Summary: This is the 1st sermon in the series "Christmas Surprises". This sermon looks at the 4 women listed in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1.

Sunday Morning November 25, 2001 Bel Aire Baptist Church

Series: Christmas Surprises [#1]


Matthew 1:1-17


Through my many years of school, I have taken many history classes. One of the things that always interested me was in trying to figure out if any of those famous people were in my family line. I remember one day talking to my Mamma, my dad’s mother, about her parents and grandparents. I was writing a paper for school and I just knew my Mamma would have some stories of some very important people, and she did. She told me about two boys that lived on the farm next to her grandparents and there was a possibility (if you know what I mean) that we were kin. I recognized this name immediately. One of the boys name was Jesse James. Although this was a pretty “cool” story to tell my friends, did I really want people to know that I was kin to an outlaw?

As we begin our Christmas Series: “Christmas Surprises”, I want us to see that I am not the only person to have some questionable people in my family line. In fact, we are not going to be looking at just any family line but the line of a King. This King’s name is King Jesus and King Jesus is not just any king, He is the King of Kings. But, when I look at His family tree I wonder what God was thinking. Wouldn’t God want to give King Jesus the perfect family tree? Let’s look together at this “Christmas Surprise” and see four women that are found in the genealogy of the Savior.

Turn with me to Matthew 1:1-17.

Tamar (Genesis 38)

In Genesis 37:26-27, we find a man by the name of Judah who proposed that he and his brothers sell Joseph into slavery, rather than to kill him. Judah leaves home, marries a Canaanite woman, and has three sons, two of whom are old enough to marry, and are so wicked that God takes their lives. Abraham was very careful to obtain a non-Canaanite wife for his son, Isaac (chapter 24). Isaac and Rebekah were not as careful, but God provided two wives for Jacob from Rebekah’s brother Laban, in Paddan Aram (Genesis 29). Judah promptly leaves home and marries a Canaanite woman (Genesis 38:1-2). She has three sons. When the firstborn son was old enough, Judah acquired a Canaanite wife for him named Tamar. Judah’s first son, Er, was evil in God’s sight and the Lord took his life (Genesis 38:7). Judah instructed his second son, Onan, to take Tamar and raise up a descendant for his deceased brother, but he prevented Tamar from producing a child. Judah was afraid of losing his youngest son Shelah, so he asked Tamar to live at home until this boy was older.

After the passing of a considerable period of time, Judah’s wife died and Tamar realized that Judah would never give her to Shelah, his only surviving son. She seems to have known Judah all too well, because she disguised herself as a prostitute and stationed herself along the route she knew Judah would be taking to Timnah, along with his friend Hirah. Judah, who hired her as a prostitute, and left some of his possessions as a guarantee of payment, fulfilled Tamar’s expectations. Tamar had concealed her identity by the use of a veil, and so Judah never knew the identity of his companion that night. Some time later Judah was told that his daughter-in-law had become pregnant, and Judah was indignant. He insisted that she be put to death for her immorality. It was then that Tamar produced Judah’s cylinder seal (the ancient counterpart of a driver’s license or Social Security card today), his cord, and his staff – all items that were as good as fingerprints. Judah confessed that Tamar was more righteous than he. She was the one who sought to preserve his line. She bore twins to Judah, and Perez would be the one through whom the Messianic line would be continued, no thanks to Judah.

Pretty interesting person that Tamar. I have a hard time seeing how she is part of this Royal Family Line. Let’s look at another woman listed in this genealogy.

Rahab (Joshua 2; Joshua 6:15-25)

Rahab is mentioned eight times in Scripture and in six of these occurrences, her name is found with a specific descriptive noun. Do you know what it is? It is “harlot” (KJV) or “prostitute” (NIV).

This story wonderfully illustrates God’s grace. He is no respecter of persons. He accepts and forgives us not because of what we are or might be, but because of His Son, because of what He would do and now has done and will do through those who trust Him and act in faith. It matters not what we were or have been. What matters is who Jesus Christ is, what He has done, and whether or not we will put our trust in Him.

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Robert Galey

commented on Nov 29, 2017

Great history lesson. Thank you for bringing this to light.

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