Real People Real Savior: Rahab
Matthew chapter 1 lists the ancestors of Jesus. You will learn more about your Savior as we trace through segments of his family tree.
Thomas D. Kock
In Jesus, we have a fresh start every day.
A fresh start. Wouldn’t that be great?! Perhaps the turn of the year is a time when having a fresh start might be particularly on our mind. Whether 2015 was a great year or a rough year for you, as the new year turns, it is, in a sense, a fresh start.
RAHAB’S FRESH START
Perhaps Rahab would have appreciated the concept of a “fresh start” as well as any of us. Rahab lived in Jericho at the time when the Israelites entered the Promised Land. Joshua sent spies to Jericho on a reconnaissance mission; they stayed at Rahab’s house.
From a strategic point of view, it made sense for them to stay there. You see, Rahab was a prostitute. So seeing strange men coming and going wouldn’t have raised much suspicion.
But life was about to change for Rahab. She said to those spies: “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt. . . . When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:9-11). That is remarkable! The Red Sea event had taken place 40 years earlier! Yet, it was remembered.
Next comes the plea for the opportunity to have a fresh start: “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death” (Joshua 2:12,13).
The spies gave their word; she was to hang a scarlet cord in the window of her dwelling. She did, and all in her dwelling were spared (see Joshua chapter 6).
And then? Then Rahab married into the Israelite family—and not just any Israelite family. She married into the family that carried the line of the Savior. Talk about fresh start! The former prostitute became an ancestor of the Savior!
OUR FRESH START
Why in the world would God want someone like that in the line of the Savior? Just as valid a question would be, “Why in the world would God want someone like you or me in his family?” Yes, Rahab’s sins were damning; your sins and mine are just as damning. And yet Jesus, in wonderful grace, has forgiven Rahab as well as you and me. He has adopted us into his family. As Rahab was given a fresh start, so are we.
Day-by-day we get a fresh start as we remember our baptisms and as we hear God’s words of peace. Our sins are forgiven, washed away. At the altar we get a fresh start as Jesus gives us himself, his true body and blood. Each day, each year, a new start—a renewed me—because of God’s grace.
Contributing editor Thomas Kock, a professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wisconsin, is a member at Atonement, Milwaukee.
This is the sixth article in a nine-part series on people in Jesus’ family tree.
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Author: Thomas D. Kock
Volume 103, Number 1
Issue: January 2016
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