Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Scriptures (Ruth 4:18-22; 1 Chr. 1:1-14) Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38 (Focal Passage),

Luke 3:23-38 (Focal Passage)

 

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,
24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph,
25 the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,
26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah,
27 the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,
28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er,
29 the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim,
31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,
32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,
36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan,
38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Introduction  

Admittedly, most people find genealogies very boring.  I have read the Bible through several times, but to be honest I must admit that I sometimes skip the genealogies.  But it occurs to me that since the Spirit of God used so much ink to give them to us that there must be something in there that we need to know, and that makes them very important.

The New Testament rests upon the accuracy of the genealogies, because they establish the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ came from the line of Abraham and the line of David and from the tribe of Judah.  This is very important.

The genealogies were important to the nation of Israel, because with them they could determine if a person had a legitimate claim to membership in a particular tribe.  For example, when Israel returned from captivity, we find in the book of Ezra, “These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean” (Ezra 2:62).  It was possible for these people to check the register of the tribe of Levi, and when they did, they found out that some made false claims to family membership.

Evidentially, the government, probably in the temple kept these genealogies, and people had access to them.  They may have been available to the public until the temple was destroyed in 70 AD.  Now this is very interesting because the enemies of Jesus could have checked the records to see if Jesus came from the lines of David and Abraham and from the tribe of Judah, and they probably did check.  It is also interesting to note that the religious rulers challenged every move that Jesus made, even claiming that He cast out demons by the power of Satan, and offering substitutionary explanations for His resurrection, but they never once questioned His genealogy.  The reason must be that they checked it and found it to be accurate.  This is very important because it puts Jesus in a unique position and it supports what He said about Himself.  He said in John 10:1-2, “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.  The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.”  He said that the shepherd enters by the door, but a robber must enter some other way.  The “sheep pen” here is the nation Israel.  Jesus did not climb over the fence, come through the back door, or slip through a side window.  He came legally, through the gate.  He was born in the line of David and in the line of Abraham.  What Matthew is telling us is that He is the fulfillment of everything in the Old Testament.  They had to find some other way to discredit Him.

In Matthew, the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ is on Joseph’s side.  There is another genealogy in Luke and it is on Mary’s side.  In addition, there is a genealogy in the fifth chapter of Genesis.  In Genesis 5:1 it says, “This is the book of the Generations of Adam…..”  There are two books: The Book of the Generations of Adam and the book of the Generations of Jesus Christ.  How did you get into the book of Adam?  You were born into it.  You did not have to perform anything.  We got there by birth, but in Adam, we all die.  ([1]See Romans 5:12).  Adam’s book is a book of death.

There is another book, the book of the Generations of Jesus Christ.  You will find some very interesting people there and very few are good.  There are prostitutes and gentiles, kings and paupers, rich and poor.  His family tree was just like yours and mine, because there was “black sheep” listed along with the “good” people.  However, how did you get into that family and into that genealogy?  You got in it by birth, the new birth.  The Lord Jesus says in John 3:3, “…..I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  That puts us in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and we get there by trusting Christ.  We are all in the first book, the Generations of Adam.  I hope you are also in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Matthew 1:1 says, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Didn’t Matthew know that Abraham lived before David?  Of course, he did, and he lists it that way in the rest of the genealogy.  So why did he list David first in this verse?  He is presenting the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, the one who is the king, the one that is going to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and that comes first.  He must be in the line of David to fulfill the prophecies that God made to David.  He is the Son of David.

In Genesis 22:18 God promised Abraham, “and through your offspring all nations of the earth will be blessed…..”  And in Galatians 3:16 Paul explains who the offspring is, “The promises were not spoken to Abraham and to his seed (offspring), the scripture does not say ‘and to seeds’, meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed’, meaning one person, who is Christ.”  God called Abraham and promised to make him a blessing, through Jesus Christ, a descendent of Abraham.  Christ is the Savior that came from God.  The word “seed” refers specifically to Christ.  In John 8:56, Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”  So, Jesus Christ is the son of Abraham.

In Matthew, there is the genealogy of Joseph.  It begins with Abraham and comes down to the Lord Jesus through David and Solomon.  The legal title to the throne came through Joseph.

Luke’s genealogy is different, because it deals with Mary and is given in reverse order from Mathew’s.  Luke goes back to David and then to Adam.  The blood of David flows through Mary’s veins also, and Jesus’ blood title to the throne of David came through her.  In Luke 3:23, Luke’s genealogy begins by pointing out that Joseph was not the father of Jesus.  It says, “…..He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph.”  Joseph is listed here only because he is the head of the house.

Matthew traces the line of Christ through David’s son Solomon.  Luke traces the line of Christ through David’s son Nathan.  Mary had the blood of David in her veins.  Jesus Christ is the son of David.

In the little book of Ruth, there is a genealogy that makes this book very important.  ([2]See Ruth 4:18-22).  This genealogy is what connects the family of David with the tribe of Judah.  Without it, we would have no record of the connection.  Revelation 5:5 says, “Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep!  See the Lion of the tribe Judah, the root of David, has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’”  Judah was the Root of David and the genealogy in the little book of Ruth is so important, because it verifies the connection.

Read through the genealogies, after you have read the Old Testament.  Then the names will have more meaning to you.  I wonder how some of those scoundrels and reprobates ever got into the line of Christ.  We do not have anything to say about who our ancestors were, but God controlled the line of Christ beginning with Adam and right through to Joseph.  I do not know why God chose some of the people He did, but perhaps the answer can be found in 1 Corinthians.  In chapter 1, beginning in verse 26, it says, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called, not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong, He chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one can boast before Him."” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

                                                                                                    

Genealogy of Jesus Christ

 

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli.

Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age. At the time when Jesus began His public ministry, He was about thirty years old. Joseph was the same age when he stood before Pharaoh ([3]Gen. 41:46), David began to reign ([4]2 Sam. 5:4) at thirty, and this was also the age when the priests began to fully execute their office ([5]Num. 4:3). Some Bible scholars believe that it is clear from the expression “about thirty” that He was twenty-nine years old and about to be thirty. After that, He lived three and a half years, and died when he was thirty-two and a half years old.

Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli. Before taking up the public ministry of our Lord, Luke pauses to give His genealogy. (See Chart #1-Genealogy of Jesus). If Jesus is truly human, then He must be descended from Adam. This genealogy demonstrates that He was. It is widely believed that this gives the genealogy of Jesus through the line of Mary. Note that verse 23 does not say that Jesus was the son of Joseph, but “(as was supposed) the son of Joseph.” If this view is correct, then Heli was the father-in-law of Joseph and the father of Mary.

Scholars widely believe that Luke’s genealogy is the Lord’s genealogy through Mary for the following reasons:

1.      The most obvious is that Joseph’s family line is traced in Matthew’s Gospel (1:2–16).

2.      In the early chapters of Luke’s Gospel, Mary is more prominent than Joseph, whereas it is the reverse in Matthew.

3.      Women’s names were not commonly used among the Jews as genealogical links. This would account for the omission of Mary’s name.

4.      In Matthew 1:16, it distinctly states that Jacob begot Joseph. Here in Luke, it does not say that Heli begot Joseph; it says Joseph was the son of Heli. Son may mean son-in-law.

5.      It was unusual to pay attention to the genealogy of a woman, which shows Dr. Luke’s concern for neglected people.

Although it is not necessary to examine the genealogy in detail, it is helpful to note several important points:

1.      This list shows that Mary was descended from David through his son Nathan (v. 31). In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus inherited the legal right to the throne of David through Solomon. As the legal Son of Joseph, the Lord fulfilled that part of God’s covenant with David, which promised him that his throne would continue forever. But Jesus could not have been the real son of Joseph without coming under God’s curse on Jechoniah, which decreed that no descendant of that wicked king would prosper ([6]Jer. 22:30). As the real Son of Mary, Jesus fulfilled that part of the covenant of God with David, which promised him that his seed would sit upon his throne forever. And by being descended from David through Nathan, He did not come under the curse, which was pronounced, on Jechoniah.

2.      Adam is described as the son of God (v. 38). This means simply that he was created by God.

3.      It seems obvious that the Messianic line ended with the Lord Jesus. No one else can ever present a valid legal claim to the throne of David.

4.      Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, though that was what people assumed ([7]John 1:45; 6:42).

Matthew, in his genealogy, goes no higher than Abraham, but Luke brings it as high as Adam. Matthew desired to show that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and that he was heir to the throne of David; and therefore he begins with Abraham, and brings the genealogy down to Jacob, who was the father of Joseph, and male-heir of the house of David. But Luke, wanting to show that Christ was the seed of the woman, that should break the serpent’s head, traces his pedigree upward as high as Adam, and begins it with Ei, or Heli, who was the father of the Virgin Mary, not of Joseph. The difference between the two evangelists in the genealogy of Christ has been a stumbling-block to non-Christians and some Christians that quibble over the Bible. Matthew draws the pedigree from Solomon, whose natural line ends with Jechonias. At that point, the legal right the throne of David was transferred to Salathiel, who was of the house of Nathan, another son of David. It is this line, which Luke pursues here, and so, he leaves out all the kings of Judah. I am so glad that our salvation does not depend upon our being able to solve all these difficulties, and that the divine authority of the gospels is not weakened by them. The reason that I can say this is because the evangelists are not supposed to write these genealogies either from their own knowledge or by divine inspiration, but to have copied them out of the authentic records of the genealogies among the Jews. The genealogies were kept in the Temple where they were available to the people.

Genealogies are important, because they are history, and both Gentile history and Jewish history are in the hands of almighty God, fulfilling His purposes.

Verses 24-38

24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph,… 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
25 the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,
26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah,
27 the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,
28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er,
29 the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim,
31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,
32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,

35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,
36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,

37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan,
38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

The genealogy concludes with this, “the son of Adam, the son of God.”

1.      Some suggest this refers to Adam; he was in a peculiar manner the son of God, being, more than any of his offspring, the offspring of God by creation.

2.      Others refer it to Christ, and so they make the last words of this genealogy communicate his divine and human nature. He was both the Son of Adam and the Son of God that he might be a proper Mediator between God and the sons of Adam, and might bring the sons of Adam, through him, to become the sons of God. 

 

Summary

Luke reminded his readers that the Son of God was also the Son of man. He was born into this world and identified with the needs and problems of mankind. And since Joseph and Mary were both in David’s line, these genealogies prove that Jesus of Nazareth has the legal right to David’s throne.

Both Matthew and Luke present genealogies of Jesus (Matt. 1:1–17; Luke 3:23–38), though with some differences. Matthew traces Jesus’ lineage back to Abraham while Luke traces His lineage back to Adam. There are also certain differences in the names; these differences may be explained by what each writer wanted to portray. Both Joseph and Mary were descended from David by different branches of the family. Thus, it may be that Matthew gives Joseph’s descent, which is the legal descent of Jesus, while Luke gives Mary’s descent, which is the actual connection of Jesus with the race that He came to save.


[1] (Rom. 5:12).  Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. [1]

[2] (Ruth 4:18-22) Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.”[2]

[3] (Gen. 41:46)  Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.” [3]

[4] (2 Sam. 5:4) David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.”[4]

[5] (Num. 4:3)From thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tabernacle of meeting.[5]

[6] (Jer. 22:30) Thus says the Lord: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’ ” [6]

[7] (John 1:45; 6:42). “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” : “And they said,“Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”[7]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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