May 10 I Sunday
2 Kings 10-12
“Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar…Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth… David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife…” —Matthew 1:3, 5, 6
Many of us tend to scan over verses like the opening passage, but if we dig deeply, it sheds incredible light into the lineage of Christ. In biblical times, the genealogy of a Jewish person was documented through the bloodline of the father. The Gospel of Matthew opens with a unique genealogy that includes five mothers. One, of course, is Mary, the mother of Jesus. The other four are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba, while we can only speculate as to why the other four mothers are included. For better insight into the nature of Christ’s kingdom, it is helpful to know a little of their histories.
Tamar was a Canaanite woman who had been widowed twice by the two eldest sons of Judah. Fearing she would remain a widow and bear no children, she disguised herself as a prostitute, waited on the side of the road for her father-in-law, and deceived him into availing himself to her service. Tamar conceived twins and she stepped into the bloodline of the Messiah. Rahab, also a Canaanite woman, lived in Jericho and earned her living as a prostitute. At the risk of her life, she provided refuge for two Israelite spies. In return, when Jericho fell, Rahab and her family were brought safely into Israel, where she married an Israelite named Salmon and she stepped into the line of the Messiah.
A severe famine in Bethlehem brought Naomi, her husband and two sons to Moab. Ruth was a Moabite and married one of Naomi’s sons. Naomi’s husband died and ten years later, both her sons died. Naomi wanted to return to her homeland and Ruth was insistent on accompanying her. They left Moab and returned to Bethlehem where Ruth met and married Boaz. Becoming the great grandmother of King David, she stepped into the line of the Messiah. Lastly, Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, committed adultery with King David, and
she conceived a child that died at birth. To cover up who the father was, David had Uriah placed on the frontlines of battle where he was killed. He then married Bathsheba, where she conceived again and she stepped into the line of the Messiah.
The five mothers may appear as a simple sidebar to the genealogy of Christ, but through this pedigree of sin and brokenness, we come to realize the true nature of Christ’s kingdom. Jesus was not born into a pristine, sterilized world, but into a broken, sinful world––not to stand apart from it, but to become part of it. The kingdom of God is not built on human virtues, accreditation, ability or accomplishment, but on level ground of all people, both Jew and Gentile, recognizing their need for salvation.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, it is so humbling to know that You came into this world not to stand apart from it but to become part of it. Thank You for delivering us from sin and brokenness. Praise You!