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December 27 – Skeletons in the genealogical closet

“Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar….Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.” – Matthew 1:3-6 

Scripture reading: Matthew 1:1-17

The genealogies of Joseph and Mary reveal two things. First, Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Second, Christ came to save not only elect Jews, but also elect Gentiles.

Among Jesus’ sinful ancestors were Judah and Tamar. The genealogies of Mary (in Luke) and Joseph (in Matthew) trace both of their ancestries back to Jewish sinners like Judah and Tamar. Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law. Judah had given birth to two wicked sons (Er and Onan) whom God killed. Each had been married to Tamar. Judah delayed in marrying Tamar to his younger son, Shelah. This led to Tamar dressing like a prostitute and soliciting Judah to sleep with her. The startling result was that the line of Christ would go back to Perez, who was the fruit of this fornication. Christ came from ancestors who needed to be washed with His blood.

Since two Gentile women were ancestors of Jesus, the genealogies also remind us that Christ had gentile DNA and came to save elect Gentiles. The genealogies tell us that a man from the tribe of Judah named Salmon married Rahab, the prostitute of Jericho. God justified Rahab by faith and then transformed her moral condition so that she became the sexually pure wife of her covenant husband. She became the mother of Boaz, who also married a Gentile woman, Ruth the Moabite. The result was that Jesus was not 100% of Jewish parentage. This signals that He will redeem an elect church made up of both Jewish and Gentile sinners.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God that Jesus came to save elect sinners in both the Old and New Testaments. Praise God for His wisdom in gathering a New Testament church made up of elect Jews and Gentiles. Pray that elect Gentiles appreciate the covenant grace given to them.

Rev. Nathan Brummel is Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament at Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary, and an associate pastor at Immanuel United Reformed Church in DeMotte, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at


"Be Fruitful and Multiply" tour comes to Albertan April 19-22

Families are having fewer babies, and the world’s population is expected to peak and then decline later this century. The world isn’t prepared for the impact that this is going to have. However, what may be the greatest challenge of this century can also be a huge opportunity for the Church to shine…. if we embrace the blessing of children, and are prepared to raise them faithfully.

In this presentation, Reformed Perspective’s Mark Penninga will unpack data, history, and God’s Word to make the case for embracing the gift of children with open arms.


Ages 16-116, single or married, children or no children, these presentations are suitable for all mature Christians.


Edmonton: April 19 at 7:30 pm at Immanuel Canadian Reformed Church

Barhead: April 20 at 7:30 pm at Emmanuel United Reformed Church

Ponoka: April 22 at 7:30 pm at Parkland Reformed Church


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