Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar . . . Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, . . . David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife, . . . and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.Matthew 1:3, 5, 6, 16 NIV
Genealogies in the Bible are filled with the names of men. And seldom are women included. But in Jesus’ genealogical record as recorded in Matthew we find five women. Now, you might think that if you were going to include women in the record that you would see Sarah, Rebecca, or Leah, the wives of the first three men in the list. But they are missing. Instead we find five scandalous women: Tamar, whose affair with her father-in-law was scandalous; Rahab, the prostitute/innkeeper from Jericho; Ruth, a virtuous foreigner; Bathsheba, the love interest of two men; and Mary, a young unwed mother.
So, why did Matthew include these women? But not the wives of the Patriarchs, women who would have been less controversial? I believe that it is no accident that they are included. And while Matthew does not tell us why he includes them, it may a foreshadowing of Jesus ministry; that he came to call all people to himself, the good, the bad and the ugly. God does not care about your past. He is more interested in what you can become. Jesus is not ashamed of his ancestry, nor is he ashamed of those who come to him (Heb 2:11), regardless of their past.