The Unlikely Women of Jesus’ Family
For the Israelites, it really mattered who was in your family tree. In a culture based on ethnic or racial identity, one’s family tree was your resume, how you demonstrated who you were and what you deserved in life. A Jew traced his or her tribal lineage to one of the twelve sons of Jacob (also called Israel), which was important for land ownership as well as proof of Jewish heritage
The gospel of Matthew opens with a detailed description of Jesus’ family tree, from Adam to Joseph. Astonishingly, it includes 5 women. According to Mt. 1, the women in Jesus’ family tree were all: compromised (most were gentiles) and sinners (most sexual scandal). In this series, we will look at 4 of the 5 women in Jesus’ family line.
What’s the point of including these women in Jesus’ resume? Clearly, it was not to demonstrate the human legitimacy of Jesus’ family line. But neither was it an attempt to suggest that God doesn’t really care about his own standards for righteousness. Instead, the inclusion of these questionable women provides a textured, nuanced picture of just what God means by “grace”.
Sometimes Old Test Israel can seem legalistic, even racist. We cringe as we read Old Testament accounts of the God of Israel wiping out entire pagan nations. The genealogy of Jesus stretches our understand of Romans 8:28, showing us a God who works for good in all things in his efforts to draw his people to himself.
For the Life of the World
We will be doing a church-wide Bible study of “For the Life of the World”. Details will be coming soon.