Last Sunday we welcomed my good friend Dr Andy Boakye as a visiting speaker to the Watford church of Christ. He spoke on “The Advent of Jesus in Matthew’s genealogy” from Matthew 1:2-6. Something has stayed with me since Sunday so I thought I would share it with you today.

Andy observed that four women are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus — Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and ‘the wife of Uriah’. All are questionable as to dignity. The theme of dignity restored to those who have lost it is a theme in Matthew’s Gospel. Especially when it pertains to women.

‘Jesus affirmed the dignity of women by accepting them as disciples and treating them with a respect that was considered scandalous in his patriarchal culture.’ Four views on women in ministry

Jesus came to restore the dignity of the disregarded and the forgotten. We see that in his treatment of any who are marginalised including by race — Matthew 15.22, the Canaanite woman.

‘We have endured traumatic histories and the almost daily assaults on our dignity, like being tailed at the mall or when someone yells the N‑word from a car as they speed past.’ Healing from race-based trauma

How did Jesus restore dignity to women and others who were denied it? He did not instantly miraculous Institute justice for all. That will come in the next life. Instead, he took the position of one undignified so as to empathise and sympathise with those in that state. When you are treated as if one unworthy of dignity, Jesus understands. Jesus’ birth was not ‘dignified’, nor was his death. Why did he endure such indignity?

To grant us his dignity.

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:10 NIV11)

He has the dignity of the beloved son, the one with whom God is pleased, and that is something we share with him because we live together with him. This is one of the reasons we pray. God granted us prayer as an indicator of the fact that he considers as worthy of dignity. Blaise Pascal said that:

‘God has instituted prayer to impart to his creatures the dignity of causality.’

Some words from a song by Carolyn Arends:

No regal robes
He’s wrapped up in a blanket and his mama’s arms
No royal throne
Just hay for a cradle in a dusty barn
Could he be the one that we think he is?
The kingdom coming down to where we live?
What kind of king is this?

What Kind of King is This?
Questions for Reflection

  • Do you truly believe in your heart of hearts that you have dignity before God?
  • What difference does this make to the way you pray?
  • What difference does this make to the way you live?

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

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

God bless, Malcolm