"A Branch of Grace"Stuart Jones During the Kidtown-led worship service last Sunday, we saw some of the boards from Jesus’ family tree removed and used to form a manger like the one where Jesus was born. Later in the service those same boards were used to form a cross like the one where Jesus died. Each board had written on it the name of an individual found in Matthew 1:1-17, the genealogy of Jesus. One of the unique things about the list of individuals in Matthew is that five of the ones mentioned were women, four of whom were mentioned by name—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Mary—and one who was identified as the mother of Solomon, who we know as Bathsheba. Including women, especially identifying them by name, was not a common practice in the time this was written. Even more uncommon was including the name of one like Rahab. You see, Rahab was identified as a harlot, a prostitute, but her story in Joshua 2 centered on what she did to help two spies from Israel escape capture. The spies, in turn, protected Rahab and her family when the Israelites destroyed the city of Jericho. It wasn’t what Rahab did that made her right with God. As John MacArthur says in Twelve Extraordinary Women, “She is a reminder that God by His grace can redeem even the most horrible life.” No matter what sin was in your life or is in your life right now, no matter what you’ve done to make yourself right with Him, it is God who, by His grace, redeems you and puts your name on His Son’s family tree.