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Matthew 1:1-16

Matthew 1:1-16


Series: Christmas 2022
Sermon: Imperfect People and the Gospel
Bible Passage: Matthew 1:1-16

1. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ genealogy contains characters that have questionable background
2. In the list of many national heroes of Israel, there are four women mentioned—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (“Uriah’s wife”)
3. At the end of the list, a fifth woman “Mary” is mentioned—rhetorically speaking, these women are the subject of the genealogy
4. Let’s look at Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba
5. Each of them, except Ruth, committed unacceptable sexual sins

a. Tamar had an incestuous relationship with Judah, her father-in-law
b. Rahab was a prostitute
c. Bathsheba slept with another man while she was married to her husband
d. Ruth was a foreigner, a woman from Moab, a nation that came out of incestuous relationship

6. All of them have a pattern

a. Tamar provided a lineage from Judah, otherwise it would have stopped with Judah (cf. Gen 49:9-12)
b. Rahab helped Israelites to enter Canaan and became the great grandmother of David (Josh 2:18-14)
c. Ruth provided a continuity for Elkana through Boaz (Ruth 4:21-22)
d. Though the story Bathsheba is ugly, she provided Solomon who became the bearer of God’s promise to David
e. All four of them came from non-Jewish background

i. Tamar: Canaanite
ii. Rahab: Canaanite from Jericho
iii. Ruth: Moabite
iv. Bathsheba: a Hittite

f. Despite their backgrounds, their children were celebrated heroes of Jewish history, but they had problems with the Child of Mary!
g. In the course of Jewish history, perception about these women changed

i. Tamar: “She is more upright than I am,” said Judah (cf. Gen 38:26)
ii. Rahab: By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies (Heb 11:31)
iii. Ruth: where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried (Ruth 1:16-17)
iv. Bathsheba: Nathan said to David, “You are the man! (2 Sam 6:7)—Nathan held David accountable rather than Bathsheba

h. All four of them played important roles in advancing God’s plan in the history of Israel

i. The writer of the Gospel of Matthew intentionally kept these stories
ii. Instead of mentioning women with incredible faith background, he listed these women who have imperfect backgrounds for a purpose

i. God worked His purposes through imperfect people and was was preparing theworld to introduce the Gospel
j. God’s work in this world is based on Him, not on us
k. How we comply with it makes a difference

i. Though we are not told much about Tamar, she made an unusual step to have a son in Judah’s line, which was the plan of God

1. She didn’t have a good husband (Gen 38:7)
2. She didn’t have a good kinsman (Gen 38:8)
3. She was ignored by her husband’s family by not keeping their promise (Gen 38:26b)

ii. Rahab put her on the line to protect the spies

1. She put them in the attic when the house was raided (Joshua 2:4)
2. She told a lie to protect them (Joshua 2:5)

iii. Ruth left her homeland

1. She made a confession which is a precursor to the Gospel confession (Ruth 1:16)
2. She was willing to marry a man through whom she would establish a line for Elkana (Ruth 3:9)

l. God is advancing His interest through people like you and I

i. It is not based on our righteousness
ii. It is based on His sovereign willingness

m. How do we comply with God’s plan?

7. Mary complied to God’s plan (verse 16)

1. She was a chosen vessel to carry the Savior of the World
2. It was not because of anything special in her, but it was God’s sovereign choice/call
3. She complied

a. She risked marriage
b. She lived with social ostracization (cf. Mark 6:3)

8. Lessons

1. God’s assignments cost those who comply with His plans
2. You don’t comply with God after becoming perfect, your compliance with God will put you on the track to perfection—God’s assignment is a great stewardship
3. None of the women in Jesus’ genealogy continued their past, but they were busy with advancing God’s mission
4. God’s call and commission of you is not based on how good you are, but it is based on how good He is—the good news is that God calls a sinner and uses a saved sinner
5. Celebration of Christmas without a tangible action is not a celebration in the real sense—what you do for God and His mission makes your celebration different

Take Away:

Let not your past life and setbacks hold you back from advancing God’s mission

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at