In the midweek Bible study we attend we got to Luke Chapter 3 this week, the genealogy of Jesus on His mother's side. Yes, it is Mary's family line. Joseph's line is in Matthew Chapter 1.
The genealogy in Luke goes all the way back to Adam, showing that Jesus is truly the Son of Man. He was qualified as a man to be the sin bearer, the perfect sacrifice for all mankind. And incidentally, this genealogy verifies that Adam was a real man and indeed the first man.
The genealogy in Matthew goes back as far as Abraham, showing that the Lord Jesus was qualified as a Hebrew, through the kingly line of David, to be the Messiah.
The genealogies are compressed, but they are accurate. Mary's family tree in Luke starts with her husband Joseph, so some think it is Joseph's genealogy, but his is in Matthew 1, and it is different. So why does the Luke account start with Joseph and not Mary? This shows us:
- That Joseph was not Jesus' biological father, but that Jesus 'as was supposed son of Joseph'. The Holy Spirit formed Jesus in Mary's womb. There was a human egg involved, but no human sperm. Jesus was the 'seed of the woman' prophesied in Genesis 3:15.
- That Joseph was adopted as son by Mary's father Heli, because Mary had no brothers. We know from Matthew 1 that Jacob was Joseph's biological father, not Heli. So Heli was Mary's father, and obviously Heli had adopted Joseph as son because Mary had no brothers. This goes back to the time of Moses, when the daughters of Zelophahad came and asked for an inheritance, since there were no boys in the family to inherit. Moses consulted God, and was told to give the girls an inheritance (Numbers 27), but they had to marry within the same tribe so that the tribe did not lose land to one of the other 12 tribes (Numbers 36). So Mary had an inheritance (not much, because they were poor), and she married within her tribe, the tribe of Judah.
The two genealogies, Mary's line and Joseph's line, both go back to King David, and Messiah had to be of David's line. But they split at that point. Joseph's line comes through David's son, King Solomon. Mary's line goes through David's older son Nathan.
This too is essential, because Solomon's line included King Jehoiakim and his son Jeconiah or Coniah, on whom God pronounced a curse - that no one descended from him would inherit the throne of Israel (Jer 22:30, 1 Chron 3:17)). So Joseph, although in the kingly line of David, could never have inherited the throne of Israel. Mary was NOT from the cursed line, but from Nathan's line, so her descendents could inherit the throne.
This sounds complicated, but is not that hard to grasp. It means that the Lord Jesus had the legal right to the throne because he was the adopted son of Joseph, in the kingly line of David; and He had the absolute right through David's son Nathan, whose line was NOT cursed. Whew! Hope that is clear.
What an illustrious family tree our Lord had! And yet, by the time Jesus was born, how poor and lowly! How like our Savior to identify with us as humble and poor. Solomon must have been about the richest man who ever lived, but Jesus, His descendent, ....born in poverty, laid in a manger. How can we fail to love Him? How can we not want to be one of His people? To think He gives us the opportunity to be grafted in to His great family tree! It is stupendous!
A good prayer: 'Lord! Please! Graft me into Your family tree! Make me belong to You! Write my name down in Heaven! I believe in You, I put my trust in You; please forgive all my horrible sins and make me one of Your people!'