Another odd thing about Christ’s genealogy in Matthew: the women in it.

In the first place, women’s names don’t appear often in the Hebrew genealogies. Second, take a look at the particular women Matthew mentions:

Tamar, who tricked her father-in-law Judah into getting her pregnant by posing as a prostitute.

Rehab, who really was a prostitute, and of a pagan city God was about to destroy for its pagan-ness.

Ruth, a Moabite who married an  expatriate Israelite in her own country (and historically Moabite women had been a terrible snare to Israel by seducing its men into vile idolatry).

Bathsheba, an adulteress, only named as “her of Uriah,” labeling her as rightfully bound to that noble man who was out fighting David’s battles while she was creeping into the palace to bed with the king.

And finally, Mary, brave and virtuous woman indeed, but one who certainly didn’t look that way to the people around her, pregnant out of wedlock before Joseph took her into his household.

The obvious question their presence in the “begats” evokes is “Why?” Why were these women singled out, while other women, some probably a lot higher on the virtue rating scale, remain unmentioned?

All I know is how clearly this speaks to me of God’s grace and His welcoming arms for any woman who would wholeheartedly come into them and willingly live as His daughter, Christ’s sister (Mt 12:50). How needy I am of that grace! I’m not what I once was, and what I was when He drew me in I want never to be again–but what I am now still falls way short of what I long to be: in holiness and all the good things listed as fruit of the Spirit. I was an outsider like Rehab or Ruth, doing life my own way instead of seeking His way. Yet He drew me in to be His own, just the same, out of His big love.

Another scandalous woman adopted into the family of Christ. I do so love and give thanks for that picture I get from the genealogy in Matthew.