The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. So her husband, Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.”
When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus.
Matthew 1:18-25 CSB
I remember the first time I felt like I needed to hide from Jesus. I was at a Christian retreat my freshman year of college. I was hungry for God and wanted to know more of who He is. I believed that, as I was surrounded by His people at the retreat, I would learn more about Him. The Bible was newly alive to me, and with each phrase I was blown away at how it spoke to me and how I could understand it. I wanted more.
I tuned in as the speaker gave his talk, hanging on every word, until he said something that shook me. The speaker asked, “What would you do if Jesus walked into the room right now?”
The immediate thought that came to my mind was: I would hide.
If Jesus came into the room, I would hide. I would go and bend down behind one of the worn couches and make sure He couldn’t see me. Because He wouldn’t want to see me—He, being holy and good, and me, being filthy and having done awful things. I was not clean. I was dirty. A holy God shouldn’t see a dirty girl.
I shared my thoughts with my small group, thinking they were obvious and made sense, and someone from the group spoke life to me, “You wouldn’t have to hide,” she said. “Jesus knows everything you’ve done and everything you’re going to do and He loves you anyway. If He were to come into this room, He would embrace you and put His hands on your face and call you ‘daughter.’”
“But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name” (John 1:12 CSB).
I had no need to stay in my shame. I was His daughter whom He loved in spite of all the filth. I was His daughter because I believed in Him and because I trusted Him with my life. Isn’t that the most extraordinary thing about God? He takes in the harlots, the outcasts, the dirty, the thieves, and the liars, and He makes them—He makes us—His sons and daughters. Then He makes us new: holy, righteous, perfect.
“For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14 CSB).
God uses the unlikely to make His name known. Did you know there are only four women named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1? Yep, only four women named: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary. Tamar played the harlot, deceived her father-in-law, and had his twin sons. Rahab was a harlot. Ruth was not only a foreigner, but one of the cursed Moabites (Dt 23:3). She even initiated a relationship with Boaz after being instructed to do so by her mother-in-law Naomi. And Mary was a young, pregnant, unmarried virgin.
These women were a part of bringing Jesus to earth, and they are named in the lineage of Christ. God wanted us to know their names. God wanted us to know that Tamar – even though she tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her—was worthy of being named because she was righteous by faith. God wanted us to know that even a harlot, Rahab, was humble and faithful and, by His grace, had given birth to a son who would become King David’s great-grandfather. God wanted us to know that Boaz had redeemed the young widow who had become a follower of Israel’s God, and that she had become the great-grandmother of King David. And God wanted us to know that what looks like scandal, a young, pregnant virgin, could be so faithful that our minds would be blown away.
Rahab became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, and became the father of Obed, who became the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David. Rahab the harlot was the great-great-grandmother of the king after God’s own heart. Rahab is in the line of Jesus.
So if a harlot can have faith and be used by God and receive the blessing of being named in the genealogy of Jesus, you, my friend, can be used by God too. No matter what.
The qualifications are these: Believe. Believe Jesus is who He says He is. Believe that when you turn to Him He makes you new, holy, and righteous. Believe that He will work all things together for His highest good. Believe that He loves you.
Jesus uses the unlikely. He used Tamar and Rahab and Ruth and Mary. He is using me and He is using you — all for His name and His glory.
devotion by Sarah Mae, published in the (in)courage Devotional Bible
Join us here at (in)courage each weekend leading up to Christmas as we share excerpts from the (in)courage Devotional Bible, learn more about the promises of God, and count down to Christmas together. We invite you to take a moment to observe, reflect, and respond:
OBSERVE: Who is God? What are you learning about God’s character from His promises?
REFLECT: Where is God? How is He moving during this busy season?
RESPOND: Pray, confess, and give thanks. How will today’s promise from God make your Christmas richer?Leave a Comment