[This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham]…”Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab)” (Matthew 1:1 and 1:5, NLT).

Rahab and the Emissaries of JoshuaSometimes when people research their family tree, they find interesting individuals, maybe even criminals. Britain exported many offenders to North America and later Australia, which began as a penal colony, so for a while almost everyone there had a criminal background. This used to be a source of shame, but today some wear it as a badge of pride and celebrate it. The truth is, none of us have sparkling family histories—even Jesus.

Jewish family trees didn’t ordinarily include the mothers, but five women show up in the record of Jesus’ lineage, three of them with less than pristine behaviors. Rahab in particular was a naughty girl, a prostitute who cleaned up her act, married into a respectable Israelite family and gained a place of distinction as an ancestor of the Savior.

Rahab’s story is another example of how God redeems anyone and everyone, no matter their shady history, and a reminder to all of us not to judge or look down our noses at others. We all have shady pasts, but our Redeemer entered this world and now lives to clean up our acts for us and give us a respectable place in his family.

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