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The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

The genealogy of Jesus is recorded in Matthew chapter one and in Luke chapter three. If you read them carefully you will note that they are different. Why is this so? you might be wondering.

Matthew records the line of Jesus' supposed father, Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Luke records the lineage of Mary.

It was prophesied, many times, that the Anointed One would be of the line of King David. Lineage is reckoned from the male line, and so Joseph was a male descendant of King David. I view the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew as the legal genealogy, that is, as it was thought that Jesus was the son of Joseph, people would have accepted that he was of the house of David. This being true, Jesus could be the coming Messiah, which of course he was and is. It is a mercy that Joseph descended from King David. I say this because had Mary been the wife of one of the tribe of Levi, say, then it would have been harder for the people to accept Jesus as the Son of David, which he still would have been, because Mary was also of the line of David.

Matthew 1:15-16

Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (NIV84)

We see from this passage that Joseph was the son of Jacob, and if we follow it back we get to David. Now I want to look at the same section from Luke.

Luke 3:23

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, (NIV84)

Now when we read this very carefully we see that it does not say that Joseph was the son of Heli, but that Jesus was, and that through his mother. Heli was Mary's father, and therefore, Jesus was his son through his flesh. In Luke we see the physical lineage of Jesus Christ through his mother.

The Bible is a very subtle book. The wording is very important. Little things that are said, or not said can be vitally important to understanding the meaning of a given passage. When we read the Scriptures we must be constantly on the alert for anything that is unusual. People have told me that the differences in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew and Luke prove that the Bible is inaccurate. If a person judges the Bible's accuracy by their understanding of it, well that person will always deem it inaccurate.

I had one guy write to me an email with literally hundreds of "inaccuracies" from the Bible. This genealogy being one of them. He did not understand that the differences between the Gospels are not inaccuracies between them, but usually a depth of information. To understand a matter more fully we look at what each Gospel says and try to see the fullness of the matter. When you read the Bible you must be looking for what is, and not for what is not. If you believe the Bible to be inaccurate and so read it looking for the inaccuracies, you will find any number of things that look to be errors. However, if you read the Bible in faith, the Lord will open your spiritual eyes and ears and you will find wonderment within.

To the casual reader these two genealogies might seem boring. It might look as though they are a waste of words. I mean who really cares who is the father of who? right? Ah, but when I look at them carefully I am amazed at the things that I see in them. I am sure that there is far more than what I see, but I will share with you some of what I do see.

Matthew 1:1-3

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, (NIV84)

The first thing that we see is the fact that Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. This is telling us that covenant went from one man Abraham, to one man Isaac, to one man Jacob, and then fans out to include all twelve tribes. While this is not an earth shattering revelation, I still find it interesting.

Now, why do you think Tamar is mentioned? I mean, Sarah, Abraham's wife is not mentioned. I believe that it is significant that Tamar is mentioned. You can read Tamar's story in Genesis 38:6-30.

Tamar's story is an unusual story. She married Judah's eldest son, Er, but Er was wicked in God's sight so God put him to death. Onan, Judah's second eldest son, was told by Judah to take Tamar as his wife and produce children for his dead brother, Er. Onan was unwilling to father children that would not be considered his, and because of this God put him to death also.

Judah was afraid that if he gave Tamar to his youngest son, Shelah, that he too would die, so he told her to go back to her fathers house and live as a widow until Shelah grew up.

A long time later, when Shelah had grown up, Tamar saw that she had not been given to Shelah, so she put on a disguise and pretended to be a prostitute at a place that she knew that Judah would pass by. Judah, thinking that she was a prostitute gave her his seal and his staff as a pledge for a payment of a young goat for the use of her as a prostitute. Tamar hid the seal and staff away and continued to live in her father's house. Sometime later Tamar was discovered to be with child and she was condemned to death for her prostitution. She then produced the seal and staff and declared that she was pregnant by the owner of them. Judah then said: She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn't give her to my son Shelah." And he did not sleep with her again. Genesis 38:26 (NIV84)

It was because of her righteousness that she brought forth children for her dead husband, to carry on his line, and it was because of her righteousness that she is included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Her act was a righteous act of faith.

Matthew 1:4-6

Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David. (NIV84)

Again we see two women mentioned. Rahab had been a prostitute in the city of Jericho before its destruction. Because of her faith she and her household were the only people of Jericho that survived its destruction. It doesn't matter what we were before we came to the Lord. Rahab's inclusion in this genealogy tells us that through faith we are considered righteous.

Ruth, the woman of the book of Ruth, is another testimony of the fate of those that would rather die doing the right thing in the camp of God's people. Because of her faith in God, and her love for her mother-in-law, she left the land of her birth to live with nothing in the land of Israel.

Matthew 1:6

...and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife, (NIV84)

This one is interesting for what it does not say. What is the name of the mother of Solomon? I mean, why does the Bible mention her here and not tell us her name. There is a reason for everything in the Bible. What I am saying is that the passage could simply have said Solomon, and stop right there, but the Lord wants you to see something in this.

Solomon's mother's name was Bathsheba. King David, Solomon's father, committed adultery with Bathsheba, and this act resulted in pregnancy. In order to cover up his sin, King David had Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite, murdered. Now this Uriah was one of David's thirty-seven chief men. He was a man of faith. Because of his faith his name is included in the genealogy, and because of Bathsheba's lack of faith her name is not included.

The last thing that I see in the genealogy of Jesus that is interesting is found in Luke.

Luke 3:38

...the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (NIV84)

It struck me one day while reading this that Adam is as much a son of God as Seth is a son of Adam. I knew that the Scriptures say that we are sons of God, but it didn't really sink in until I saw what this passage was saying.

This article concerning the genealogy of Jesus Christ has no real important revelations, but I just wanted to show how little interesting facts are hidden everywhere in the Bible. Finding and understanding these small things does a lot to improving our over all understanding of our Lord. What he has mentioned and what he has not mentioned are all very important. It should be our aim, when reading the Bible, to know the intimate details of the Lord.

 

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