God with us!
As a middle schooler, I’ve always glossed over the genealogy that kicks off the first 17 verses of the New Testament. Ok, maybe I recognized a couple—David, Abraham, Isaac, Solomon—but they were all kind of drowned out in a sea of other unpronounceable names. Until the Bible Study Kickoff, I didn’t realize there was so much richness in these names! Interestingly, five women were mentioned in the Lord’s genealogy, and four out of five of them were people even we, today, probably wouldn’t want to associate ourselves with. There was Tamar, who committed incest with Judah; Rahab, who was a prostitute, a harlot; Bath-sheba, whom King David committed adultery with after arranging for her husband’s death; and Ruth, a Moabite. Deuteronomy 23:3 says that “a Moabite shall not enter the congregation of Jehovah; even to the tenth generation, no descendant of theirs shall enter the congregation of Jehovah forever." That’s pretty serious, to say the least! You’d think that an infinite God, when limiting Himself to a finite man, would at least choose a perfect genealogy, one without stain or blemish. But, instead, He chose to be related to these sinful ones!
This is a wonderful picture of all of us—no matter where we are, how sinful we are, how far we are from God, God chose us to be related to Him! Sometimes, we do things that we feel like makes it impossible to ever come back to God. But Matthew 9:13 says, “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” He came to call sinners like us! Praise the Lord!
In our Bible Study Kickoff, we also covered the latter half of Matthew 1. I was particularly touched again by the Lord’s name, Emmanuel, which is translated, “God with us” (verse 23). Not only is Jesus God, but He is also God with us! I think everyone during that night was impressed that God came to be with us, even in our very midst whenever we gather into His name (Matthew 18:20), and continues to be with us all the days until the consummation of the age (Matthew 28:20).
The weekly Bible studies offer you a home, a community that not only hangs out and has fun with you but also genuinely cares and prays for you. May the Lord continue to bless us and be among us during these times.