Summary: Five unexpected women in the genealogy of Christ, speak of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Look Who Is In the Family Tree!
Introduction: Whenever anyone begins to study their family’s lineage and history, they are usually warned that they might find out things they weren’t expecting. They might find out that their great great uncle was a horse thief or that one of their ancestors was a deserter. When you study your family’s history, you are usually in for some surprises. In the genealogy of Jesus there are some surprises also; people that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find in His family tree.
I. The Two Genealogies of Jesus.
A. Luke’s genealogy (Luke 3:23-38)
1. Traced through Mary. From Mary to Adam
2. Establishes the physical descent from David
3. Includes the names of no women. [Note Luke 3:23 "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli." - Joseph the son of Heli by marriage]
B. Matthew genealogy (Matthew 1:1-17)
1. Traced through Joseph, Jesus’ legal father. From Abraham to Joseph
2. Establishes Christ’s legal royal lineage
3. Includes the name of five women
II. Five Women in the Genealogy
A. Tamar - Matthew 1:1-3 "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Tamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram"
1. The story of Tamar is located in Genesis 38.
2. Judah had taken a Canaanite wife by whom he had three sons. He chose a wife by the name of Tamar for his oldest son, Er. Er was according to Genesis 38:7 "was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him." He died leaving no heir.
3. Judah then followed the law of the day: he gave Tamar as wife to the oldest surviving son, to Onan (Genesis 38:8).
4. This was the law that was later to become known as the Levirate custom (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Matthew 22:24). The law stated that if a man died without children, then the next oldest son was to marry his wife and bear a son. By law, the son was legally the first-born son and heir of the deceased brother. This assured two things: (a) that the family name continued, and (b) that the property holdings were kept in the family.
5. Onan failed to obey this law and was slain by God (Genesis 38:9-10)
6. Judah’s only surviving son, Shelah was too young to marry. Thus Judah told Tamar to return to her father’s home until Shelah was old enough to marry her. But Judah had no plan of letting Tamar marry his third son. He considered her bad luck. As far as he was concerned, she was either directly or indirectly the cause of his two sons’ death.
7. Tamar realized that Judah had no intention of ever letting Shelah marry her. She worked out an elaborate scheme where she could trick Judah and bear a son through him (Genesis 38:14). She dressed in the clothing of a temple prostitute, veiled herself, and sat down out by the side of the road where the temple prostitutes usually sat. He had not faintest idea that the woman he thought to be a prostitute was his daughter-in-law, Tamar.