For reasons unknown to us, God may select the Judahs who sell their brothers into slavery, the Jacobs who cheat their way to first place, the Davids who steal wives and murder rivals - but also compose profound and beautiful psalms of praise.
And what about the five women Matthew choses to include? Not a mention of Sarah or Rebekah or Rachel, the upstanding patriarchal wives of Israel. Instead Tamar, a Cananite, who disguised herself as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law Judah to get a son out of him. And Rahab, another Cananite and a real prostitute this time. And Ruth the Moabite, another outsider. And Bathsheba, mother of Solomon, is named only as the wife of Uriah, whom King David had killed so he could marry her himself. Every one of these women used as God's instrument had scandal or aspersion attached to her-as does the fifth and final woman named in the genealogy: Mary, the mother of Jesus, with her unconventional pregnancy.Matthew's intent in highlighting these women is to make the point that Christ, who as God was able to plan and choose his own lineage, did so in a way that made a bold and profound statement: that he desired to come to us not with the appearance and glory of God (as he is and will return), but in the humility of a 100% human being with very much imperfect ancestors. In doing so, took on our sin not by sinning himself, but by assuming the sins of the past and all time onto himself. At the same time, in choosing to singularly exempt Mary from this stain of sin, he reversed our trajectory from darkness and sin to light and redemption and prepared for himself a perfect flesh-and-blood tabernacle from which to enter into the world. Christ chose to enter the nastiness, pain, and fear, and death of a fallen humanity rather than abandon us to the fate we deserved. He chose love and mercy beyond justice. Only God could plan that kind of entrance.