This is the first installment of a three-part Bible study about Jesus’ genealogy. It may not be your “cup of tea.” That’s fine. Enjoy your day!
Part 1 – The genealogy of Jesus, as recorded in the book of Luke: Luke’s record of our Lord’s genealogy follows the strict guidance of the Jewish custom for documenting a genealogy. As a reference, you can see this strict genealogical structure in Ezra 2:61. The aspects of this structure we need to notice are that no names are omitted and no females are included. In fact, The Talmud states, “A mother’s family is not to be called a family.” (Ouch!)
Luke’s genealogy is significantly different from Matthew’s record, which we will look at in Part 2 of this series.
Luke maintained the continuity of Christ’s genealogy from Jesus back to God. Also, the omission of the definite article “the” for Joseph followed the mechanism Jews used to include a woman within a genealogy. This mechanism was done by referencing the husband of the woman that they wanted in the genealogy. The Greek language indicated this by omitting the definite article “the” thereby telling the reader that the author was not referring to the husband but, rather, the wife.
Therefore, if we follow this grammatical method for indirectly referring to the wife instead of the husband, it seems that Luke’s record of the genealogy is the genealogy of the Mary, the mother of Jesus. Here’s why many believe this, myself included.
Luke 3: (Young’s Literal Translation) 23 And Jesus himself was beginning to be about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, son of Joseph, 24 the [son] of Eli, the [son] of Matthat, the [son] of Levi, the [son] of Melchi, the [son] of Janna, the [son] of Joseph,.. 37 the [son] of Methuselah, the [son] of Enoch, the [son] of Jared, the [son] of Mahalaleel, 38 the [son] of Cainan, the [son] of Enos, the [son] of Seth, the [son] of Adam, the [son] of God.
Notice that in the literal translation, Luke 3:23 does not say, “as was supposed, the son of Joseph” but, rather, “being, as was supposed, son of Joseph.” The literal translation does not ascribe the definite article “the” when relating Joseph to Christ’s genealogy listed in Luke. All the other names in Luke’s genealogy are referenced with this definite article, as can be seen in verse 24, the son of Eli, the son of Matthat, and so forth.
So, the genealogy of Jesus, recorded in Luke, fits perfectly with the first promise of the Messiah in the Bible, which is found in Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The Messiah comes from a woman, and therefore the Messiah’s mother should be in His genealogy.
One last but an essential observation regarding Christ’s genealogy in Luke is found in verse 31. Here, we see that Jesus descended not from King Solomon but King David’s son, Nathan. This divergence is a big deal, as we will see in Part 2 of this series.
The primary source, outside of the Bible, for these lessons was derived from https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/issues-v05-n06/the-genealogy-of-the-messiah/
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash