dramatically, “Well, we are 99.9 percent Caucasian!” No surprise there! One look at our family portrait could have told us that. Just regular European people getting married and having kids for generations ending up in rural west Georgia. The test didn’t tell us much more than that, although the stories of the people would tell otherwise. Matthew 1 is similar in that it lists the genealogy of Jesus. It’s a list of names, tracing the lineage of Christ from Abraham to his father, Joseph. Hebrew start to finish, it would seem, until you know the stories of the people in between.
Two people mentioned in the ancestry of Jesus are Ruth and Boaz. You have read their ancient love story this week in Ruth 2-4. Ruth, a Moabite outsider who followed her dead husband’s widowed mother, Naomi, to the people of her ancestry. Naomi was bitter of soul, yet Ruth clung to her, refusing to depart from her. Ruth made the most significant and impactful decision of her life by leaving her home, her people, and her way of life in Moab and by embracing Naomi’s people and their God in Bethlehem. Boaz, a Hebrew land owner, well known and respected in his hometown of Bethlehem, took notice of Ruth as she gleaned in his fields. How could a man of such high standing fall for a woman who by any Hebrew standard, was beneath him? That is more easily understood when you consider who raised him. Boaz’s mother was Rahab. Her story is found in Joshua 2:1-24. Rahab herself was a prostitute and an outsider who left her life behind to live among the Hebrew people and serve their God. Sound familiar?
The bloodline of our Savior is a reflection of humanity at its best and worst. You would think the King of Kings would have a lineage of royalty that authenticated his right to rule. Not so with Christ. The blood he shed on the cross contained the DNA of generations of outsiders and insiders, the mighty and the meek, the giants of the faith and the obscure names of little note.
We can draw so much encouragement from knowing that in Christ, no matter what our stories, no matter our pasts, full redemption is possible. God redeems all those who look to Christ in faith. This redemption means that we are no longer defined by our pasts. We are not defined by our ethnicity or gender or national heritage. We are defined by who we are in Christ: we are God’s children who have been adopted into his family through Jesus Christ. Your true identity is in Christ.