Read through the first chapter of Matthew’s gospel and you’ll see some interesting people in the genealogy of Jesus: Judah and Tamar (Gen. 38), Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 1-4), Salmon and Rahab (Josh. 2; 6:17-25), and David and Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11). Each of these relationships had a twist to it. Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law. Ruth was a Moabite. Rahab was a Canaanite harlot. Bathsheba was another man’s wife. But despite the sin involved in each situation, God had a plan that included these people in the line of Jesus the Messiah.
What does this teach us about God? It teaches us that despite our sinfulness and constant failures, God is able to produce something good from our lives. Judah recognized his sin and later was a different man. Ruth became an example to all those who knew her. Rahab became a believer and a wife and mother. David and Bathsheba repented of their sin and taught their son to follow the Lord.
I think that God included these people in the genealogy of Jesus to remind us of a few things. These people broke God’s laws and yet he brought them to repentance and forgave them. That shows God’s mercy to sinners. Keep reading each person’s story and you will see that all of them turned to the Lord from their sinfulness. It’s no wonder that God included them in the line of the Savior because it showcases both the problem of sin and its ultimate solution.