Scandalous Grace – by Greg Albrecht
This is the account of Abraham’s son Isaac. Abraham became the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.
Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.
The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”
When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is also why he was called Edom.)
Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So, he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. Esau despised his birthright.—Genesis 25:19-34
We humans are mesmerized by scandals, aren’t we? Take a look at those “newspapers” sold at your grocery store check-out stand. Of course, they aren’t newspapers in the classical sense at all, are they? They are scandal sheets, gossip gazettes, purveyors of innuendo and slander. Scandal sells! Our sermon title today is Scandalous Grace.
Do you remember the term that is used to describe two successive words with contradictory, opposite meanings? That’s right. The term is oxymoron. It refers to a combination of words with contradictory meanings. Examples of oxymorons include genuine imitation, cruel kindness, found missing and exact estimate. From God’s perspective, our sermon title today is an oxymoron—Scandalous Grace.
There’s nothing scandalous about God’s grace. There is nothing more pure, true, genuine, authentic, trustworthy or legitimate in all God’s creation than his grace. Grace defines the very nature and economy of God, grace is the way he is. It’s a word that encompasses his generosity, perfection, goodness, charity and unselfishness.