At the centre of Christianity, the centre of our faith, is a person, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Strong one, the Righteous one, Saviour and King of the world. If you want to understand Christianity, look to Christ. In Matthew 1, we are introduced to this King with a genealogy.
It’s easy to skip over these names, but we ought not to, because something extraordinary happens in this passage. In the time of Jesus Christ, the first century, it was normal to introduce a person with the names of their male ancestors, as we see here – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc – but here Jesus is introduced with the names of his grandmothers as well – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the wife of Uriah and Mary the mother of Jesus.
These women are not queens or powerful people. Most of them are not even Israelites. They do not have status or power in their society. These women are marginalised people. They are on the fringes of society, far from power or influence. So why are they included in this introduction to Jesus Christ?
First, God sees those who are marginalised. Though others may consider them inconsequential, God does not. He remembers those others forget. Second, these women were people who followed God. They teach us about ourselves, as well as about God.
As we look at these women, we will meet a God who is at work on the margins among and through people of low status. The poor, the disgraced, the unlovely, the vulnerable. Those society forgets, God sees, and there he is at work. We ought not to despise the poor English speaker, or the intellectually disabled, the battered woman, or the incoherent elderly person. Instead, it ought to be there that we expect to find God.
Jesus Christ himself was born on the margins, and his grandmothers were on the margins of society too and yet they were at the centre of God’s wonderful plan for the world. Join me as we explore their stories and get to know their God a little better!
Tamie comes from Adelaide and lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with her husband and two sons. In partnership with CMS Australia, they work with the Tanzanian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (TAFES). She and her husband blog here