Tonight we are discussing Rahab. Please read Joshua 2:1-21 and 6:21-25 and chapter 7 of Liz Curtis Higgs’ book Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn From Them. For the early church, the truth of the Scriptures (particularly the Old Testament) did not lie in the literal or historical meaning of the text, but in the deeper allegorical meaning. See, Gal. 4:21-31. And for the early Church, Rahab came to be seen as a typology for the Church itself. (See, Origen’s Commentary, pp.47,79)
As we read through the story tonight, think of how Rahab typifies the Church.
Joshua means “the LORD saves.” It is the same name as Jesus. “Jesus” is simply the Aramaic form of the name “Joshua.” In the Greek (and most non-Western bibles), there is no difference between the two names. Therefore, we begin with Rahab before she meets Joshua/Jesus. She is a prostitute. She worships her pagan gods. She is a gentile. But she will be redeemed.
Joshua/Jesus sends out two men (not unlike Jesus in Mark 6:7). These apostles do not come to Rahab because of her surpassing righteousness, rather they came to her because of lack of righteousness, just as Jesus later comes to tax collectors and prostitutes himself (Matt. 9:12). Rahab is the epitome of all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
From these apostles, Rahab accepts their message in faith. Her faith is not simply that the men are from the LORD, but that the LORD will be victorious. It is this same faith by which we too accept the message of the apostles. (See, Romans and Galatians). But like the Church, Rahab does not simply have faith as a mere belief, rather she puts that faith into action, just as we are called to do so. (See, James 2:26). And it is because of her faith, that she is made alive and escapes death (Jos. 6:17, 1 Cor. 15:22). Most importantly, salvation comes to Rahab when she is grafted onto the house of Israel (Jos 6:25), just as the Church has been in Jesus (Rom. 11:11).
In the Jewish midrash, Joshua/Jesus marries Rahab. In the same way, Paul teaches us that the Church is the Bride of Jesus/Joshua. And that through this marriage with him, we are cleansed and sanctified so as to be without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. Eph. 5:26. At the end of Rahab’s story, she is no longer a prostitute, or a pagan, or a gentile, but God’s own.
The story of Rahab, therefore, isn’t simply the story of a person who may have lived long ago, but is the very present story of the Church. As we read about Rahab tonight, think about how Rahab’s story is our story.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is chicken cacciatore. Film at 6:45. Hope to see you here, and please bring a friend.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, *Psalm 107:1-3
and his mercy endures forever.
Let all those whom the Lord has redeemed proclaim *
that he redeemed them from the hand of the foe.
He gathered them out of the lands; *
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.