The Family Tree | Matthew 1

Welcome to Real Life. I've often considered researching my genealogy.  It'd be exciting to find an ancestor who was noble or famous. But what if I found scoundrels or a murderer? 



Matthew’s gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. It includes four women (in addition to his mother Mary).[1] In the patriarchal society of Jesus’ day, it was unusual for women to be named. In addition, three of the four are gentiles. Jewish culture prized ethnic purity. Gentiles were despised. By including these women in his genealogy, Jesus illustrates an important truth:  In Christ, we are all equal.
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28 NLT)
Even more surprising are the stories behind these four names:

Tamar |Genesis 38
Judah is one of the twelve sons of Jacob, the namesake of the tribe of Judah.[2] Tamar is Judah’s widowed daughter-in-law; she has no children. By custom, Judah was to allow Tamar to bear children (in her late husband’s name) through his youngest son. But, he refused. So Tamar devises a scheme. She disguises herself as a roadside prostitute to entice Judah himself to sleep with her. He takes the bait. When she is found pregnant, Judah condemns her to death. However, wise Tamar has his seal and staff as proof of their liaison. When Judah realizes he is the father, he says of Tamar, “She is more righteous than I.”[3] Tamar bears twin sons, Perez and Zerah. Perez is included in the line of Christ.

Rahab | Joshua 2 and 6
As Israel enters the Promised Land, the first city to conquer is Jericho. In preparation, Joshua sends spies into the city to determine its strength. Rahab is a prostitute in Jericho. After the spies’ covers are blown, Rahab hides them. Then, she helps them escape. Because she assists Israel, the day the walls of Jericho come tumbling down, only Rahab and her family are saved.

Ruth | Book of Ruth
Israel is hit with a famine. This causes Naomi, her husband and two sons to relocate to Moab. There, her sons marry Moabite women. Before one grandchild is born, Naomi’s sons die. So does her husband. She returns to Bethlehem sad and broken, feeling that God has abandoned her. However, her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth insists on accompanying her back to Israel. Ruth proclaims, “Your people will be my people and your God my God.”[4] In Bethlehem, Boaz marries Ruth to become Naomi’s kinsman redeemer. (Boaz foreshadows Christ as our kinsman redeemer.) The son of Ruth and Boaz is Obed, the grandfather of King David. God did not abandon Naomi. He redeemed her loss by weaving her and Ruth into the lineage of the Messiah.

Bathsheba (wife of Uriah) | 2 Samuel 11-12
On a spring day when kings should be leading their armies into battle, King David stays home. Bored, he paces the roof of his palace. From this perch, he spies Bathsheba bathing. Although David has many wives and Bathsheba is married, he summons her to his bed. Bathsheba becomes pregnant. To cover his sin, David orders Bathsheba’s husband Uriah – a loyal soldier – re-assigned to the heat of the battle so he will be killed. Then, David marries Bathsheba. The child is born, but lives only seven days. Their second child is Solomon. He grows up to be the next king of Israel and takes his place in Jesus’ family tree.

The genealogy of Jesus Christ includes prostitutes, widows, adulterers and a murderer. It is full of broken, imperfect people - just like us. Yet God redeemed their broken stories by weaving them into his great story of salvation.

Lord, how might you redeem my broken story? 

“Brokenness is a gift. It is through the window of brokenness that we see the face of God.” ~ Sheila Walsh
[1] Matthew 1
[2] Jesus is called the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” (Rev. 5:5).
[3] Genesis 38:26
[4] Ruth 1:16

Image from: 1‑FamilyTree.jpg

Comments

  1. I love how you do this, Peggi! You condense the stories without losing the message and then you present it to present-day readers. Excellent! I've read these stories before but I can never keep the people in the OT straight. Thanks for helping me out. I love these women, I love that their stories are told in the Bible, and I love that God used the "unrighteous" but obedient for his purposes. Great post.

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    1. Thanks, Linnea. I appreciate your encouragement! I love these women, too. Broken women - just like me - women God loves!

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  2. Interesting post Peggi. Hope you keep all these so I can go back to them. I know the stories but couldn't quote them by memory. Sometimes I've been surprised and wondered why God decided to put these in the bible. But they are life, and He did send his son to die for all of us. Thankfully.

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    1. Thanks, Kathleen. Sometimes the stories surprise me too! As they say - real life is stranger than fiction. :) But, I'm glad that he chose to put them all in.

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  4. Hi,
    Reading this article reminds me of Romans 5 and I believe it is verse 8 that says "God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." It is never to late to turn over our lives to God and it is never to late to repent. Salvation is for all who come to him and accept Jesus Christ as LORD and Saviour.
    Thank you dear friend for this timely article.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

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  5. Hi Patricia - thank you for stopping by to read and comment!

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