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Series: Reclaimed - Uncovering Your Worth
Week 1: Subtext: Five Women in the Lineage of Jesus - Day 3
“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Acts 10:15 NLT)
Let’s entertain a thought that we have been working up to in yesterday’s homework. It is certainly easy, in today’s time, to open the first chapter of Matthew and read this long and boring list of names. Then, to arrive at the female names, pause for a brief moment, and ponder why those names are there. It makes sense to skim ahead to the better parts-the parts where Jesus walks on water and makes a guy’s hand grow back. Those are the cool parts, after all. For Matthew’s readers, first century Jews, this list, and especially the women included, would have been truly shocking-and that’s an understatement. For thousands and thousands of years the Jews had been told, you are a holy people, a people set apart, you are to live differently, live by your own sets of rules and standards, eat different things, don’t intermarry, and keep your family line pure and unpolluted. And there they are: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the wife of Uriah, and Mary. They must have thought, surely, this is a mistake.
Maybe some of you can relate to these Jewish readers. Glance back to the answer you recorded at the beginning of yesterday’s lesson. We’ve all had our share of shocking news. Sometimes this news comes to us like an unexpected, but ultimately wonderful, surprise, like an unplanned pregnancy or unforeseen, but enriching, friendship. Sometimes shocking news brings with it a shadow that feels oppressive and overwhelming, like a cancer diagnosis or a sudden death.
As we are still getting to know one another, I’ll share with you the first time this question surfaced for me. I’ll never forget when my mom and dad told me we would be moving from Toronto, Canada to Scottsdale, Arizona. I was ten and living in a city I called home, in a school I loved, and surrounded by an awesome group of girlfriends. I remember thinking, ‘‘Arizona, what’s in Arizona?’‘ Driving through Scottsdale on our way to the home we had rented on a scouting trip a few months before the big move, I thought, ‘‘Wow, this is actually a normal city, with regular buildings and sidewalks!’‘
In my head, I had pictured Arizona like an old Western movie-or perhaps even more like the movie, Maverick, the one with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. I expected to see dirt streets and saloons with swinging doors in the front. In my heart of hearts, I was hoping for some kind of live gunfight. With that first drive through the state, my hopes for this kind of action were dashed. Nevertheless, I did conclude that with this move, my life was going to be rather different from before.
Let’s take a moment ...
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