An application section on a study of the genealogy of Jesus may seem strange. However, in reading the names and understanding the background of genealogies, we find that Matthew’s intention in including this genealogy is not merely the providing of information.
It would have been easy for Matthew to provide only the positive side of the genealogy of Jesus. Because he condensed the genealogy to make it easier to memorize, it would have been easy to include only the powerful, admirable members of his line.
But Matthew didn’t do this. Why? While we cannot know exactly why the names listed were included, the inclusion of Gentiles and sinners is a reminder to us that God is able to redeem anyone. Ruth and Rahab were both Gentile women. Although we may say their faithful acts contribute to their inclusion in the genealogy of Jesus, their inclusion is a reminder that the good news of the Gospel is for Jews and Gentiles. Their inclusion is a reminder that Jesus came for men and women, those who are good and those who are evil, the powerful and the oppressed.
Regardless of your background, the genealogy of Jesus can provide you with hope. Your genealogy does not have to define who you are in Christ. Your past does not have to define who you are in Christ. What defines who you are is the relationship you have with a Savior who was born into the same mixed-up world that you were. You serve a God who cares enough about you to redeem your past. That’s pretty amazing!
In the creation of this study, I consulted the NIV Application Commentary: Matthew by Michael J. Wilkins.