Of all the women of faith who might have been honored as part of the genealogy of Jesus, those the Spirit mentions through Matthew are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and, “the wife of Uriah”: A woman who played prostitute, a real prostitute, a Gentile widow, and a woman who was the object of sexual abuse. No matter who you are or what your background is, you’re welcome in his family. Come to him in faith–you’ll not be shut out.
Tamar was a twice-widowed woman with no children. After being sinned against by both of her husbands, she was sinned against by her father-in-law, who was supposed to provide for her. So, she responded and sinfully took matters into her own hands. She pretended to be a prostitute so that she could be a mother, a woman who had value and security.
Rahab was a Gentile prostitute who hid the Israeli spies who would conquer her country. In essence, she was a lying traitor to her nation. But Hebrews commends her and says, rather ironically, “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient (her countrymen), because she had given friendly welcome to the spies” (Heb 11:31). BTW, she also became the mother of Boaz (see below).
Ruth was a Gentile, idol-worshipping widow. She was destitute and chose to emigrate from Moab to Bethlehem with Naomi, her bitter mother-in-law, whom she loved. She didn’t have any clue how the Lord would use her, but walked on in faith. She probably thought she and Naomi would live lives of deep poverty, in isolation and shame. Instead, she ultimately married Boaz (Rahab’s son), and became the mother of Obed, the grandfather of King David.
Bathsheba, “…the wife of Uriah,” was the victim of sexual exploitation by the king. She was widowed through murder and the baby she had conceived by David’s abuse died. She was broken, abused, bereft. And yet, she’s honored as being in the family line of Jesus. She became the mother of Solomon.
What do we learn from the Spirit’s choice of these four women? We learn that Jesus loves to honor those whom the world (and church?) might claim are disqualified.
You are not disqualified by what you’ve done. You are not disqualified by what someone else has done to you. Your sin and the sin of others against you is not the most important thing about you.
You are welcomed into his family. He’s not ashamed of you. He doesn’t wish you were prettier or cleaner or had a better resume.
He’s proud to claim you as His bride. He’s made you beautiful and clean and given you the record of his perfect obedience.
All women are welcome. Including you.
So, come to him in faith and know that he loves, welcomes, and values you. And one day, you’ll be clothed in the white linen shared by all the saints.
[Photos: Unsplash.com, Tiko Giorgadze and Soroush Karimi]