After inserting this list of disreputable non Jewish women into the genealogy the list reaches its summit with “Jacob the Father of Joseph who was the husband of Mary of whom was born the Christ.”
It is as if Mary, the second Eve, gathers up the whole of the checkered Jewish history and through her purity and power and her offering of obedience brings redemption and reconciliation into the whole mess.
It can be summed up in the Bible verse, “All Things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Jesus’ ancestors were whores, refugees, cheats, murderer and adulterers?
Yep. Not only that, but it was the very act of sin that brought forth some of the ancestors of Jesus.
That means God is working his way in the world not only despite our sin, but through our sin.
The marvelous mystery is that on the day of judgement, for those who are redeemed even their sins will be have been turned around and used for their redemption. If their sin is what prompts their repentance and their turning to Christ for forgiveness, then God will have used that sin to bring the person home. This is what we mean by redemption and conversion. Even the worst stuff will be used by God for good.
Can God bring good out of the horrors of the situation in Iraq and Syria? Of course. I read an article the other day about a number of Muslims who have converted to Christianity. They were horrified at what is being done in the name of their religion and impressed by the brave martyrdom of Christians and decided that they wanted to belong to the religion of Jesus Christ the King of Martyrs.
Can God bring good out of the worst of horrors and sin? Yes. That is the message of the cross.
Therefore we have an amazingly powerful message of hope.
If God uses the very sins of the ancestors of Jesus to bring St Joseph into the world who is Jesus’ earthly father, then God can bring good out of my sin and your sin. He can bring the very best out of the very worst. That is why Romans 8:28 is so profound, because it links God’s omnipotent providence with our impotent weakness.
“All things work together for good” for who? “For those who love God and who are called according to his purpose.” As we love God we conform our will with his and as we respond to his call our whole lives–the light and the shadow, the good and the evil, the tragedy and the triumph–all of it is reconciled and redeemed.