The Lineage of Jesus

Text: Hebrews 7:1-17


I.         Those who refuse to believe the truth of the Bible often seek ways to discredit its statements.

            A.        One objection is the statement that Jesus was of the tribe of Judah - Hebrews 7:13-14

            B.        The argument is that since Jesus had no earthly father, then he did not have tribal identity that was normally figured through the male lineage.

            C.        It is true that Jesus was not literally from the body of Joseph, yet:

                        1.         He was still the carpenter’s son - Matthew 13:55

                        2.         It was the father’s right to name his son (Luke 1:62-63), which Joseph did for Jesus - Matthew 1:24-25

                        3.         Mary refers to Joseph as Jesus’ father - Luke 2:48

            D.        How can this be? Because Jesus was Joseph’s adopted son.

                        1.         Look closely at the wording in Matthew 1:16

                        2.         It does not say that Joseph begat Jesus

                        3.         Joseph married Mary to whom Jesus was born.

II.        Those who wish to cast doubt on the accuracy of the Bible will sometimes appeal to the differences between the lineages recorded in Matthew and the one recorded in Luke.

            A.        The two lines are different, but that is because they serve different purposes.

            B.        They are aimed to prove different things.

                        1.         Matthew’s lineage goes through Joseph. Its purpose is to establish Jesus’ legal right to the throne of David. An adopted son still holds legal rights.

                        2.         Luke’s lineage goes through Mary. Its purpose is to prove the humanity of Jesus, showing that he is a descendant of Adam.

            C.        Matthew’s account highlights two major characters from Israel’s history

                        1.         Jesus was a son of Abraham.

                                    a.         He was a Jew and a part of the covenant made with Abraham and his descendants.

                                    b.         Abraham’s seed would both possess the gate of his enemies and be the blessing for all the nations of the earth - Genesis 22:15-18; Galatians 3:16

                        2.         Jesus was a son of David

                                    a.         He was in line for the throne of David.

                                    b.         To David was the promise that his lineage would remain on the throne - II Samuel 7:12; Psalms 89:3-4; Jeremiah 23:5

                        3.         It was important to note that Jesus was in the position to fulfill both of these promises.

            D.        In the tracing of the lineage, Matthew follows the line of the blessing – the right to the headship of the family. We don’t always go from father to eldest son, such as Jacob to Judah.

                        1.         Judah is Jacob’s fourth son, but he was given the blessing - Genesis 49:10

                                    a.         Reuben was skipped because he laid with his father’s concubine - Genesis 49:4

                                    b.         Simeon and Levi were skipped because of their violence and uncontrolled anger - Genesis 49:5-7

                        2.         This also explains two missing people

                                    a.         Admin

                                                (1)       Matthew 1:5 - Ram - Amminadab (Note Ruth 4:19-20 and I Chronicles 2:10 are the same.)

                                                (2)       Luke 3:33 - Ram - Admin - Amminadab

                                    b.         Pedaiah

                                                (1)       Matthew 1:12 - Shealtiel - Zerubbabel

                                                (2)       I Chronicles 3:17-19 - Shealtiel - Pedaiah - Zerubbabel

                                    c.         The simplest explanation is that these two men died before their father and so the blessing went straight to the grandson.

                        3.         Another gap is found in Matthew 1:8 between Joram and Uzziah

                                    a.         I Chronicles 3:11-12 lists three additional names: Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah

                                    b.         Some think Matthew was trying to keep his memory aid of fourteen in each period.

                                    c.         But most note that Joram married Athaliah, the evil daughter of the evil king Ahab - II Kings 8:16-18, 26-27

                                                (1)       Note that Ahaziah was just as evil as Ahab because of his mother’s influence. He died in the purge of Ahab’s house by Jehu.

                                                (2)       His mother then made herself queen, destroying all but one infant - II Kings 11:1-3

                                                (3)       Joash (or Jehoash) became king at the age of seven and did well while his regent, Jehoiada the priest, lived; but he turned evil at his death. He was assassinated.

                                                (4)       His son Amaziah became king at 25 for 29 years. He was basically good, but had many failings, one of which lead to his assassination. - II Kings 14:19-21

                                    d.         Some suppose that the blessing skipped over these three generations - Exodus 20:4-5

                        4.         It should be noted that the skipped people does not make Matthew’s genealogy wrong.

                                    a.         The terms used allow for a descendant.

                                    b.         Also, since Matthew emphasized three sets of fourteen, he may have kept to the highlights to make memorization easier.

            E.        Luke’s genealogy follows Jesus fleshly lineage

                        1.         Though it starts with Joseph, Joseph here stands in for Mary, his wife.

                                    a.         Luke uses the older style of only naming the men

                                    b.         We know it is not Joseph’s lineage because it doesn’t follow the succession of kings.

                                    c.         A son-in-law can be referred to as a son - I Samuel 24:16

                        2.         Additional evidence

                                    a.         Matthew’s accompanying birth narrative is told from Joseph’s point of view - Matthew 1:18-25

                                    b.         Luke’s birth narrative is told from Mary’s point of view - Luke 1:26-56

                                    c.         Every name in Luke’s genealogy is preceded by the article “the” in the Greek, except for Joseph, indicating that Joseph wasn’t fully in this genealogy.

                                    d.         The “as was supposed” could include Joseph in the parenthetical phrase, making the genealogy start with his grandfather as the first male in his lineage.

                        3.         The lineage goes all the way back to Adam.

                        4.         It is in finer detail than Matthew’s showing that the exact lineage was important.

                        5.         Luke’s genealogy is important because the Messiah was promised to descend literally from Abraham - Genesis 22:18

                        6.         The Messiah would physically descend from David - Psalm 132:10-11

III.       The two lineages also show the solution to another problem

            A.        The last king of Israel to sit on the throne of David, Jeconiah, was so wicked that God promised none of his descendants would sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem - Jeremiah 22:24-30

            B.        Jesus legal lineage comes through Jeconiah, but his physical lineage comes through David via a different son. - Luke 1:32-33

            C.        Only by adoption could both prophecies come true.

IV.      What do we learn from “boring” genealogies?

            A.        God always keeps His word

                        1.         The promises made to Abraham and David were fulfilled

                        2.         The curse given to Jeconiah were fulfilled

                        3.         Hence, God’s promise to us is just as sure - Hebrews 6:17-20

            B.        Our ancestors do not affect who we are

                        1.         Righteous men had wicked sons. Wicked men had righteous sons.

                        2.         Matthew’s account specifically mention four women. At least three are Gentiles. One was a harlot, one played the harlot, and one was an adulteress.

                        3.         Yet the Savior came from these wicked men and women - Ezekiel 18:20

                        4.         You were not born to sin

V.        Jesus left His throne of glory to humbly submit to the will of God - Philippians 2:5-8

            A.        He shared our experiences to rescue you and I - Hebrews 2:9-15

            B.        Jesus is Immanuel, “God with us” - Matthew 1:23