Saturday, July 2, 2022

Jesus' Family Tree - Luke 3:23-38 - July 3, 2022

 Luke 3.23-38 Jesus’ Family Tree

Good morning! Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke 3.23-38, page 859 in the pew Bibles.

Though we are going to study a passage from the Gospel of Luke this morning I want to quickly remind you of the words of Paul from 2 Timothy 3.16-17 first. 

After we read from Luke it will be clear why.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable, ALL Scripture…

23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, 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 Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, 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 Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, 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 Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Let’s pray.

All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable, ALL Scripture…

JJ van Oosterzee wrote, “This remarkable genealogical tree stands forth, a unique memorial of the faith and expectation of the Old Testament saints. To our imaginations, its boughs and branches had been vocal for centuries with the words: ‘Oh that Thou would’st rend the heavens,’ while tears of thankfulness and ecstasy water its root, and these names, which brighten, like stars of heaven, the history of Israel, seem moistened with the dew-drops of joy and ardent desire. Oh, not one single word of Holy Scripture was written in vain!” 

This is one of two recorded genealogies of Jesus, the other is in Matthew chapter 1. If you’re anything like me, when you come to passages like this you shift into speed read mode and coast over all these names or even skip these passages all together.

I know that’s true because nobody here has ever asked me about the differences between Luke’s genealogy of Jesus and Matthew’s. I can prove that it’s true of me because until this week I didn’t know there was a difference other than where they started and how far back they traced Jesus’ lineage.

Matthew begins with Abraham and draws the line all the way forward to Jesus through Joseph, while Luke starts with Jesus and goes backwards past Abraham and all the way to Adam.

There is a reason for this.

I want to point you to Matthew 1.16 and contrast that to Luke 3.23 and talk about the differences.

Matthew 1.16 …Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

Luke 3.23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as it was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli…

Matthew says that Joseph’s father’s name was Jacob, Luke says Heli. That’s not the only difference, half of the names are different, the number of names is different, the gender of some of the names is different as well. There has been significant debate about his over the centuries, scoffers even point to this as a contradiction in the Bible. But is it?

Some scholars say that lots of people had two names and that Matthew recorded one name and Luke recorded the other, at least some of the names. Some scholars suggest that Matthew recorded Jesus’ legal line back to king David and on through to Abraham as it would include brothers bearing sons for brother who had died or the line of the king going through nephews if a particular king didn’t have any sons… It gets really complicated. 

The suggestion is that Matthew has the legal line but Luke has the actual line. Matthew skipped over some names as they would be assumed by those who knew their history and to fit within his three sets of fourteen generations.

The truth of the matter is that these explanations are far too complicated to be the truth. 

One of the other marked differences between Matthew’s account and Luke’s is that Matthew included women’s names in his genealogy but Luke didn’t. I think that this is the difference that matters.

Matthew records a synopsis of the legal lineage of Jesus through Joseph back to David and to Abraham to establish that Jesus was indeed the Son of David the king as well as the Seed of Abraham.

Luke, however, parenthetically mentions Joseph but actually traces Jesus’ lineage through Mary. Heli was Mary’s father not Joseph’s. 

Being immaculately conceived by the Holy Spirit meant that He is the Son of God on His Father’s side and Luke’s record shows that He is the Son of God on His mother’s side as well. 

He is the eternal Son of God by human descent and by omnipotent act.

Another important connection here is to Adam, the first Adam.

Romans 5.12-19 says,

…just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous…

Adam was a type of the One to come, that’s Jesus, but where Adam failed Jesus triumphed. By the first Adam’s sin we were made sinners but by the Second Adam’s obedience, through faith in Him, we are made righteous.

1 Corinthians 15.42-49 says,

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam [that’s Jesus] became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Mankind has always borne the image of Adam, in our humanity and in our sin, but through faith in Jesus Christ all our sin is washed away so we can bear His image in His righteousness.

This genealogy serves as far more than just a historical record of Jesus’ connection to David and Judah, and Jacob and Isaac and Abraham and Adam, though it is that and that’s important. 

This genealogy points to the faithfulness of God to do what He promised, to be the Root and the Branch of David, and it also points to the humility of Jesus as the Son of God through Mary. This is her genealogy and she isn’t even listed. 

The miraculous begotten Son of Mary suffers Himself to be supposed the Son of Joseph. Jesus would have to endure the questions like, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s Son?” and, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11

Jesus is the eternally existent Son of God and the miraculously conceived Son of Man, fully God and fully man, the only One who could take the sin of the world upon Himself, though He was without sin, and pay sin’s eternal penalty, that the free gift of forgiveness and salvation and adoption by God could be ours through faith in Him.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!