A Savior for His Family

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 6, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. ~Romans 1:1-4

Jesus Christ, the descendant of David. We sometimes neglect the incredible genealogy of Jesus Christ (and almost rightfully so, because his father Joseph was not really his Father) but it was one of the most significant indicators in pointing to the Messiah. The Messiah had to be descended from the Tribe of Judah and a descendant of King David. There are many genealogies throughout the Bible but there are only two, namely the last two, which include Jesus. These genealogies are found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Nonetheless, the good student will notice that the two genealogies are actually different from one another. There are a few common ancestors mentioned, but there are a different number of generations represented and some names are absent from one another. Richard Dawkins attacked this point in his book the God Delusion, using it as clear case of the Bible contradicting itself. Remember, though, that Dawkins is not a Bible scholar and also keep in mind that every person has two parents. Luke, for instance, mentions that “He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,” before entering into his detailed genealogy. So one genealogy probably represents Joseph’s lineage and the other one represents Mary’s. There are other credible explanations that I have come across in studying this topic, but let us allow this to suffice for now. What is more fascinating to me regarding the two New Testament genealogies is not the fact that they both show that Jesus was a descendant of David, or even Judah, but who each genealogy decides to ultimately trace Jesus’ descent from.

Matthew’s gospel has a genealogy that traces back to Abraham, the grandfather of the patriarchs (the fathers of the tribes of Israel). It is believed that Matthew intended to reveal Jesus to the nation of Israel as their long awaited Messiah. His gospel is packed with citations of fulfilled prophecies, teachings, and traditions that would have been very familiar to the Israelites. Tracing Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Abraham showed the Israelites that Jesus’ claim that he was the Messiah was true and that its legitimacy could be traced all the way back to the father of their faith the came before the Law of Moses, Abraham.

But Luke’s gospel paints a different picture than Matthew’s concerning Jesus’ genealogy. It is not contradictory, but complimentary. You see, Luke travelled a lot with the Apostle Paul. Most of the people they encountered and shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with were not Israelites. Sure, some were familiar with the Law of Moses, but to most of them hearing about the Messiah that was going to restore the nation of Israel back to its glory did not mean a whole lot. Their problem was that they were not royalty. Kings, queens, princes, and princesses were known to be descendants of the gods and it was well known that only the children of the gods could go to heaven. Everyone else was doomed to eternal misery. But Luke did not just go so far back to include the nation of Israel under the saving power of the Messiah’s ancestry; rather, he traced it all the way back to Adam, the first man to ever be created, and then refers to him as “the son of God,” for he had no earthly father. So Jesus was not just the Savior of the nation of Israel, but the Savior of the world. John expands on this hope for all people by clarifying, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Imagine being a Greek that has heard for the first time that your life has meaning. The gods, who were deviant, deceptive, and devilish, were wiped away by the compassion, provision, and grace of this foreign God who acknowledged that all people, by right, are his children, and that through the simple belief in his Son, you too could be adopted into God’s family.

And yet, not only the nation of Israel, not only the Greeks, but the whole world has been extended the olive branch of peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Do not late hatred and biases from loving your neighbor no matter what your ethnicity. Jesus Christ came to save all people and that includes you.