Lent - Day 1
Today is the first day of Lent; it is referred to as Ash Wednesday. Traditionally the ashes, used to mark the foreheads, are from ashes of palm branches used the year before to celebrate Palm Sunday. The forty days of Lent correspond to the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting and praying and being tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). I want to thank the amazing Deb for developing the outline I'm going to use for the Lenten devotions.
The King's Family Tree (Matthew 1:1-17)
I find it interesting that in Matthew's gospel the birth line of the Christ includes three women. One is Rahab. One is Ruth. One, though we are not given her name, is Bathsheba. In light of what was written in the Talmud, this is nothing less than amazing. The Talmud is a set of teachings and commentaries based on the Torah that forms the basis of God's law.
Recorded in the Talmud is what is called the "morning blessing." In the morning blessing, Hebrew men recited this line, "Blessed are you, Lord our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me a woman." Two other statements in the "morning blessing" thank God for not creating the Hebrew man a Gentile or a slave.
In light of the teaching of the Talmud, the inclusion of these three women says volumes about the plan of God in coming to "seek and to save those who are lost" (Luke 19:10. NLT). Consider this:
Rahab was a whore
Ruth was a foreigner (Gentile)
Bathsheba was an adulteress
I'm glad that Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba are included in the "whoever" in John 3:16. Each of us is also included in the "whoever." Regardless of our sin, whatever it is, we can, and will, be given eternal life when we believe in the Savior. Remember the words of Paul in Romans 10:13 "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
What a great God we serve! In spite of our sins, He loves us. He demonstrated that love in sending His Son to die in our place; to pay a debt that we could not pay.
As you pray today, thank Him for the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus who came to reconcile us to God. Begin the Lenten season by praising God. What a mighty, and amazing, God we serve!