December 17 – Family Christmas – Hope for the Harlot

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Family Christmas

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Hope for the Harlot

By Danny Saavedra

“By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe . . .” – Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV)

Did you ever watch Sesame Street? On the show, they’d sing this one song called “One of These Things Is Not Like the Others.” The purpose was to try to get the audience to identify the one object that was different from the rest. One version of the song said: “One of these is not like the others, which one is different? Do you know? Can you tell which thing is not like the others? I’ll tell you if it is so.”

If we had to identify one person in Jesus’ family tree who we wouldn’t expect to see at a family reunion among Abraham and King David, it would probably be Rahab. She arrives on the scene in Joshua 2 as the Israelites are on the verge of destroying her city, Jericho. Two Israelite spies cross paths with her and having heard of the power and faithfulness of God, she protects them by letting them hide in her house in the hopes that she would be saved.

Keep in mind, Rahab was a “pagan” woman who had no connection whatsoever to the covenant God had established with the Israelites. She was also a harlot, a prostitute. Rahab is about as far from what you’d expect a child of God to be as you can get! She’s the epitome of “one of these things is not like the others.” 

But that’s the beauty of the gospel and the family of God: Nobody belongs because we’ve all fallen short of God’s glory. But at the same time, everybody belongs because God made a way for us through faith in Jesus. God doesn’t choose based on our resume, because even the most prestigious of all people is unfit and unqualified to enter God’s Kingdom apart from Christ. Instead, God honors faith. 

When a person makes the conscious decision to place their faith in the Lord, to trust Him and believe what He says, He honors and blesses them. And here’s the amazing thing; this holds true for everyone. A person’s background—who they were and what they’ve done—doesn’t disqualify them because that’s all irrelevant in God’s eyes once faith enters into the equation.

Rahab was saved because she believed the God of Israel was real and she put her life in His hands. The Lord saw and honored her belief and she was miraculously saved while the rest of her city and its inhabitants perished. God honored Rahab even further by making her an ancestor of King David and Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 1:5). That’s a lot of honor for a pagan prostitute! But it all happened because God honors those who trust in Him, no matter who it comes from. Consider the men and women Jesus associated with and chose—Peter the denier, Mathew the tax collector, Thomas the doubter, Paul the murderer, and us! 

The next time you doubt that God loves and accepts you, remember Rahab and how her story shows the extent of God’s amazing grace toward all who believe. Remember the great lengths God went to—sending His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sins—in order that we may be part of His family. And remember that when God looks at those who believe, who have “put on Christ, like putting on new clothes,” all He sees is Jesus! So this Christmas, no matter who you are or where you’ve come from, you can be certain that God has a place for you in His family!

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