I remember how bored I was reading the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17) when I was young. I did not think there was anything to learn from it, so I put a pin on it and moved on. Twenty five or so years passed, then the penny dropped! There are solid proofs of the unfathomable depth of our Holy God’s love for us sinners found in the genealogy of Jesus! Let me show you three people in the line of Jesus who messed up. This is comforting evidence that God still loves us no matter how much we ‘blew it’ and He is able to use our mess for His glory.
· Jacob was a liar and deceiver. He tricked his older brother Esau to steal his right as the first-born (Genesis 27:1-40). But he was obedient to God’s commands, so God used him to fulfill His promise to Abraham to build His holy nation, Israel, whom eventually redeemed the entire world through Jesus.
· Rehab was a Gentile prostitute living in a sin city bound for God’s destruction - Jericho. She believed the God of Israel is God in heaven above and on earth below. So, she risked her life to hide the Israelite spies. Hence, her entire family were not only saved from destruction and were welcomed to live amongst Israel, God gave her privilege as part of Jesus’s genealogy (Joshua 2).
· King David, whom God declared ‘a man after his own heart’ (1 Samuel 13:14), fell into sin by killing his faithful servant, to steal his wife Bathsheba (Samuel 11: 1-26). Yet God forgave Him and established a never ending throne through the person of Jesus after he later truly repented (Samuel 12:1-31).
You know, I finally understand the meaning of God’s Grace through the Old Testament stories, ironically through my beautiful daughter, Grace. I often broke her heart and made her cry due to my impatience or choosing work over her. I felt like I was a sinner, lost my cool, and grew fangs and horns! But, every time I came to my senses, swallowed my pride, and asked for her forgiveness, she forgave me and gave me the biggest hugs (though I don’t deserve it sometimes) to show how much she loves me and continues to love me unconditionally.
Likewise, God loves us so much so He does not give us the things we deserve (condemnation, punishment, abandonment, etc.), rather, He gives us the things we do not deserve (grace, mercy, Jesus, etc.). The Apostle Paul put it perfectly; “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-9, NIV).
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, allow me to leave you with this: close your eyes and imagine our Lord Jesus’s bloody body on the cross (after being betrayed, condemned and falsely persecuted). He could have cursed and sent fire to rain on His accusers (I know I would!). Nonetheless, in his last, excruciatingly painful, dying breaths, He chose compassion and prayed,“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34)”.
Well, what more can I say? That is our indescribably Awesome and Loving God in the person of Jesus!