In the lead-up to Christmas it is good to remember the story of Bethlehem. Bethlehem has always been a place where the Grace of God meets the Shame of Humanity.
For Rahab, Ruth, and Mary, their shame is absorbed by a powerful goel, a redeemer, benefactor, handsome hero who takes responsibility.
On each occasion it is a costly grace. The redeemer deflects shame away from the vulnerable woman and onto himself. A shame substitution occurs.
Each of these stories point to the costly grace shown to us by God in Christ Jesus. On the cross, the honourable one becomes shamed that the shameful ones might gain honour. Our great benefactor takes responsibility for us. We are given new status, new family, new identity! Just like Rahab. Just like Ruth. Just like Mary!
Reviewing this year, I realise this has been quite a theme in my preaching (for those who know me, no surprises there!)
So I submit three sermons, each from different times of the year and preached in different churches, highlighting this theme.
For Rahab’s story, click here
For Ruth’s story, click here
For Rahab, Ruth and Mary’s stories in summary, click here
To register for a daily advent devotional reading on the story of Bethlehem into your inbox, click here