This is the final piece of a multi-post theme on how to love people toward Jesus from the story of the rescue of Rahab the prostitute. The others are called:
- Reaching Rahab
- A Supernaturally Installed Wonder
- Accidental Evangelism
- It Takes a Savior to Save!
- Rahab’s Red Rope
- Friends with Prostitutes
- Humanizing the dehumanized & Mutualizing the marginalized
We come now to look at the far-reaching impact we make when we touch even one person…
Rahab wasn’t the only one saved the day the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. She cut a deal with Joshua’s scouts that included her parents, siblings, and their families. It occurs to me that if all she cared about was her own salvation, Rahab could’ve simply gone back with the scouts and left her family to die in the attack. It didn’t seem to enter her mind to leave her loved ones behind. She pled for their rescue along with hers right from the beginning.
Think of it. The town prostitute, the proverbial “black sheep” of the family “witnesses” to them! Even more fascinating is that they believed her. How about this for a gospelling approach? You’ll be saved if you’re in a brothel when judgment comes! What’s even more amazing is that they showed up. Rahab’s family took her at her word and went to her house and stayed there until the walls collapsed.
Rahab shows us how not to hoard our salvation, but generously give it away. She instinctually wanted to share it with those closest to her. The evangelized became the evangelizer! “Follow me,” Jesus said, “and I’ll make you fishers of men.” It’s inherent in our role as followers to call others to follow with us. The scouts “caught” Rahab and she caught her family.
New followers of Jesus are almost always the most effective in bringing their own loved ones into the divine friendship. We’ve often mistakenly thought that most people come to Jesus as direct result of our professional music and expert oratory. Truth is, we usually only succeed in attracting members of other churches whose music and preaching are less attractive.
Then when we finally do bring somebody to Jesus we tend to remove them from their culture and sequester them in Christian sub-culture. By the time we get through with them, they might know the definitions of all the major themes of the Bible but they’re so distant from their spheres of influence that they no longer have any influence. Rahab, on the other hand, won her own family in her own home.
So, like ripples in a pond, the sphere of Christ’s saving influence increases from the scouts to Rahab and then to her immediate family members. But wait, there’s more…
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We learn from Matthew’s Gospel that Rahab went on to marry into the tribe of Judah and four generations later her great-great-grandson, David, was born. That’s what I call ripples of good influence rolling outward! Who knows but that David grew up hearing stories of his Great-Great Grandma the pagan prostitute and of how she came to believe in Jehovah!
And then of course, that puts Rahab in the lineage of King Jesus––“woman of the night” grafted into the family tree of the Son of God! The scouts reached her, she reached her family, she married a godly man, and the rest, as they say, is history. Talk about one thing leading to another!
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT)
When we help someone find Jesus, we never know what how far those ripples will travel beyond our own place and time. When we reach a Rahab we can have no idea what sort of kingdom chain of events our efforts may instigate.
Rahab lives and works and plays somewhere in your sphere of influence. She may not look to you like the “sort” of person likely to become a follower of Jesus, but that’s the magnificence of God’s quest for friends. How would we ever know if we aren’t willing to look past her exterior and delve into what’s beneath?
“Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’?” 1 Corinthians 1:28 (The Message)
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What a story! Before “evangelism” was even a thing, before the people of God even thought of themselves as friendship makers, this story nudges us toward our collaborative quest with God for friends. Granted, it wouldn’t be your first choice of a passage on sharing our faith, but hopefully, looking a little beneath the surface of the narrative has shown how it may serve as a template of sorts to conduct us on our quest. God passionately pursuing such an unlikely candidate for conversion all the way into his loving arms might well indicate a pattern, his modus operandi of reaching some of the least, last, and lost of his beloved sheep.
Assuming that you follow Jesus, you and I are like scouts out looking for Rahabs, who might appear, at first glance, as improbable potential followers of Jesus, let alone influential disciple-producing followers. This story urges us to look past her off-putting exterior and licentious lifestyle. It prompts us to listen for the song of the Spirit, however faint it may be. By developing a sincere and reciprocal friendship with her and creatively communicating Jesus’ sacrifice we join in the harmony with his song. We know that if she will drape the redemptive red rope from her window she will be rescued from destruction; and not only she will be impacted, but also her family and then generations to follow––for the glory of God!