The Royal Line
A devotional thought from Jonathan Leeman for “The Land”
Matthew 1:5-6: “Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered King David.”
Consider four things about these unexpectedly remarkable words. First, notice the two names you would not expect to find in the family charts of a celebrated king like David: Rahab and Ruth. Typically, people want to lay open the gold-encrusted genealogical tomes of their nation’s royal families and find inspiring stories of valor, chivalry, and pure blood. But a prostitute and a foreigner? Why would God include them in the royal line of David?
Second, observe the fact that this genealogy doesn’t stop with David but descends to an even greater King, Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:16). God has placed such women not just in the line of David but of His sinless Son. He wants us to go back to books like Joshua and Ruth, where these two women are found, and see that He is working out His plan of redemption even there. And He’s using the most unlikely characters to do it.
Third, rejoice in what these first two observations mean for you. God unites both the sinful and the strange to himself. You are not too sinful for the Father to love you and adopt you into the family of His Son. You are not too strange for the Son to embrace you saying, “My brother” or “My sister.”
Fourth, consider what all this means for our churches. They should be fellowships of repentant sinners and reconciled strangers. Do you share the gospel only where it’s safe? Then there’s a lesson for you in Rahab. Do all of your Christian friends look just like you? Then there’s instruction for you from Ruth.
Praise Jesus. He is not ashamed to call us family and to pronounce, “Here I am with the children God gave me” (Heb. 2:11-13).
Pause and Reflect
• Why is the inclusion of Rahab and Ruth in the genealogy of Jesus good news for you?
• Picture the faces of both your non-Christian and Christian friends. What’s the lesson of Rahab and Ruth for you?