DAY FOUR (4 DEC 2020) - COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS
“Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth..”
Matthew 1: 5
Extra readings: Matthew; Ruth
Yesterday we looked at the significance of the human genealogy of Jesus with which Matthew chose to start his Gospel. As you read through those names, did you notice that there were five women on the list? Perhaps you thought nothing of that but given the fact that, ordinarily, women were not included in the genealogies of the first century, we should be alerted to a certain significance.
Some scholars have asserted that these women were included because their dubious character shows just how merciful God is. Actually, the truth lies in the incredible faith that each of these women showed in obeying God against all odds. Tamar had to resort to trickery to make her father-in-law do the right thing and produce the son that would be the ancestor of Jesus. Rahab hid the Jewish spies who came to Jericho, declaring in Joshua 2:11, "the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below."No wonder she is listed in the faith hall of fame in Hebrews 11. Ruth is one of the few women in the Bible who have a whole book named after her. Her vow to the mother of her dead husband has become a classic quote, often used in weddings to indicate the bride's and/or groom's intentions of loyalty. "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16). She became part of Jesus’ human lineage because she chose to believe that the God of the Jews was the true God of all. Bathsheba has been given a bad rap as a scarlet woman of dubious moral character. Actually she was the victim of a rape scenario by King David. Nevertheless she went on to be chosen by God as the mother of the next king, Solomon. And finally, can there be a more faith-filled and courageous figure than young Mary? She risked her very life when she accepted God’s choosing of her as the virgin mother of Jesus.
Jeanne Serrão put it this way “the faith of these women was so strong they burst out of the confines of socially accepted silence.” Indeed, it was their very obedience to God that served to preserve the Messiah’s line and ultimately, in the case of Mary, actually birth the Messiah into the world. To the unjaundiced observer, it shouldn’t take more than Matthew’s genealogy to convince us of the special role and special dignity that God accords to women of faith. Indeed, to all people who place their faith in God.
Father God, please restore women to their rightful place, the place You’ve accorded them, within your Church.
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