3a For each woman in Jesus's genealogy, give facts from the background passage.
Tamar--Genesis 38--She was Judah's daughter-in-law, widowed by both of Judah's older sons. When Judah failed to keep his promise and marry her to the third son, Tamar disguised herself as a temple prostitute and had sexual relations with her father-in-law. She became pregnant by Judah, giving birth to twin boys, Perez and Zerah. I'm not sure about Jewish customs at the time, but it seems to me that this would have been an incestuous relationship.
Rahab--Joshua 2; 6:17--A prostitute from Jericho, Rahab believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. She proved this both in word ("for the Lord your God is God in Heaven above and on the earth below") and deed (by risking her own life to help God's people, hiding the spies of Israel).
Ruth--1; 4:13-17--As a Moabite woman, she was not one of God's "chosen people," but she chose Him, and God honored that choice. She became the great grandmother of King David, and her romance with Boaz is a picture of our sacred romance with our own Kinsman Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Wife of Uriah"--2 Samuel 11, 12:15, 18, 24--She had an adulterous affair with King David (possibly forced, for the text clearly states that she grieved when her husband, Uriah, died). Her first son died as a consequence of that sin, but their second son is named in the genealogy of Christ. I am just stunned by the greatness of our God, that He is a God of fresh starts, second chances and new beginnings.
Mary--Luke 1:26-56--young, virgin, poor (the "humble state of His servant")
b. (Challenge) Why do you think God included each of these women with a place in this genealogy? For the answer to this question, see my post on 9/11, "A Whosoever Like Me." I continue to marvel at the ways in which God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plans.
c. Which of the women do you consider expressed their faith in action? I think they all did, but I chose to write about Rahab and her actions in hiding the Israelite spies. I'm sure she helped them at great risk to her own life and the lives of her family members. Her actions proved that she believed (and trusted) in God more than she feared man. I think that's pretty incredible faith for a pagan prostitute!
d. Can you tell about a recent time you expressed your faith in action? I met a friend for breakfast Sunday. She is facing some "giants" in her life. Before I knew God, I probably would not have met with her at "such a time as this" because I don't have any answers. What do I say? How can I "fix" it? What wisdom do I have to offer? But with God, I no longer fear these encounters. I listen, and then I express my faith in action....I pray with and for her. I know there is nothing in me that can meet her need right now, but I know the One who is THE Need-Meet-er.
4. (Challenge) a. Why is it important that Jesus is the son of David and the son of Abraham?
to fulfill prophecy; Abraham and David were both given specific promises that Messiah would come through their line of descendants. Both had to be true of Jesus if He was, indeed, the King of the Jews.
4b. For what other reasons do you think Christ's genealogy is important? It shows that He came as a real baby through real people. He came to us as one of us, not some extraterrestrial being or an alien. God could have sent Jesus to earth as an other-worldly man with no history, no past, no lineage. But, instead, Jesus experienced all that we experience. He came to earth just as every one of us since Adam and Eve have arrived. He grew in a womb. He experienced childbirth. He entered the world covered in blood and mucus and fluids. He had a "soft spot." His baby eyes were still fuzzy and unfocused. He was not immune from cold or heat or the scratchiness of straw animal bedding on the delicate softness of newborn skin. What an incredible act of love! I will never be able to fully comprehend the extent of that humbling this side of Heaven!