In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ genealogy, besides Mary, four women are mentioned: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Uriah’s wife. This inclusion is unusual for the Mid-East is patriarchal, but also each of these women had questionable backgrounds: Tamar played a prostitute, Rahab was a prostitute, Ruth was a Moabitess, and Uriah’s wife was Bathsheba who David had an affair with.
Despite their backgrounds each woman represents a crucial turning point in Jewish history. When Israel reached that crucial point it was a Gentile woman who displayed extraordinary faith in contrast to a Jewish man who lacked courage: Tamar versus Juda’s disloyalty, Rahab versus the desert generation’s faithlessness, Ruth versus Naomi lack of faith, and Uriah versus David’s sinfulness with Bathsheba. Yes, Messiah was to come through Israel, but when Israel’s unfaithfulness hindered the promise God preserved the promise through these Gentile women, and through God’s grace these women were able to share in the promise.
Jesus fulfills God’s promise to all people from all nations with the evangel of salvation. In Jesus’ ancestry we find the all-embracing love of God emphasized. Nothing can stand in its path. There is nobody who does not need it. There is nobody who is not eligible to receive it. There is nobody who can stop it.