BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.” Matthew 1:16 NIV
Many people have interest in exploring their “family tree.” Some find a connection to a famous person of the past and discover all kinds of interesting connections to the past.
Jesus’ “family tree” is found in both Matthew and Luke’s gospels. As Matthew writes to Jews with a focus on Jesus as King, he establishes Jesus connection to David and the Kings of Judah. The conclusion is the Jesus is the rightful heir of David’s throne. God’s word declares, “and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:33)
Only in Matthew’s record of Jesus genealogy do we find a reference to women. In addition to Mary there are four women mentioned by name. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and “Uriah’s wife.” The common connection of these four women, is that they all figured prominently into the lineage of the Messiah and they had some “questionable” history and (except for Tamar) were gentiles.
However, all these women were also women of faith, strategically used by God. Tamar was the wife of two of Judah’s sons and was promised to his third son; when he became of age. Judah failed to keep his commitment and Tamar lured him into a relationship and became pregnant with twins. When all was revealed, Judah declared, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again.” (Genesis 38:26 NIV)
Rahab, was the prostitute in Jericho who hid the spies and by her actions saved her family from destruction. The Bible declares, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” (Hebrews 11:31 NIV)
Ruth was the Moabite widow of Naomi’s son. She followed Naomi as she returned to Bethlehem and married a relative of her husband and became the great-grandmother of King David.
Then there is a reference to the woman who became King Solomon’s mother, who is referred to as the “wife of Uriah.” This reference is a bold reminder of one of King David’s greatest failures in his adultery with Bathsheba.
The final woman is Mary, the husband of Joseph and mother of Jesus. I am sure for years there was some on-going controversy over Mary’s pregnancy and Jesus’ birth. The shepherd’s visit and the wisemen’s journey almost two years later, would not have been subject to the media coverage that we are use to in our day. Along with the wonder, there would have been great controversy as well.
If you are researching your family history, I’m not sure there would be great joy to find women like Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba. Even with Ruth’s integrity she was still a gentile, a group from whom Jewish men were not to intermarry.
When we look at Jesus’ lineage we are reminded that families are more “messy” than perfect. But God’s Word doesn’t skip “the mess.” It is there for all to see and even made to stand out. We are reminded that the One who came to redeem mankind and restore them to God, is the One who redeems histories and takes what would look like tragedies and turns them into triumphs.
Prayer for today… Lord, thank You for using the imperfect, tarnished and questionable. We are reminded that the God of history redeems personal histories for Your glory and purposes.