Jesus is the sinless Son of God, but He also had a human lineage. One might expect that lineage to go back through devoted followers of God, and some were, but many were not.
Of all of Jacob’s sons, we might expect the Christ to come through Joseph. He didn’t. Jesus’ earthly heritage was speckled with all sorts of waywardness and Gentile mothers. Perhaps that’s to show Jesus really did come to be the Savior of all people, not just the Jews.
Women in Tamar’s day had few choices. It was exclusively a man’s world in the Middle East. Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law, had been sent back to her father’s house. Judah’s intention was to abandon her. Whether right or wrong Tamar did what she did. It was risky, but it worked.
Sometimes risky and sometimes kind of crazy are things that God turns around and uses. At breakfast this morning, I mentioned to Jay that the families in Genesis were just a mess. His response: “God uses messes.” It is so true—that in the midst of our horrible mess, God is still at work.
Judah’s first reaction to the news that Tamar was pregnant was to “bring her out and have her burned to death,” ridding himself of her once and for all. But, on seeing his own seal and staff, Judah is awakened to his responsibility to her.
Tamar’s actions were both risky and calculated. They could easily have ended her life.
Yet, God had a plan and from a very questionable action, Perez is born. And, through the line of Perez comes two other significant Gentile women: Rahab, who hid the spies, and Ruth, the Moabite. In the lineage of Joseph, listed in Matthew 1, many individuals are left out, but not these three women—women who did what seemed right at the time—and God worked through them. They could have been skipped over in the genealogy of Jesus, but they aren’t.
In Matthew 1, they are the only women mentioned, alongside Bathsheba and Mary. Those are five women who certainly have stories to tell. And they are five women who indicate that Jesus came for all people of all walks of life—Jew, Gentile, rich, poor, righteous, unrighteous. Jesus is the Savior of all.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything