I’m continuing my meditations on the weakness of God. Today I’m looking at the “weakness” of women.
Matthew introduces Jesus to his readers by doing a very Jewish thing, he recounts Jesus’ genealogy.
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah… Matthew 1:1-3
The Dark Side of Jesus’ Family Tree
Most people skip over this section. It’s like, blah, blah, blah, yada yada yada. Who cares? But if you look at the full list you’ll find some interesting names. First, there are some evil people in Jesus’ family tree: Ahaz and Manasseh. They were the most ungodly, ruthless, evil kings ever.
Where Did These Women Come From?
But there are four other names that are stand-outs, if you keep reading through the list. This genealogy lists the men in Jesus’ family tree on his father’s side. But surprisingly, Matthew mentions the name of four women: Tamar, Ruth, Rahab and, “Uriah’s wife” which is Bathsheba.
Why would Matthew mention these women in a list of men? The reason I ask is because women in ancient times were seen as weak. In some cases it was worse than that. Women were seen as worthless. I think Matthew mentions these women because he spent three years following Jesus, watching Jesus interact with women, valuing women by listening to them, and including them.
Women in the Ministry of Jesus
Jesus turned common knowledge upside down and valued the weakest people in that culture. In fact, if you keep reading in Matthew or Luke, it’s women who dominate the Christmas story. The birth of Jesus focuses on Mary and Elizabeth and even a prophetess by the name of Anna.
Keep reading about the ministry of Jesus, and again he’s surrounded by women. At his death it’s women who are there with him. And when he is resurrected it is women who are entrusted with telling the good news to others. Throughout history, women have filled churches more often than men. Why? Because, while the world often treats women as weak or worthless, Jesus treated women with dignity and full equality to men. He wasn’t afraid to associate with the “weakness” of women.
The Scandal of Associating with Weakness
The four women in Jesus’ genealogy all had a fairly scandalous story:
- Tamar: She tricked her father-in-law into having sex with him so she could have a child.
- Ruth: was from Moab, a nation that came from Moab who was the product of incest.
- Rahab: was a Canaanite prostitute.
- Bathsheba: committed adultery with King David.
You thought your family was messy. You’ve got nothing on Jesus. But this is how Jesus and we are different. Jesus wasn’t afraid to claim the dark side of his family tree. He wears these weaknesses like a badge of honor…not because of the sin involved in each story but because of what God did through these women in spite of their sin.
Is it Weakness or An Opportunity for God?
Jesus looks at you the same way. There’s nothing you’ve done that will make Jesus turn his back on you. What you call weakness, Jesus calls opportunity.
Jesus redefines weakness. In Christ there is no weakness. That’s a social construct that we’ve created. That’s a term, or a concept, that we’ve coined based on comparing ourselves to others. For God… weakness is a stage for him to reveal his greatness. It’s a launching pad for God to do something special.
Redefining the Weakness of God
The weakness of God doesn’t mean that God is inept: unable to accomplish something. The weakness of God means that God comes in unexpected ways…in ways that humans often call weak. That’s why we have to be so careful to see what God is doing and not discount the weak thing.
Question: How does it feel to know that Jesus claims you in spite of your weakness?
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