The genealogy of Jesus includes some of the most recognized men in the Bible, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King David, and King Solomon. Amongst the men’s names are five women, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Including a woman’s name in a genealogy was unique given that time and culture. In her own way, each of these remarkable women underwent her own unplanned pregnancy. Their individual struggles were part of God’s master plan and their obedience led to the birth of Christ.
Tamar’s story is detailed in Genesis 38:6-30. Her name is mentioned as part of Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:3. Tamar was a widow experiencing family abandonment. She felt that she had no choice but to act as a prostitute to continue her deceased husband’s heritage. This led to the birth of twin boys, Perez and Zerah. Perez is an ancestor of Jesus. Though her immoral act was wrong, God still provided for Tamar and she was included in the Messianic line. It is not uncommon for a woman to find herself in a difficult situation like Tamar’s. Women, who are facing difficult situations or family abandonment, often feel that they have no recourse other than to stay in an abusive situation or to allow men to misuse them. But God’s mercy and forgiveness is boundless. He is a faithful protector who will never abandon His children.
Rahab’s story is found in Joshua 2 and 6:22-25. Her name is mentioned in Jesus’ ancestry in Matthew 1:5. Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute who risked everything to protect her family. Rahab saved the lives of the Israelite spies and in return, she asked them to spare the lives of herself and her family. She obeyed the spies’ instructions and her family survived the attack at Jericho. God honored Rahab’s faith and obedience by changing her from a prostitute to the wife of the Israelite, Salmon, through which she became an ancestor of Jesus. Rahab’s incredible faith is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25. Her life is a living testament that God can use anyone for His glory and that His redemption covers all sins. Women who have difficult pasts, including prostitution and abortion, can find love, forgiveness, and restoration in Christ.
Ruth’s story can be read in the book of Ruth. Her name is mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:5. Ruth was a Moabite widow who refused to abandon her mother-in-law, Naomi. Instead, Ruth resolved to follow Naomi back to her home in Israel. Ruth obeyed Naomi’s instructions to redeem her late husband’s family lineage and inheritance by her marriage to a close relative of Naomi’s named Boaz. Ruth and Boaz had a son, Obed, who was King David’s grandfather. Though she was dealing with the tragic loss of her first husband and trying to adjust to a new country, Ruth still chose to obey and God honored her by making her a part of Jesus’ lineage. She is also one of the two women in the Bible who had a book named after her. God can use our tragedies if we let Him. Many women today face unplanned pregnancies and/or parenting alone, whether due to the loss of a loved one or some other reason. Through Christ there is found comfort and healing. The pain of loss or loneliness can be overcome by Christ’s love. He turns sorrow into joy (John 16:20).
Bathsheba’s story is in 2 Samuel 11 & 12. Her name is mentioned in Matthew 1:6 as “her that had been the wife of Urias”. King David’s sexual sin with Bathsheba resulted in her conceiving. Ultimately, this unplanned pregnancy led to King David ordering the murder of her husband, Uriah. The Bible does not tell us the extent of Bathsheba’s participation in this sin and murder. She may have been King David’s co-conspirator or she may have been a victim as King David did misuse his position of power to sleep with her. According to 2 Samuel 11:4, King David “sent messengers and took her”. In that time period, Bathsheba would not have had the right to refuse the king. After Uriah’s murder, King David sent for Bathsheba and she became his wife. Their firstborn child died as a result of King David’s sin. But God recognized King David’s repentant heart and fully forgave him. King David and Bathsheba’s second child was King Solomon who was world renowned for his wisdom. Even though immoral and murderous sins were committed, God forgave and the Messiah’s lineage lived on through King Solomon. Many women today are living with the consequences of sexual sins whether consensual or by assault. Those who commit crimes against women should always be held accountable. However, if a pregnancy occurs because of sexual abuse or sin, the baby should never be held responsible. Children are innocent of the sins of their parents and they are a blessing regardless of the circumstances of their conception. Abortion is punishing a child for his/her parent’s sins and adds pain and guilt to already painful situations. Jesus’ love and forgiveness covers all sins. He can bring beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
Perhaps the most well known of the 5 women, Mary’s story is in Matthew 1 & 2 and also in Luke 1 & 2. Her name is mentioned in Jesus’ lineage through Joseph in Matthew 1:16 and Jesus’ lineage through Mary’s side is in Luke 3:23-28. As a virgin, Mary faced being shunned and stoned for being pregnant before her marriage to Joseph. When the angel Gabriel told Mary about God’s plans for her in becoming the mother of His son, she understood the danger, isolation, and loneliness she faced. Knowing all this, she still obeyed telling Gabriel “Behold the handmaid of the Lord…” (Luke 1:38). God blessed Mary for her obedience and the Bible tells us that she received support from Joseph and from her cousin, Elizabeth. During the time, Elizabeth was also pregnant with her first child and her preborn baby leapt for joy when he heard the voice of Mary. Elizabeth expressed this joy to Mary by blessing her. Mary responded saying “My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47). Both women were filled with rejoicing over their miraculous, unplanned pregnancies. Mary’s story also shows us the beauty of adoption or fostering. Joseph supported Mary and willingly took on the responsibility of being Jesus’ earthly father even though Jesus was not his biological child. Every baby is a gift from God created in His image but not all pregnancies will be joyful, planned, or healthy. Some pregnancies will include health difficulties. Some pregnancies occur due to rape. Some pregnancies cause stress of additional financial responsibility. No matter the circumstances, God is omnipresent. He will provide the grace and strength needed for each situation.
Regardless of what is occurring in a woman’s life, God is faithful. There is nothing too big or too small for Him. Additionally, there are pregnancy centers, ministries, and individuals who are standing by ready to assist women and families by providing support, counseling, encouragement, kindness, and to witness of Christ’s love. Our hope at Life Light Pregnancy Help Center is that the light of Christ will shine through us and that our clients will come to embrace the sacredness of life. Every baby, regardless of how they were conceived, is a gift deserving of life and dignity. God can use anything and everything for good and in His time all things are made beautiful (Romans 8:28, Ecclesiastes 3:11).