Saturday, May 8, 2010

May 8, 2010

"A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." Matthew 1:1-16

This is the family tree of our Savior. It is interesting to us but it was critical to the Jewish people. It was the pedigree that allowed Jesus to be kosher. This was standard procedure to show your family tree. What is atypical of this geneology is the inclusion of women - several of them! Women were possessions, property, you didn't include them in something as important as a legal document.

Not only is it unusual that they listed women but some of the women they listed is significant. Let's consider that for a few minutes:

Tamar - Though ignored in most Christian sources, Tamar played an important role in the lineage of Jesus. Her story involves life-risking drama and sexual intrigue, in which she is ultimately vindicated, despite the morally dubious tactics she used to achieve her goal of producing sons for Judah's lineage. She was originally married to Judah's eldest son, Er (Gen. 38:6). After Er's husband's death, she was married to Onan, his brother, who also died. Judah promised that his third son, Shelah, would become her husband. When this promise was not fulfilled, Tamar disguised herself as a temple prostitute in the town of Timnah and offered herself to her father-in-law Judah. She claimed his staff, cord, and signet ring as a pledge in token of payment but did not appear later to receive her pay. From this union, Tamar became pregnant. When Judah accused her of fornication, she produced his possessions and identified Judah himself as the father. Tamar had twin sons, Zerah and Perez (Gen. 38:30), thus securing Judah's lineage. Among her descendants were King David, each of the subsequent kings of Judah, and—in the New Testament—Jesus Christ.

So, Tamar was not a girl you would want to take home to mother - but she is in the lineage of Jesus.

Rahab - This woman was a prostitute. She risked her life to hide the Hebrew spies and therefore, was saved when Jericho was destroyed. Again, not the ideal person to pad your resume' with. But she had a place in the line of Jesus.

Ruth - This woman demonstrated a love that is true and devoted. She showed a love that transcended race or tradition. Her devotion led to her being redeemed by her kinsman redeemer, Boaz.
Bathsheba - She became the most beloved of King David's wives and the mother of King Solomon. Her great beauty made her the object of a lustful desire by David and led to the sin that was his undoing. However, she was obliged to serve the king and innocent of the blame. David's sin was upon his head.
Mary - This young woman was hand-picked to become the mother of the Messiah, Jesus, Savior of the world. She put all of her own plans and desires aside to serve the will of God. Becoming pregnant by the Holy Spirit while still unmarried and a virgin, caused her to become the object of shameful speculation and accusation. But through her humble obedience the world was blessed offered forgiveness from sins and friendship with God.
Five women are mentioned prominately in the lineage of Jesus. It is unprecedented. It shows that God is, indeed, the Father of all and His salvation is offered to all. Gender doesn't matter. Station in life doesn't matter. Race doesn't matter. What you have done in the past doesn't matter. What matters is that you love God and obey Him as each of these women did.
These women are mentioned, but there were also a number of other women in this lineage because for every man that is mentioned there was a wife and a mother. So God honors women. The Christian faith honors women. Women are worthy of honor.
Give honor to the women in your life. Women, receive the honor extended you by God. Honor Him with your love and obedience. Join the list of exalted women who loved God more than life itself.