We Are Included
As I read the Biblical geneology Christ in the book of Matthew, I was at first struck at the women who were included. I was delightfully happy that women stood out in the book of generations of men. Not just Mary, the innocent virgin girl. Not just Mary who has been honored as the earthly mother of Christ Jesus, but of four other women. All of them were different, all of them has some type of past that was less than perfect. Yet, they are included. I have always loved seeing their names there, but only over the last few years have I deeply delved into their backgrounds, or what their backgrounds mean to us as people today.
I love also the salutations that were spoken to the shepherds; not kings, not the elite of the society, but to shepherds, the working, everyday folks. From the birth of Christ the Lord, it was universal - inclusive. Luke 2:9 - 14
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them: and they were very afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angels a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
But then not to leave people of education and prosperity out of the mix; The story is told in the book of Matthew of the wise men who had followed the star to find Christ. These were men who studied the writings of the prophets, and in their day had lived to see the scriptures that foretold the birth of Christ become a reality. The Bible does not say where they came from, except they were from the east and came to Jerusalem seeking the newborn King of the Jews. They followed the star, which went before them, until it came to where the young child was. And when they found Mary, Joseph and the young child - no longer in a cave for cattle, but in a house - they fell down and worshipped him: they opened their treasures and present to him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Again, inclusion of another race, inclusion of people of financial means.
No one is left out in the presentation of Jesus. For He came to ALLpeople. I was an adult before I realized there were no Christians until after the death. burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I've always been a slow learner, so it was also a surprise to me to learn that before Christ, God loved all people. Before He called Abram in Ur of the Chaldees, He loved Noah and made a covenant with him, and Noah's seed, that neither Noah nor all flesh be cut off any ore by waters of a flood that shall destroy the earth. When we see the rainbow we see the sign of God's covenant and He remembers His everlasting covenent between Himself and every living creature of all flesh upon the earth. Inclusian.
Now it may seem like I've taken the long way around getting to the ladies in Christ geneology, but for me, I needed to go to the beginning to realize just how inclusive the Lord is. Women were never left out of anything God did. From the beginning He made male and female. Genesis 1:27, So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 5:1,
...In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created He them, and called their name Adam in the day when they were created.
When we look at the geneology of Christ we see people of all different ethnic groups, and people who were not so nice. Yet, they were included in the family of our Lord. On the women's side, there was:
Tamar - who slept with her father in law; only because he cheated her of his son, who was by law due her. Later he said of her, "She is more righteous than I because I gave her not my son." Genesis 38: 13-30.
Joshua 2:1 ...And they went and came into the harlot's house, named Rahab, a Caananite, and lodged there. Rahab showed her faith in a God she had only heard of. Verse 9, And she said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you this land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. We have heard how the LORD dried up the waters of the Red Sea for you...And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man becauase of you: for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above, and in the earth beneath... Wow, what a profession by someone who only knows the feats of God, and not yet the love of God. And she and her family were spared, and she married Salmon, and gave birth to Boaz.
Ruth - She has a book named after her, and she wasn't even Jewish either. Ruth was a Moabitess. These are the people who came from the insestous relationship Lot's daughters had with him. It's weird how the Lord works through our lives different people for a particular result. This woman, married to a Jewish man away from his country died. She could have gone back home to her own people. But she had bonded with Naomi, her mother in law, and vowed to stay with her. She vowed to take her mother in laws God to be her God. Then she left her own country with Naomi. In a land where she was a stranger she proved herself virtous to those around her, and ended up marrying the richest man around, who himself was the son of an outsider Rahab the prostitute. Boaz was also a virtuous man, and they produced Obed, who is the father of Jesse, who is the father of David, the King.
Beersheba - came into the linage of Christ through a rape. She was a married woman who was paged by the King, David to have sex. Her husband was at war, and when David was through with her, he sent her home. But word came to him that she was pregnant. David, instead of admitting his adultry had her husband killed, and took her to be his wife. The baby died. At some point between David's other wives, Besheba gave birth to Soloman, who became the wisest and greatest King of Israel.
Isaiah 7:14, Therefore the LORD Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall concieve and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Matthew 1:18, Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they had come together, she was found with child of the Holy spirit.
Mary - a virgin was told by the angel Gabriel came to her and told her she had found favor with God, and would concieve and bear a son, and call His name JESUS, that he would be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the LORD would give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
I betch'a she was some kind of scared! But she said she was a handmaiden of the LORD, be it unto me according to thy word. A woman in those days pregnant without a husband was a stoning offense, a death sentence, and even her family would be a part of the scandal. Mary is a lesson in a walk of faith into the unknown.
Five brave women who took a stand. I think when we look at these women in depths we will see much of ourselves. There are no perfect people, but there are people the Lord will use to perfect His will. Our Lord is in the love and including business.Jesus came to earth for all to come into the kingdom of God.
I'm really not leaving out the men, There are some scoundrels of the male variety who also make the list of Christ's geneology. There is only one perfect person who is sinless, and He gave His life that we might live. He paid the price of our sins in His own body that we could become sons and daughters of God.
Today there are people who think that because of what they have done, or are doing that they cannot come to the Lord. I'm so glad that Jesus say to all that whosoever can come - I am a whosoever, and so are you whoever you are - Come, for He will not turn you away.
Wherever you are in life, the Lord is there. Jesus left us a GREAT gift. He said I must go away so that Holy Spirit would come. He will show us truth, He will guide us to our Father through Christ Jesus. He will show us the love of Christ.
Galatians 5:13-14, ...You have been call to liberty; only use not liberty for an occasian to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Wouldn't it be a wonderful season if mankind could celebrate this time of they year that we call the birthday of Jesus, by loving all mankind. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could learn to accept people for who they are, do for people what we can, when we can, and pray for them, and love God with all our heart and strength, and love mankind (our neighbor) as ourselves.
The picture at the top of the page is my version of these women. All different but still included.