And Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Urriah.
If you’ve never had a Bible reading plan derailed by 1 Chronicles, I envy you. Like many, I’ve gone off track with the genealogies and wondered before why they’re even in the Bible. Names, names, names, and more names! But reading the genealogy of Christ helped me understand there can be helpful and encouraging information—gospel truth—hidden in all those names.
For instance, Matthew’s gospel opens with Jesus’ genealogy, and—unusually—includes the names of five women. The Jews were meticulous genealogy-keepers because it helped establish inheritance, lineage, and heritage. But with lineage ordinarily traced through the head of the family (the father), the inclusion of the mothers in this genealogy gives us a hint that there’s something special, out of the ordinary, we need to think about.
The five women listed in Jesus’ genealogy are: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Jesus’ own mother, Mary. So what’s special about these women, and why point them out specifically? As Matthew traces the Messiah’s lineage, we see that the line is neither clean nor straight. In Christ’s own family tree, there are people we (or they themselves) may have deemed unfit for saving. But this Messiah is coming for people with a checkered past, and people from all the nations. He’ll prove that no one is beyond God’s grace—like Tamar, who bore her son by her father-in-law, and Rahab the prostitute, and Ruth the Gentile, and Bathsheba “the other woman,” and Mary, the Jew who found favor with the Lord. And on and on we could go with the sins of the men, too!
But praise be to God that Christ came for people just like that—people just like us! With Paul, let us rejoice in the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God (Romans 11:33)!
Catch up Days 1-10 of our Christmas Devotional here.