A record of the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1

So begins the first verse in the New Testament. Some people really enjoy looking at and digging into their genealogy. It can give you a real sense of history and where you come from. I have a collection of those kinds of files myself.

Many of us choose to ignore or quickly skip over these verses and the difficult pronunciations that challenge us. But these verses help us see the history of Jesus as He enters this family of sinner/saints. Four of those names are particularly noteworthy. I refer specifically to the four women in the genealogy of Jesus. Women don’t often appear in biblical genealogies, and when they do, there is something significant in their involvement.

The four in Matthew’s list—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba—are especially surprising because they are not exactly pillars of Israel in the Old Testament. That is exactly why they are included.

Today we celebrate the reality that there is room for everyone and any type in the kingdom of God. Not only is there room in the kingdom, but there is a place in the very mission of God as the Spirit continues to bring Jesus, the Chosen One, into our world and the lives of our children.

All of these women have shady backgrounds. There is room for the family outcast, the blatant sinner, the rejected outsider, and the cunning opportunist. If there is room for them, then there is room for you and me, and for others who think and feel that they are too far gone to be counted among the “good” people who go to church. Too often we would discount whether God would allow them into His kingdom, much less use them for pivotal purposes in expanding the kingdom.

The truth is that “sinners” are those God has chosen to work with. Sinners are those He calls, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps in faith. That is good news for those who don’t think they are worthy. That is good news for those we would overlook. That is good news for those we might even want to deny. Turns out, it is good news for all people and His entire creation.

He welcomes sinners and uses them to be His kingdom workers. You are called by His Holy Spirit by grace through faith to be His own and to serve Him by serving those He places around you.

Rejoicing in the gift to be His and the opportunities to serve others,
Rev. Richard Snow, President, Nebraska District LCMS

PS: Click here to meet Elijah Luebbe, the new Nebraska District Treasurer. He takes over that position from Paul Pettit who served in that capacity for 31 years. We thank Paul for his dedicated service and pray God’s blessings on his retirement, serving God now in new ways. We are blessed to have Elijah join our team with his unique perspectives and approaches to ministry. Another sinner/saint in God’s kingdom service.