Pastor Jeff Knott of Grace Church in Port Hope, Ontario continues the Advent series with “Redemption” based on the life of Ruth:

Matthew 1 is the list of people in the back story of Jesus.

Is there any evidence that Matthew tweaked the story to make Jesus look better than He was? It’s not what you find in the genealogy of Matthew. Women are included in the genealogy of Jesus. Add to gender out-sider that of culture-outsider and moral-outsider. This list includes several dysfunctional families and lots of dishonourable behaviour and yet all these people and their implied histories are included in the public record of Jesus’ life.

Here’s the truth, they’re here because in Jesus Christ there are no barriers to His grace. Because in Jesus Christ no one needs to stay an outsider. That’s the good news of Christmas.

The book is called Ruth and it’s named after her primarily because it’s her sacrificial love for her mother-in-law … that gives birth to the hope of redemption. This is a story of redemption.

Ruth sets aside her own future in her commitment to Naomi. Covenant faithfulness and covenant love.

It’s the initiative of Ruth and Naomi that Boaz gets involved in the story at all.

It’s the covenant God who gave them hope and provision, blessing and honour. It was the God of kindness who rescued their family and continued the story of promise that we get from Abraham. It was the God of radical inclusion who doesn’t look on gender or ethnicity or religious persuasion or social standing, but He looks at the heart and He invites the whosoever will to receive His mercy.

Who we are is found in the love of God – the love God has for us.

The work of the Spirit as been described as “The colour-line is washed away in the blood.”

Ruth’s story shows us that people are just people and nobody is beyond God’s embracing grace. That’s the point of Christ’s coming into the world. He’s as one who is lowly and One who serves.

Three thoughts:

  1. That if this is the way God is toward others, as His children that’s our calling as well, to be about this radical welcome of people and calling all of them to faith in Jesus.
  2. Don’t be surprised if the blessing of God comes through an unexpected person or from an unexpected place.
  3. Be open to being that person of blessing.