Judah had Perez, the mother was Tamar
Salmon had Boaz, his mother was Rahab
Boaz had Obed, his mother was Ruth
David had Solomon, Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba) was his mother
From Matthew 1 (The Message) and the genealogy of Jesus
Tamar came from Hebrew origins
Rahab came from Jericho (Palestine)
Uriah’s wife, was a Hittite, from (Phoenicia) Lebanon
Ruth came from Moab (Jordan)
I like to share this genealogy around Christmas, because it shows the true ethnic and geographic diversity of the lineage of Jesus. The women noted in this lineage of Jesus provided in Matthew’s genealogy were included for a reason. Matthew’s gospel explains the lineage to the nascent Hebrew Christian group who were looking for the royal line of Jesus and the connection with the kingly presence Jesus would represent.
The irony is that in that “royal bloodline” we see a diverse group of women from other cultures and religions. I am convinced that God loves the diversity he created, and he wants us to see that the savior he sent, his son Jesus, was indeed of royal lineage, but not from the kind that people had come to expect.
Throughout history, many countries relied upon “royal bloodlines” for their king’s (or perhaps the queen’s) succession. If one did not have such pure royal blood, they could not ascend to the throne. Now we are aware, of course, of the genetic in-breeding this caused, making those royal lines less healthy than lines of people from more diverse stock.
Once again an example of the paradox of human planning going against what is actually most helpful for us- a more diverse gene pool.
Jesus came from a line of women whose backgrounds were, to be kind, at least questionable. Their tribal origins were not pure Hebrew religion and culture. These women represented diverse world origins, religious and cultural differences that were significant.
So, in this season of celebrating the birth of Jesus, let us also celebrate that he is the savior for the whole world- Jew, Gentile, heathen, believer, non-believer.
He came to save us all.
Prayer: Your plans are higher than our plans, and you delight in the diversity of your creation. Help us to do that better as well, Amen