More Than Your Past

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Steve Willis in Article from The Messenger

Have you ever felt like a failure? Like God could never use a sinner like you?

In the genealogy of Jesus, Matthew highlights just four women spanning the 1800 years of the ancestral line of Abraham to Mary and Joseph.  Think of all the godly women that could have been included in this list of Jesus’ ancestors—yet Matthew chose only four.  And what a four they were!

First on the list was a young woman named Tamar (1:3). She entered the royal bloodline by posing as a prostitute and secretly tricking her father-in-law into getting her pregnant (Gen. 38). Who was that father-in-law? Judah, son of Jacob and great-grandson of Abraham, the head of the largest tribe of Israel.  Jesus is known as the Lion of Judah as a result of that illicit affair.

Next, we see Rahab (1:4) who didn’t have to pose as a prostitute, she really was one (and a Canaanite, no less!). One can only imagine her original motive for inviting Joshua and Caleb to her apartment while the people of Jericho searched desperately for the hidden spies. But we know that through her interactions with them, her heart turned to faith (Heb. 11:31).

Ruth is probably the least disreputable of the four women, but her place is conspicuous as well. Ruth came from the Moabite people, an incestuous group that were forbidden from intermarrying with faithful Jews. The Moabites were known for child-sacrifice and worshiping the most violent of gods. Yet here is this woman who renounced her heritage, demonstrated extreme loyalty to her Jewish mother-in-law, and fell into the arms of man who would become King David’s great-grandfather, Boaz.

The last female on the list is not even named but we know she is Bathsheba, the adulterous wife of Uriah.  She came to Jesus’ lineage through a series of events that culminated in the murder of her husband at the order of King David. In all of the Hebrew Bible, the story of David and Bathsheba is probably the most scandalous.

What point is Matthew making by highlighting these four suspect women?  Perhaps God wants to remind us that He can use anyone to accomplish His will. Maybe He’s communicating that His grace is greater than all our sins.  If God can use these four ladies with their challenging pasts, we can be assured that He can still use all of us.

--Steve