Typically when I get to long lists of names in the Bible I skim over them, but it's not wise to do so with the list of Jesus' lineage in Matthew 1. In fact, there are a few important things to notice about the lineage that have a fairly major impact on what it means to be a follower of Christ. And if you find yourself questioning whether or not this story of Jesus is real, this lineage is one more reason why you can believe. In a male-driven society, Matthew chose to include the names of five women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. None of these women should have been listed in a culture where women weren't valued enough to be put in family trees. However, each of these women has a unique story, and each story gives us a picture of who this Christ truly is. Tamar slept with her father-in-law, Rahab was a prostitute, Ruth was a foreigner, Bathsheba was part of an affair with King David, and Mary was pregnant as a virgin! And yet in each story, God used these women to accomplish His will. It's a tainted family tree, and I think these women are meant to remind us that God's grace comes to people who actually need it – sinful people. Jesus came to offer it so generously to us. The question is: will you receive it?