When you look back in Biblical times, it was a very patriarchal society. Women had very few rights and or privileges; they were seen and not heard. Even still, being Christmas, looking at the life of Christ, he gave purpose and value to women – woman at the well, Mary Magdalene, and so many others. Nonetheless, one of the things I found most interesting and intriguing is found in the very genealogy of Jesus.
Looking through Scripture, in nearly all of the genealogies listed in both the old and new testament, there are rarely women listed. It’s mostly “the son of…” However, in the very lineage of Christ given in the first chapter of Matthew, there are five women listed…Yes. Five. What’s even crazier is that these women, or families they represent, are everything but perfect. They got some serious issues.
First on the list is Tamar (Matt 1:3), found in Genesis 38. The story of Tamar is a story of incest. Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah – Jesus was to come from the tribe of Judah. To sum it up, Judah had three sons and before it was over, none of them produced any offspring for the tribe to continue. Thus, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and slept with Judah and got pregnant, inadvertently preserving the line of Judah.
Second on the list is Rahab (Matt 1:5) , found in Joshua 2. This is a story of a prostitute, not even a Jew, who protected the spies of Israel as they were preparing to demolish her city, Jericho. As a result of her sacrifice, she and her family were protected. Third on the list is Ruth (Matt 1:5) who happens to have a whole book in the Bible dedicated to her, Ruth. Ruth is the story of family and companionship and selflessness. Ruth as well, was not a Jew. She was from Moab, a pagan society. Moabites were some wicked polytheistic people, the total opposite of the Jewish culture. Nonetheless, Ruth set on a journey as a widow, alongside her mother-in-law, Naomi, a Jew, to go back to the land of her people, the Israelites. Long story short, with the guidance of her Naomi, she found herself a husband, the kinsman redeemer, and found a spot in the lineage of Christ.
Fourth on the list is Bathsheba (Matt1:6), found in 2 Samuel 11. Although she is presented as “Uriah’s wife,” her story is far from unknown. Her story is one of betrayal, adultery, sorrow and murder. While married she committed adultery with the very King David and got pregnant. As a result, David had her husband killed, and like clock work God took the life of their son.
Last on the list is Mary, the very mother of Jesus – a young girl minding her business, when an angel of the Lord came and interrupted her life, so much in so she was pregnant before she got married. Back then, that was a social no no.
The point in sharing these stories is one, to see the significance and value of a woman. On the other side, I want to give a brief insight in to how messed up Jesus’ family was. Still, God chose the least of these, to bring forth His precious son. So when people think Jesus came from a generations of water walkers, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I love Jesus so much more because of this. He had issues in his family just like everyone else; it identified him, but it didn’t define him. Although Jesus came from all of a dysfunctional family, he didn’t let that take his focus off of his mission here on earth. He was born to die. So let that be an encouragement to you as it is to me, that whatever background or family we come from, it may identify who we are, but it doesn’t have to define who we are. We can rise above and become all that God would want us to be.
As we celebrate this season, remember Christ. He was real, so real he chose imperfect people, on purpose, to bring His only begotten into the world. God can choose and use anyone he wants. He chose me; He chose you. He can take all your mess and create a miracle that will change history, as he did in the lives of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.