We’re broken. But the Cure for what ails us spiritually has in His roots others who were broken but redeemed, including Gentiles and prostitutes who began looking for love in all the right places. Bad became good. I’ll explain after first correcting a biblical misinterpretation about Jesus’ lineage.
Matthew 1:16 incorrectly identifies Joseph as the husband of Mary in Jesus’ lineage. This Joseph was her father, not her husband. In the original language, he could’ve been her father or husband. But Scripture insists it’s the former. Consider this:
- The rhythm of Matthew 1:1-17 is “ . . . the father of . . .” So, ending with “. . . the husband of . . .” doesn’t work.
- Mary’s husband, Joseph, didn’t contribute to Jesus’ bloodline.
- According to Matthew 1:17, there were 14 generations from Abraham to David (1:2-6, check!), 14 from David to the Babylonian deportation (1:6-11, Jeconiah – check!), and 14 from Jeconiah to Jesus (1:11-16). If Joseph in verse 16 is Mary’s husband, as incorrectly interpreted, then you end up with only 13 generations, and the text is wrong. But, with Joseph as her father in the lineage, the rhythm is consistent, and you get 14 generations.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like to focus on the seemingly broken out of which so much good came. One thing I’d like you to get out of this is that we’re never too bad, too broken, to be redeemed by God and used for His good while there’s breath within us. And status and education don’t determine our usefulness in God’s Kingdom!
Prostitutes and Gentiles. Tamar (Matthew 1:3) tricked King Judah into having sex with her by pretending to be a prostitute. Ruth (1:5) was a non-Jew (Gentile) who contributed to Jesus’ bloodline. The Gentile prostitute Rahab from Jericho gave birth to Boaz, the great-grandfather of David (1:6), who committed adultery and murder. But these broken people didn’t stay that way and became mighty in God’s Kingdom. It shouldn’t be any different for us!
The disciples. The earliest disciple-makers and Christian influencers included ruffians, zealots, a tax collector, a cheat, and people with attitude. For instance, Simon rebelled against Roman occupiers, Matthew collected taxes from a disgruntled Jewish population, and Judas Iscariot embezzled money from the disciples’ coffers. And we know about Peter’s temper! Yet, all played a vital role in God’s mission through Jesus.
In summary, God uses the uneducated and simple and turns seemingly bad into good to accomplish His mission to reconcile creation to Himself. What’s next? Well, words without corresponding actions are generally useless. What actions over speech does God desire? Find out in my next blog!
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.