Today's Lectionary Text
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
The Christmas story has many dots or connections within Jesus’ earthly family tree. Amazingly, Rahab, who was regarded a harlot in the book of Joshua, is part of Jesus’ lineage. Rahab, a Gentile, pagan worshiper was graced a heroine among primordial biblical women regardless of her past.
What does your past whisper to you? I suggest a few words from my own whispers: shame, regret, condemnation, disqualification, and isolation. I assume these whispers haunted the beautiful ancient Rahab in her life cycle. What caused her to be known in such a negative disfiguring industry or carrying such a negative reputation? The answer is simple, this was her past as she lived awaiting a new beginning granted by a gracing God. People would not quickly forget and did not want her to forget.
The book of Joshua introduces our heroine during the invasion of Jericho. Rahab is known for helping the Israelites defeat the pagan city of Jericho. Indeed, this was the genesis and transformative moment for Rahab’s faith journey. Ultimately, Rahab married Salmon, an Israelite from the tribe of Judah. Her son was Boaz, Ruth’s husband. Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, is her direct descendant.
From the human eye, Rahab was not fit to be candidate of a protagonist of faith considering her past. God used her mightily and graciously and converted her for the best moment. Her acts of kindness and God’s hidden plans qualified her for such a recognition during Christmas. Just you ponder more on Rahab, God had her in mind for our salvation. God saved Rahab’s past into a glorious lineage of Christ. No matter what our past whispers to us, no matter what our past holds, our past is the reason Jesus is born. We have hope in the birth of Christ. It is not about our past but our present and future which please God.
God uses those with the past, those that are broken but repent and are born again. Let Rahab’s story convince you. Through the invasion of Canaan Rahab was saved and her entire family.
It is worth noting that God redefined Rahab’s past. God has the tendency of qualifying the unqualified. Rahab was certified as the Jesus’ great grandmother. This is always happening even now. In Joshua, she was, “Rahab the harlot.” In our scripture context, Matthew defines her wonderfully and calls her, “Rahab, mother of Boaz. That is amazing! May the whispers of the past be defeated by the newness of God’s salvation through the birth of Jesus Christ. May you receive Jesus with joy and gladness this Christmas season. Receiving him in your heart transforms your past into new titles of a heroes or heroines of faith. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!!!
--Rev. Ever V. Mudambanuki
Nebraska City First UMC
Prayer for Reflection
God of divine plans and transformation teach us to walk in faith always. Thank you for redefining our lives through the birth of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
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