…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
– Matthew 1:16
In the world’s eyes, Jesus is the illegitimate child of an unwed, teenage mother. Mary and Joseph are from Nazareth, a backwater town. They are poor and very likely uneducated. The names of Jesus’s ancestors from Joseph to several generations prior include no one of any particular importance.
This is unexpected. One would expect the King of Glory to have a royal lineage. Another surprise in Jesus’s lineage is the inclusion of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of Uriah. What do these people have in common?
They are all women? Sure, they are all women but other Old Testament genealogies include women. They are all sinners? Sure, but there are certainly plenty of other sinners in the genealogy.
The thing that is completely unexpected, especially for a Jewish Messiah, is that all four are Gentiles. Tamar and Rahab are Canaanites. Ruth is a Moabite. Bathsheba is the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
In verse one, Matthew calls Jesus the “son of Abraham.” When God spoke to Abraham, His promise was that through Abraham “all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
When Jesus is born into the world, He is the son of Mary whose ancestors are Gentiles (people traditionally believed to be cut off from God). This Jesus is not only the Messiah of Israel or the Christ of Western culture, but the Savior of the world!