Hi everyone! My name is Lance Butler and I am actually not on leadership at the BCM. BUT, last year I served as one of the F2 leaders. I am now a Master’s student at UK studying statistics and am the Youth Pastor at Buena Vista Baptist Church. I am glad that I have the chance to share with all of you some words about Jesus and hope this can serve as an encouragement to you! I will be using the CSB translation.
The topic of today’s devotional is Jesus descending from Isaac, Jacob, and Judah. If you haven’t already, please check out yesterday’s devotional about the Abrahamic Covenant as it will be very helpful for understanding today’s! As discussed in yesterday’s devotional, God established a covenant with Abraham which included God’s promise to make Abraham a great nation and to bless the world through Him (Genesis 12). Thankfully, we live in a time in history with the complete story recorded for us in the Bible. We know that this covenant is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus, who is a descendant of Abraham (Matthew 1, Luke 3).
The book of Genesis teaches us that despite God calling Abraham out of his homeland and to the promised land. Not only that, He also promises Abraham that He will make him a great nation and that the whole world will be blessed through him (see yesterday’s devotional and Genesis 12 for more on this). But Genesis also teaches us that Abraham wasn’t chosen due to the worthiness of his own accord. We see that he is a liar (Genesis 12, Genesis 20) and unfaithful to his wife Sarah (Genesis 16).
Sinfulness continues in the lives of his descendants. Isaac lies about his wife in the same way that his father Abraham lied about his wife Sarah (Genesis 26). Jacob cheats his brother Esau of his birthright and deceives his father Isaac to get his blessing for the birthright (Genesis 25, Genesis 27). Judah, after the passing of his wife, sleeps with Tamar, who is the wife of one of his sons (Genesis 39). He also contributed directly to his brother Joseph being sold into slavery (Genesis 37).
So, it doesn’t seem like God has chosen very good men to be included in the lineage of Jesus. When studying the story of Judah, I was confused by why God chose to include him as the son of Jacob in Jesus’ lineage. Like many others, I thought, “why didn’t God choose Joseph instead of Judah?” After all, based on the accounts in Genesis, Joseph’s life seems much more like Jesus’ than his brother Judah’s is.
But this isn’t the right mindset. God’s choice to include people in Jesus’ lineage isn’t a result of how righteous they are on their own. The same is true of those who are saved. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, it shows that God used people who did bad things to bring about the Savior of the world. This should remind us of Joseph’s response to his brothers when he had forgiven them and they couldn’t believe it. “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.“ (Genesis 50:20). Second, it demonstrates His sovereignty. Jacob prophesied over his sons in Genesis 49 and Judah’s prophecy clearly points to Jesus as his descendant (Genesis 49:8-10). This connects to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah seen in Revelation 5:5. “Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Look, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered so that he is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." This shows that, in His sovereignty, God will fulfill what He has said will happen and He is in control of all things. Lastly, it points to an important understanding of salvation: imputed righteousness. When a person is saved, God doesn’t see them as an improved version of themself. Instead, through Christ’s sacrifice, we are able to accept the gift of salvation which works as God chooses to see the righteousness of Christ in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This is such good news! My hope is that during this Christmas season we might reflect on the goodness of God and despite our wickedness, how He has chosen to still use us for His glory and love us perfectly. For me, this is most clearly seen in his free gift of grace offered to any who would believe in and follow His Son Jesus.
What other examples of unrighteous people can you find in Jesus’ lineage?
How does this change our view of lost people in the world?
Why should this lead us to trust God more? (Romans 8:38-39)
How can this push towards humility and away from pride? (Ephesians 2:4-9)