And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last. Luke 13:29-30
After this I looked, and there was an enormous crowd—no one could count all the people! They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood in front of the throne and of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. Revelation 7:9 (Good News Translation)
Years ago our family had a mutt- sorry, “mixed breed” – little dog we named Maggie. Maggie had come from an abusive home, rescued by a visiting nurse at our mental health center who had a big heart for dogs. She could not abide seeing a dog mistreated, so she took the dog with her from that abusive home, and brought her to our center. I wasn’t sure what to do with the dog, so naturally, I brought her home to my surprised wife and kids.
So, 17 years later, I had to have Maggie put to sleep because she had been suffering from various maladies of old age. She was a delightful dog. She was as fast as the wind and built like a whippet, but also possessing many other genes from various doggie types, I’m sure. Yes, she lived to be 17 years old. Mutts- sorry, “mixed breeds” will do that. Your purebreds? Not so much. Due to inbreeding, they often succumb to various diseases or genetic conditions before the “mixed breeds” do.
So, the point of this story? I find it ironic that we seem to value “pure breeding” so much. Indeed, royal families, often struggled with inherited diseases like porphyria because there was not enough genetic variety in the bloodline. Eugenics, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, favored the idea of “breeding” ideal human specimens, weeding out “genetically inferior populations”. Indeed, Adolf Hitler was not by any means the only proponent of eugenics, just perhaps the most diabolical.
Jesus came from a line of “mixed breeds” in the genealogy provided in the gospel of Matthew. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba are four women named in this line from which Jesus sprang. Tamar, was in the Hebrew line, but become pregnant by posing as a temple prostitute; Rahab was a prostitute/innkeeper from Jericho who aided the Israelites in their conquest of her city; Ruth was from Moab, home of a tribe of historically vicious rivals to the Israelites; and Bathsheba was a woman married to a Hittite man, taken by king David out of his sheer lust for her.
These were women from other countries, with provocative tribal and sexual backgrounds, all woven into the earthly line from which came Jesus. Safe to say that Jesus came from a “mixed background”.
Variety in genetic lines gives strength and resistance to us. Our very differences in background make us stronger. Jesus came from a diverse background to demonstrate that he is redeemer of all mankind, not just one tribe. Now if we can just get the value of this diversity idea into our heads…
Prayer: Father, thank you for the plan of diversity that teaches us to value one anothers differences as strength to the whole of us, Amen.