Scandals in Church History and the Human nature of the Body of Christ.
I invite us to read the first chapter of Matthew – the Genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Now you will notice that there are four women in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, who are far from perfect.
Tamar: the wife of one of the sons of Judah who committed incest with her Father in law, laced it up with deception and went ahead to give birth to Perez, one of the fore fathers of Jesus. (Genesis 38)
Rehab: Public Prostitute. Her choice for the God of Israel over the idol gods of her tribe – Jericho was probably the only redeeming action she ever made…that and giving birth the Boaz, also one of Jesus’ forefathers.
Ruth: At least this one woman just wasn’t like the others. Well, yeah, that’s right until you recall the fact that she was not Jew. She was a Moabite, the very tribe that Israelites were warned about in the book of Deuteronomy not to ever marry. She was an outcast but displayed a choice to love when she decided to stay with Naomi, her Mother in law. Ruth gave birth to Obed, the Father of Jesse who was the father of King David.
Bathsheba – Adulteress. You know the whole messy story with Uriah, King David and Bathsheba that gave rise to the most famous prayer of forgiveness by David in Psalm 51. Bathsheba gave birth to Solomon and started the institution of the Queen mother, one of the many titles we honor our Mother Mary for today.
In these women stories, we see lies, deception, illicit sex, murder and greed flagrantly displayed and yet they are in the genealogy of Christ. Why is that so?
Let’s first look at scandal. Scandals are usually accusations that receive wide exposure and usually have negative effects on the person exposed. A scandal remains a scandal, regardless of its authenticity; so whether it turns out to be true or false, it is still a scandal.
Perhaps the first scandal took place in heaven with Lucifer’s refusal to serve God-Son as man and Virgin Mary as Queen of Angels. The arch-Angel Michael’s response to this outright shocking display of disobedience to God was what gave rise to his name Michael – Who is like God? Who dares challenge God?
So scandal was birthed by Satan, it could be called the removal of God – goodness – from creation. But the existence of God preceded scandal. Before scandal, God – Ultimate Goodness – existed and therefore scandal cannot overtake goodness. Whenever goodness surfaces, it overpowers evil.
So we see that even in that lineage stricken by scandals people and events, perfect goodness was able to come forth in the person of Jesus Christ and outshone and overshadowed the darkness in it. So God allows even scandals to manifest the power of His Goodness. Even in the midst of the imperfections, Christ came forth; worked with a set of men that didn’t have the best reputation either to establish a Church which has been rocked by several scandals all through its history but still remains standing nonetheless, as it is the Body of Christ.