2008.) Luke 3:23-38

"Tree of Jesse" from 17th century Greece

“Tree of Jesse” from 17th century Greece

Luke 3:23-38   (NIV)

The Genealogy of Jesus

23Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.

This seems to have been the age of full maturity in the Jewish mind. According to Numbers 4:2-3, priests could begin their service only at age 30.

He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,

According to ancient custom, genealogies were almost always traced through the father, not the mother. This was a problem in the unique situation of a virgin birth.

Luke differs in the account of Matthew from David onward, but they both end their genealogies with Joseph. Why? Luke follows Mary’s line (Jesus’ actual lineage) while Matthew follows Joseph’s line (His legal lineage by adoption). This is Luke’s who point in his important phrase being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.

–David Guzik

the son of Heli, 24the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,
the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, 26the son of Maath,
the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,
the son of Josech, the son of Joda,
27the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,
the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
the son of Neri, 28the son of Melki,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,
the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
29the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, 30the son of Simeon,
the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
31the son of Melea, the son of Menna,
the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David,

Michelangelo's "David."

Michelangelo’s “David.”

The fact that Luke can give Jesus’ genealogical history is not unusual. Josephus traced his own genealogy from “the public records” (Autobiography, paragraph 1). It was also well known that the famous Rabbi Hillel could prove his descent from King David with reference from the public registers.

–David Guzik

32the son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,

“Ruth meets Boaz” by Thomas Matthews Rooke (1842-1942), Tate Gallery, London.

Luke, unlike Matthew, follows proper form and includes no women in his genealogy.

the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, 34the son of Jacob,
the son of Isaac,

“The Binding of Isaac” by Alan Falk, 2002.

the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35the son of Serug, the son of Reu,
the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, 36the son of Cainan,
the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah,

“Noah” by Frank Wesley.

the son of Lamech,
37the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
the son of Kenan, 38the son of Enosh,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam,

“Woman gives her man to eat” by Lucile Butel, 1989.

the son of God.

A genealogy may not seem like much, but it exactly establishes Jesus’ credentials as a member of the human race. A Bible translator to a distant tribe saved the genealogies for last, because he thought them the least important part of the gospels. But when he finally finished them last of all, the tribesmen were astounded. They told the translator, “You mean to tell us that this Jesus was a real person, with real ancestors? We had no idea!”

–David Guzik



HERE is a hymn which contains references to scenes all over the Bible, which I think is a fitting match with all the names above! The words come from a poem by the American Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier; the hymn, text and tune united, was first published in 1884. In the United Kingdom, the hymn is usually sung to the tune heard here, “Repton.”

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow Thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!
With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Tree of Jesse.  http://www.ellopos.org/photoblog/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/jesse.jpg
Michelangelo.  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/’David’_by_Michelangelo_JBU05.JPG
Rooke.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/2-rooke-ruth-bows-to-boaz.jpg
Falk.  http://richardmcbee.com/images/writings/Reviews-2008-present/Artists/Falk/1_Falk_Binding_of_Isaac_Akedah.jpg
Wesley.  http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/Misc/Wesley/noah.htm
Butel.   http://www.artbible.net/1T/Gen0301_2ndTale_disobedience/source/20%20TENAILLE%20BUTEL%20ELLE%20EN%20DONNA%20A%20SON%20MARI.jpg

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