Scripture Reading — Ruth 4:13-22
Boaz [was] the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth ...
By the time we come to the name of Ruth in Jesus' genealogy, we aren't surprised by another Gentile name in the family tree. Could Matthew be trying to tell us something about the scope of God's work?
At the beginning of this genealogy, Matthew identifies Jesus as "the son of David, the son of Abraham." The identification of Jesus with King David is obvious. But why stress that Jesus is "the son of Abraham"? Long before David came along, God promised to bless Abraham and his descendents, saying, "And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:3).
How appropriate, then, that in Jesus' family tree we meet three Gentiles even before the birth of David. Ruth was from Moab, an enemy of the nation of Israel. But when faced with a decision about where to place her hope for the future, she returned with her Israelite mother-in-law to Bethlehem. Now, she had no husband, no children, no money-nothing. But through her submission to God and through the obedience of Boaz, a "near-kinsman," God filled her life to overflowing. Among the amazing blessings: a son who would become the great-grandfather of King David.
Some of us today are so empty of good things that we hurt inside. In a relationship with Jesus, however, our lives will be filled with God's peace and presence.
Lord, empty us today of all hope in ourselves. Fill our hearts with your presence, so that we may overflow with your grace and goodness. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.