A Hearty Welcome

Snippets from Matthew 1: 3-16

3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, . . .

5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

Obed the father of Jesse,

6 and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, . . .

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

There are five women mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. Just mentioning women in a Jewish genealogy would have been considered outrageous in Matthew's time. But these particular women bring a lot more to the table than just their gender. Two are foreigners (Rahab and Ruth), one is a prostitute (Rahab), two bore children for this lineage by men who were not their husbands and who took advantage of their low status as women (Tamar and Uriah's wife), and the last is an unmarried girl of no clear standing (Mary).

According to all the laws and customs of Israel, these women should not be included in this list. If anything, a proper Jewish genealogist like Matthew should have attempted to skirt around these parts of Jesus' lineage. But Matthew includes them. Why?

Because Jesus is one who welcomes! He welcomes the foreigner, the abused, and the unimportant. He welcomes you! He welcomes me! He welcomes the neighbor down the street that you might really wish he wouldn't! This is part of what makes Jesus so remarkable. 

Today, consider who the folks are in your life that you might be disinclined to welcome. What might Jesus be calling you toward in those relationships?