Dear Christian Sisters,
Mary, the center of the #bravelikeMary series, enters the story.
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
Certainly Jewish scholars had done the math based on the book of Daniel (9:24-27) and figured out that a woman would soon become pregnant with the promised Messiah.
Young women who were descendants of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16) were all hopeful that they would be the mother of the Messiah.
But she had to be a virgin:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
Isaiah 7:14 NKJV
As you know, many genealogies are listed in the Bible. It’s one of the reasons people find the Bible hard to read. Unless you’re a genealogist (like my mom!), you probably do not get excited about reading a list of names.
But the genealogies become more interesting when you know something about the people in them.
For example, the women listed in Matthew’s genealogy each have an interesting story. Let’s take a quick look at the women named in Jesus’ genealogy:
- Tamar (Matthew 1:3)
- Rahab (Matthew 1:5)
- Ruth (Matthew 1:5)
- Bathsheba (Matthew 1:6)
Three, maybe all four, of the women were Gentiles! Tamar was a Canaanite. Rahab was an Amorite. Ruth was a Moabite.
Bathsheba may have been a Gentile. Her first husband was a Hittite, so she may have also been a Hittite as well. Also, her name is Canaanite in origin.
I love how God includes non-Jews in His heritage. It reminds me that eternal life is not just for the Jews, but for the all the people.
Non-Jews were included in Jesus’ story to remind us that His salvation is for all people and that God can use anyone for His glory.
Indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6 NKJV
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
Luke 2:10 NKJV
Three of the women were not known for their sexual purity. Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba all had their children through sexual sins.
Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute in order to trick her father-in-law into giving her children. Of course this is not God glorifying for her or her father-in-law, Judah (one of Jacob’s 12 sons). (See Genesis 38.)
Rahab was the prostitute who helped the Israelites conquer Jericho. (See Joshua 2 and 6.)
Bathsheba had an affair with King David (2 Samuel 11:1-5), David killed her husband to cover up his indiscretion (2 Samuel 11:6-25), Bathsheba married David (2 Samuel 11:26-27), and she later gave birth to Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24-25), who became the next king even though he was not the oldest living son (1 Kings 2:15).
Even Ruth used her sexuality. She cozied up to Boaz while he was sleeping after he had partied the night before (Ruth 3:1-9).
What can we learn from this?
- We learn that Gentiles are part of Jesus’ history as well as His future.
- We learn that Jesus is not borne of perfect people.
- We learn that even Jesus’ family had skeletons in the closet.
- We learn that God can use anyone’s story for His glory.
P.S. If you’re wondering why Jesus’ genealogy as listed in Matthew 1 is different than Luke 3, read this article from Jews for Jesus.