He took our shame and came to redeem us in our scandal

This morning while reading the genealogy of Jesus found in Matthew 1:1-17, I was freshly struck by the faithfulness of God to his promise and the redemption of God through our scandal.

In Genesis 12, we find the account of an ancient encounter between Abram and the Creator God. God makes a covenant with Abram, changes his name, promises to give him descendants as numerous as the stars which will bring blessing to all nations on earth.

In 2 Samuel 7, we find the account of another ancient encounter between King David and the Creator God, whom we now know in the narrative is the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaach and Jacob. Here, God makes another covenant with David, promising to uphold the throne of David, upon which he will one day set a King who will reign forever.

And here we have in Matthew's genealogy, the linking of these promises fulfilled 42 generations later in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, who came to bring the gospel of the kingdom of God to all nations and who is crowned King of Kings through his victorious incarnation, sacrifice, resurrection and ascension.

To quote Mary in her Magnificat: God was faithful to Abraham and is to his offspring forever.

Then, there's redemption. Oh, his redemption! Our scandal, sin and shame are never too great for his redeeming grace. Woven through the genealogy like a scarlet thread are stories of everyday scandal which God redeemed for His Story.

Just to name a few: there's Judah who had an affair with his son's daughter, Tamar, and yet God includes their illegitimate son, Perez, in the very lineage of the incarnation of the God-man. There's Ruth, who was a Moabite (i.e. foreigner, exile, non-Jew), and she was the grandmother of King David himself! And let's not forget the most infamous playboy - King David himself, who had an affair with his neighbor's wife, Bathsheeba, and then had her husband killed in battle to avoid an awkward confrontation. And their son, Solomon, maintained the throne of David.

In these and countless other stories in the grand narrative of Scripture - and the people of God - we find God's redeeming fingerprints all over our sin, our shame and our scandal. He can and does take our mess to re-make something beautiful, permanent and reflective of his most excellent and glorious character.

God is redeemer of our scandal.

May our faithful, redeeming God draw us nearer to his heart as we reflect on the advent of King Jesus this season.

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