The Genealogy of Jesus Has A Twist In It
Vernon M. Herron
There are two Biblical accounts of the genealogy of Jesus. Genealogy is the study of the origin and descent of family. Family history is the ascent study of family life starting with oneself. Biblically speaking, these two styles can be seen in St. Matthews 1:1-17 and Luke 3: 23-38. Matthews’ account is in a descent fashion (From Abraham to Jesus), while Luke’s account is in an ascent fashion, (From Jesus to Abraham- God).
There are technical and theological differences in both versions, not to be discussed here, because I want to use these “teachable moments” to show a theological “twist” given to us in Matthews’ account. This account is methodical and systematic in pattern. In that process, it shows a profound theological truth which portrays the relationship of a Triune God in which Jesus is the Son.
The Pattern and Twist
Matt. 1:1 opens a genealogical pattern of Jesus, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, The son of Abraham.” Now the pattern continues: “Abraham begat Isaac.” (begat means to procreate as the father) The father’s name is given first, then the son’s. The pattern continues in like fashion until verse 16, which presents a “twist” in the genealogy of Jesus. Please notice, “and Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.” The pattern did not say, “Joseph begat Jesus.” If so, Jesus would be fully human. Luke 3:23 makes the point clear, “and Jesus being…as was supposed, the son of Joseph.” In the Matt. account, the pattern-twist shifts from the listing of the father’s name to that of the mother’s, thereby preserving His divine nature as prophesied in Isa.9:6 “of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ,” the Son of God.