In the opening of Matthew’s gospel we see the genealogy of Jesus, and if we look closely, there is a surprise. Lineage was usually traced through the male line – from Adam, through David and to Jesus. This also occurs in Matthew’s lineage of Jesus, yet if you look closely, there are five women in the list. What is even more interesting is the identities of those five women. On the run up to Advent I thought we could look at those five women who appear in Jesus’ lineage.
“Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar” [Matthew 1:3a]
The first woman to appear in the lineage is Tamar. If you don’t know her full story, you will find her in Genesis 38. She is the widow of Judah’s two older sons, and when Judah fails to marry her to his youngest son, she tricks him and becomes pregnant by him. When Judah learns she is pregnant, he is furious that she has betrayed the family honour, until he dicovers that he is the father. When he realises this he proclaims her innocence and admits his own guilt. Tamar gives birth to twin boys, two sons for Judah to replace the two he lost.
Tamar is a woman who was mistreated by the men in her family, and yet she took her fate into her own hands. In doing so she was declared righteous by Judah and blessed by God – not only by having two sons, which secured her place in the family, but also in being part of the lineage of the Messiah.
when life seems to be bringing us down,
when we feel trapped by circumstances,
when we feel that there is nothing we can do –
help us to remember Tamar.
We thank you for her courage in facing challenges.
We thank you for your blessings to her.
May we have the strength to stand for what is right,
that we too may feel your blessings upon us.
For your blessings, strength and righteousness,
we praise and thank you Lord