THE GENEALOGY THE MESSIAH
With comments regarding the baptism of jesus
Just after they sinned, God made a promise to Adam and Eve that from their seed a Messiah would come. God spoke the same promise to Abraham and to David. The promised Messiah was to be from the seed of Abraham through his great-grandson Judah. (And it was through Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, that David was descended.)
The record of the “genesis” (the beginning – translated as genealogy in Matthew 1:17) of Jesus is listed in the following two passages of Scripture:
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 To Abraham was born Isaac; and to Isaac, Jacob; and to Jacob, Judah and his brothers;
3 and to Judah were born Perez and Zerah by Tamar; and to Perez was born Hezron; and to Hezron, Ram;
4 and to Ram was born Amminadab; and to Amminadab, Nahshon; and to Nahshon, Salmon;
5 and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab; and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth; and to Obed, Jesse;
6 and to Jesse was born David the king. And to David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah;
7 and to Solomon was born Rehoboam; and to Rehoboam, Abijah; and to Abijah, Asa;
8 and to Asa was born Jehoshaphat; and to Jehoshaphat, Joram; and to Joram, Uzziah;
9 and to Uzziah was born Jotham; and to Jotham, Ahaz; and to Ahaz, Hezekiah;
10 and to Hezekiah was born Manasseh; and to Manasseh, Amon; and to Amon, Josiah;
11 and to Josiah were born Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
12 And after the deportation to Babylon, to Jeconiah was born Shealtiel; and to Shealtiel, Zerubbabel;
13 and to Zerubbabel was born Abihud; and to Abihud, Eliakim; and to Eliakim, Azor;
14 and to Azor was born Zadok; and to Zadok, Achim; and to Achim, Eliud;
15 and to Eliud was born Eleazar; and to Eleazar, Matthan; and to Matthan, Jacob;
16 and to Jacob was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
17 Therefore all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the time of Christ fourteen generations. (NAS)
21 Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,
22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased."
23 And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli,
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 Hesli, 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 Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Ram, 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 Heber, 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 Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (NAS)
How is it that there are two different genealogies listed for Joseph, when we know that, at least physically, a person only has one father? Why would God inspire two different genealogies of Joseph to be written when God was the true father of Jesus, not Joseph? And what about Mary? She was in fact the mother of Jesus, yet no genealogy is listed for her. What is the explanation for this? And of what significance is it for our lives today?
While at first glance these two accounts appear contradictory, careful study will show:
The kinsman redeemer was a relative who, according to the Law, was obligated to carry on the “seed” of his brother if the brother died and had left no heir. This included having sexual relations with his brother’s widow for the procreation of the family seed.
· Gen 38:6-10 Now Judah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah's first-born, was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD took his life. Then Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother." And Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so it came about that when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also. (NAS)
The sin of Onan was not in having intercourse with his brother’s widow but withdrawing before ejaculation (spilling his seed), thus preventing her from becoming pregnant with a child that would be considered the heir of his deceased brother. In Onan’s selfish wickedness by spilling his seed and refusing to carry on his brother’s name and heritage he is like Cain: a selfish murderer.
Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus but he was his kinsman redeemer. This explains why only Joseph’s bloodline is mentioned in the genealogies. Joseph became a “spiritual kinsman redeemer” to all of his Old Testament brothers when he took his betrothed, Mary, who was already pregnant, and kept her as his wife, that she might give birth to the Messiah. By doing so, Joseph fulfills his role as part of the line of spiritual seed mentioned in Matthew and legally fulfills the application of the Law as recorded in Luke’s account. In other words, Joseph is the link to those “anointed” to do a task (as in the Matthew account) and those chosen to pass on their legal and spiritual heritage (as seen in Luke). The flesh meant nothing in terms of genetics because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
While the New Testament does mention that Jesus was from the line of Judah according to the flesh, we have assumed this means that he was literally (genetically) from the gene pool of Judah. However, to legally fulfill the fleshly line from which Jesus came (Judah), Jesus need only be appointed a “flesh line” father who came from Judah’s bloodline. Joseph came from Judah’s bloodline and was commanded and chosen by God to take Mary as his wife. When God commanded Joseph to take the pregnant Mary as his wife, God was telling Joseph to be the fleshly parent (father) of Jesus. Thus, the fleshly line of Judah is continued.
The only mention of Mary’s genealogy is that her relative (KJV: cousin) Elizabeth was “a daughter of Aaron”. (Reminder: Aaron was a descendant of Abraham through the tribe of Levi; God’s promise of the Messiah was through the tribe of Judah.) Thus, the “flesh line” link of Jesus cannot be proven from scripture to come from Mary (nor was it ever intended to).
· Luke 1:35-36 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. (NAS)
Why should it seem strange to us that God would choose how the covenant promise of the Judaic lineage would be applied? After all, God miraculously created a sperm cell in Mary’s womb while she was ovulating. Normally there would be thousands of sperm cells competing to fertilize the one egg in the woman. But God made one seed and caused the procreation process to begin.
Before we go on to consider how these truths apply to our individual lives, let us take a moment to examine the baptism of Jesus.
We now have a basis for understanding why Jesus was baptized. Mary, the mother of Jesus, although a virgin at his birth, was not sinless. And while the doctrine of original sin as taught by Calvinists and others is incorrect, yet Mary did come from the seed of Adam and Eve just like all other human beings. Jesus knowing that although God was his Father, yet through Mary he was descended from the fallen seed of humanity. Therefore he chose to be baptized to “fulfill all righteousness”.
John’s baptism was a baptism toward “repentance” (literally meaning “a change of mind”). The application of the Greek meaning is that Jesus had a change of mind in the direction of his life; he now moved into the baptism by fire (i.e. doing his Father’s will no matter the price). And he began fulfilling his role as the fulfillment of the plan of God that the previous generations of men and women in the Old Testament (including Joseph and Mary) had done. Each one had been anointed to perform a particular task in God’s plan for mankind, leading up to the fulfillment of God’s plan in Jesus the Messiah.
Questions to consider:
More often than not, God anointed men and women to do earthly tasks to accomplish his plan. This can be most clearly seen in the New Testament in the Book of Acts and the Epistles. God’s anointing to do earthly or miraculous things is all for one primary purpose:
Don’t ask yourself “how will I discover what God wants me to do?” Rather, seek God first, expressing your desire to do His will. Then look to Him respectfully, but with great expectation and anticipation. He will lead you if you are willing to do more than merely pray. Start with prayer (i.e. moving towards His desires) and He will give you the desire of your heart (not the desire of your flesh). Then…when He calls, don’t delay in responding. In the meantime, do good to all the household of faith. Do what your hand finds to do with all your might.
Do all in love…honor God…stay pure in heart.