By Scott Johnson
These three women in their unique way point to Messiah. All three embrace qualities of Immanuel through their unique story and response to their particular circumstances.
Ruth is from Moab, a clear enemy of Israel, and also an enemy to God. Yet, Ruth embraces Naomi and in so doing embraces the people of Naomi and the God of Naomi: But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me." When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Rth 1:16-18 NIV)
Esther is a beautiful young Jewish maiden. She is chosen (by the enemy) to serve as Royalty, as Queen. Her courage is front and center as she seeks to thwart an evil plan to cause complete annihilation of the Jewish race: When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther's instructions. (Est 4:12-17 NIV)
Mary is the young Jewish virgin pledged to marry Joseph. Both are descendants from the line of King David. They are both noble and innocent and worthy of God's very special assignment: In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled." Then the angel left her. (Luk 1:26-38 NIV)
Ruth demonstrates compassion and love. Ester demonstrates bravery and sacrifice. Mary demonstrates faith and obedience. All three women show incredible human attributes which can only be the embodiment and portrayal of a Christ-like life. Ruth trusts Naomi and this trust leads to a God thing in Bethlehem. Esther trusts Mordecai and this trust leads to a God thing for Judea and Bethlehem. Mary trusts Angel Gabriel and this trust leads to a really big God thing in Bethlehem for an entire human race!
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Mic 5:2 KJV-BRG)
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]