|J. Kirk Richards|
The fifth and final woman listed in Matthew's genealogy is Jesus' mother, MARY. She is depicted as a young woman, a virgin, who was engaged to Joseph. Engagements were serious contracts between two families usually lasting about a year before the couple was formally married and began to live together. The penalty for sexual misconduct was anywhere from being stoned to death to annulling the engagement (divorcing her, Matthew 1:19) and sending the woman back to her family in disgrace.
The genealogy of Jesus is a description of the descent of Jesus. The New Testament provides two: one in the Gospel of Luke and another in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew's starts with Abraham, through King David and his son Solomon, down the legal line of the kings via Jeconiah to Joseph. Luke gives a different genealogy, starting with Adam, through Nathan, a minor son of David, and again to Joseph.
St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, made the astute observation that Mary and Joseph belonged to the same clan and so would have common descendents. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3 . She was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David. She was connected by marriage with her cousin Elisabeth, who was of the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:36).
Joseph was clearly the son of Jacob (Matthew 1:16), Thus, the genealogy of Christ in Luke is actually the genealogy of Mary, while Matthew gives that of Joseph.
The two genealogies show that both parents were descendants of David: Joseph through Solomon (Matthew 1:7-15), thus inheriting the legal right to the throne of David, and Mary through Nathan (Luke 3:23-31), her line thus carrying the seed of David, since Solomon’s line had been refused the throne because of Jechoniah’s sin.
Matthew inserts four women into the long list of men. The women are included early in the genealogy, as we have mentioned in past Blogs, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. Why Matthew chose to include these particular women, while passing over others such as the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah, has been much discussed.
There may be a common thread among these four women, to which Matthew wishes to draw attention. He sees God working through Tamar's seduction of her father-in-law, through the collusion of Rahab the harlot with Joshua's spies, through Ruth the Moabite's unexpected marriage with Boaz, and through David and Bathsheba's adultery.
It has been suggested that Matthew may be preparing future generations for the inclusion of the Gentiles in Christ's mission. Others point out an apparent element of sinfulness, emphasizing God's grace in response to sin.
Left unsaid is how Mary had the courage to tell Joseph that she was pregnant. But that courage and willingness to be the servant of the Lord (Luke 1:38) enabled her to bear the shame of a pregnancy before marriage and to be the mother of the Messiah.
Our first four women in Jesus genealogy were in the Old Testament, His Mother Mary is the "new Eve", entering into the salvation history of her Son, our Redeemer, the King not only of the Jews, but all peoples.
|Nativity- Brian Kershisnik|