The Ancestry of Jesus Christ

Luke 3: 23-38
1 Jn 5: 5– 13 / Ps 147

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
(1John 5:11-12)

Knowledge of our Saviour’s ancestry
Unravels life’s profound mystery;
Generations give testimony
Of mankind’s fleeting mortality.

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 Josek, 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. (Luke 3:23-38)


Most of us may find reading this long genealogy too tiresome to bother remembering each and every ancestor of our Lord. But if we only take the trouble to check the veracity of St. Luke’s account, we will see here how the Scripture passages of the New Testament adhere faithfully with those written thousands of years ago in the Old Testament. Go back to the book of Genesis, chapter 5, and you can see the line of Adam’s descendants all the way to Noah, spanning ten generations in 1,556 years. Jump to chapter 11, and the line of Noah’s descendants through Shem is recorded all the way down to Abraham, ten generations also, but now spanning only 390 years. (They still had lifetimes of 200 years or more, but were now marrying at much younger ages.) The succeeding chapters in the book of Genesis tell the story of Abraham, then the lives of his descendants, from the birth of Isaac in chapter 21, to Jacob and Esau, and finally Joseph, Jacob’s favored son, who became ruler of Egypt.

It is interesting to note that both the evangelists Matthew and Luke included the lineage of Jesus in their Gospel accounts, apparently to prove the origin of the One Who was to come, the Savior of the world. But while Matthew’s genealogy begins with the patriarch Abraham, Luke’s version traces the origin of Jesus all the way to Adam, “the son of God.” Perhaps Luke’s intention was to prove to all non-Jewish Christians, to whom he was writing his Gospel, that all of us are descendants of Adam, and are likewise brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, and children of God.

Luke shows us the importance of knowing the “roots” of our Savior, just as most of us would be as fascinated about our own family tree. Some who can afford it even go to distant lands to trace their own ancestry. The evangelist took the trouble to list 75 generations of our Lord’s forefathers to show the fleeting passage of time in two thousand years to fulfill God’s promise of man’s salvation through the incarnation of His Beloved Son. Incidentally, two thousand years have also passed since our Lord Jesus went back to His Father. I wonder, could His Second Coming be at hand?

Dear Father, we have been told that those who are not aware of their ancestry will never learn how to discern the times, nor be prepared for the future. We thank You for Your Word in today’s Gospel passage that has given us a deeper understanding of the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is both God and true man, and of our own mortality in this life we live. Amen.

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