Today we conclude our consideration of the stories behind the female names in Matthew's genealogy of Christ. So far in this series we have considered Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba, each with her particular baggage of brokenness.
Mary – Broken Heart
Let's skip ahead once more, about a thousand years this time, and we come to the last portrait in the gallery, and the last woman. Mary the mother of Jesus is probably the most familiar of the list to you, but let’s sum up her story anyway.
The angel Gabriel appears to a small-town girl, probably in her teens. As if that were not astonishing enough, the angel tells her she is going to be the mother of God’s Son. The catch? She has never been married or slept with a man. Theologically, this “virgin birth” ensures that the baby is God’s Child, holy and without sin. Humanly, it puts Mary and her family at the center of the town gossip for years to come. Even her fiancé Joseph believes she has been immoral until an angel in a dream tells him otherwise. Thus, the first cost of the honor of bearing the Christ in her womb was the loss of her reputation before people.
Forty days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph take him to Jerusalem to offer a required sacrifice for her purification after childbirth. While there, the aged prophet Simeon recognizes the baby Jesus as the promised Deliverer of Israel. Among other things, he tells Mary that through this Child a sword would pierce her own soul. In fact, 33 years later, this surely came to pass as she watched Jesus beaten, scourged, put to death on the cross, and even pierced through the heart to prove that He had died.
Mary, then, while “blessed among women,” was also thoroughly broken, first in reputation enduring the shame of an unwed pregnancy, and ultimately in heart as she watched her beloved Son, God’s Son, suffer and die in agony. Her brokenness, however, has borne the fruit of blessing to all those who have since put their trust in the Son she bore and raised to adulthood.
Do you identify with Mary? Have you been broken by false criticism, gossip, rumors? Has your heart been broken by one you love dearly or even the loss of a child? God wants to touch you in the place of your brokenness and transform that into blessings for others; I pray that you would find the comfort only He can give today.
If you share Mary's wounds, the Scriptures have encouragement for you, too, from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
Have we answered our question, then? What unites these women and would make Matthew want to include them in Jesus’ family gallery? Feel free to add other suggestions in the comments, but the primary commonality I notice is their experiences of profound brokenness in one way or another and God’s blessing come out of that sorrow or sin.
To recap, Tamar faced broken promises. . .
Rahab had a broken past. . .
Ruth had broken dreams. . .
Bathsheba a broken marriage. . .
And Mary both a broken reputation and a broken heart.
Matthew mentions these women to prepare the way for Jesus, whose very name means “The Lord shall save.” He didn’t come and die for the whole people, for the people who had it all together. He came for the broken people. God became man in the person of Jesus so that He could enter into the brokenness we face because of sin. He died on the cross and rose again so that through His brokenness on our behalf, we could be made whole. In this life that is a slow process, but for those who put their trust in Jesus there is a day coming when God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes and sorrow and sighing – and brokenness – will flee away.
If you have already believed that Jesus died for you, rejoice!
If you have not yet done so and would like to, thank God for Jesus and for His death for you. Tell Him you want to turn away from your sins and receive Jesus as your Savior. Accept the life He offers you and offer yours in thanksgiving back to Him. Feel free to contact your local church, a Christian friend, or me if you have accepted the eternal life He offers today. Need Him Ministries also has Web and phone resources available for any with further questions about Jesus and why He died and rose again.