Today’s Scripture – July 4, 2017

Luke 3:23-38 (NIV) Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.
He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Out of the many prophesies that were made about the birth of the Messiah, there were three that had to be fulfilled in the life of anyone who claimed to be the Messiah, but which were fulfilled in only one person: Jesus.

  • He was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). This had never happened before Mary conceived Jesus, and has never happened since. Jesus’ conception in a virgin and His birth while His mother was still a virgin is unique in human history.
  • He was to be born in Bethlehem of Judah (Micah 5:2) (as opposed to other Bethlehems in other parts of the country). This particular Bethlehem was King David’s hometown. Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem was anomalous, since His parents weren’t from there and didn’t live there. They lived in Nazareth, several day’s journey north in the region of Galilee (Luke 1:26-27). In order for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, God orchestrated a great census that required everyone to relocate temporarily to their family’s ancestral homes, and for Mary and Joseph, that was Bethlehem.
  • The Messiah would be a direct descendant of King David, to whom God made the promise that one of his own descendants would sit on his throne forever (1 Chronicles 17:14, among others). Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy through Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, who was a direct descendant of David through Solomon and the succeeding kings of Judah (Matthew 1:1-17), which established Jesus’ legal claim to the title of Messiah. But Joseph was not genetically Jesus’ father, and therefore that promise could not be fulfilled through him. Luke, as he did throughout his gospel, presents things from Mary’s viewpoint, as she was still alive for him to interview. So the genealogy in his gospel belongs to Mary, not Joseph, as is shown by the qualifier, “He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph…” Luke then, following the normal way of presenting genealogies at the time, focuses only on the paternal lines, skipping over the women, including Mary herself, and traces Mary’s lineage back to a different son of David: Nathan, who was also, like Solomon, born to Bathsheba (1 Chronicles 3:5). John the Baptist was a double descendant of the high priest Aaron, through both his mother and his father (Luke 1:5), and in the same way, Jesus was a double descendant of David, through both His earthly father and His mother.

Unlike Matthew, Luke traces Jesus’ lineage backward. And unlike Matthew, who traces it back to Abraham and stops, Luke traces Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Adam, “the son of God.” Those last four words are cleverly used, because they not only refer to Adam being a direct creation from God’s hand, thus God’s first human “son,” but also loop back around to refer to Jesus as God’s only begotten Son; God’s Son instead of Joseph’s. Thus Luke’s genealogy gives a concise history lesson showing how Jesus was a real human being with roots that go back to the very first man, showing how He was a direct line descendant of King David, fulfilling a key requirement for Him to be the Messiah, and showing clearly that He was the Son of God Himself.

Father, You thought of (and orchestrated) everything! All through history You were moving things into line so that, at exactly the right time, everything would be fulfilled exactly as You had foretold it. You not only know what must happen, You tell us, and then You make it happen. You are amazing, Lord! Amen.

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