If you looked up these verses, you might wonder if you’ve got the right text. Is there really a genealogy in the lectionary? Am I really going to get something out of this? Yep, you are. All of God’s Holy Scripture drips with grace, and the opening genealogy in Matthew is no exception. At the heart of Matthew’s gospel is a presentation of Jesus and his teaching that centers on the kingdom of God with Jesus as King, the one whom is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises. So, then, the genealogy is not just a chronicle of Christ’s lineage, but is a theological statement made by Matthew that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
The genealogy includes four women in the lineage of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. Just so you know, women are central to the kingdom of God. They may not have been important to ancient kings, but to King Jesus they play a significant role. All four of these women were Gentiles. King Jesus operates differently. No matter your gender, your race, or your past (all four had a dubious sexual history), the kingdom of God is for everyone, and is not an exclusive club. If God can use scandalous Gentile women to accomplish his purposes, who are you or I to tell God whom he can use and whom he can’t use?
God acted in history by sending Jesus, the rightful king of the universe. He is the Anointed One, sent to restore people to God. He himself is our peace and our hope. The kingdom of God operates on grace, and not in typical power position fashion of imposing self-serving agendas. No matter our past or station in life, grace trumps it all. Jesus is the One whom makes all the difference. He is the rightful king. And he uses his power to save and deliver people from sin, death, and hell.
Merciful God, thank you for sending your Son, the Lord Jesus, to save, redeem, and love humanity, including myself. Help me to walk in his steps of grace every day, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.