Who’s advertising strap-line is that? L’Oreal. How many of use L’Oreal products?
In 1900 a man could divorce his wife for wearing make-up since it was used by prostitutes! £3 billion a year is spent on cosmetics and toiletries every year. In London £29 million every month is spent on skin care alone!

But we’re not talking about cosmetics. We’re talking about something more than skin-deep. We’re talking about the awesome love of God! Have you ever thought you weren’t worth much to God? If at no other time of the year, at least at Christmas we should be able to believe we are very, very valuable to God. Let’s read from Matthew 1.1-17

Most of us, I think, reckon we’re too sinful, messed up and weak to be loved by God. Yet this seemingly boring list is packed full of evidence we’re all valuable and useful to God.

V3 Judah was the father of Perez & Zerah – through Tamar (Genesis 38). Remember the situation with Tamar? To cut a long story short she was Judah’s daughter-in-law. She was lied to by Judah and so dressed up as a prostitute, had sex with her father-in-law and became pregnant by him. Perez and Zerah were the result – and they’re in the line of Jesus.

V5 Rahab was a prostitute (Joshua 2)

V5 Ruth was a Moabite (Ruth 1.4). They were a nation born out of incest when Lot’s daughters had sex with their father while he was drunk. Not the best start to being a nation!

V6 Uriah’s wife was Bathsheba and was a Gentile. Not only that but she became David’s wife once he had committed adultery with her and bumped off her husband (1 Sam 11).

So Jesus’ family tree included mothers whose backgrounds included an amateur prostitute, a professional prostitute, a woman from a nation born out of incest and a woman whose passport into the family was via adultery and murder. Not a very impressive list?

I believe they are on this list to show us two things:

i) God cares about the messed-up and the marginalised
ii) God can use anyone to his glory

Why not make a resolution? Ask God to use you in 2023. And when you ask Him, “Why me? I’m no good!”, you’ll hear Him say, “Because you’re worth it!” If the nativity, the incarnation and Christmas mean anything they mean we are worth it – to God.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John