Troublesome Topic: A Summary of the Genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke

All genealogies of the Bible had the purpose of showing a connection to something.

The genealogies of Jesus recorded in Matthew one and Luke three are intended to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. They accomplish this by connecting Jesus to some key elements of the Old Testament.

Mathew’s record of the genealogy of Jesus (Matt 1:1-17) shows Jesus to be the son of Abraham and of David. The connection to Abraham was important because it was to Abram/Abraham that God gave the promise of a coming Messiah who would bless the entire world (Gen 12:3). The connection to David proved His Messiahship because the Messiah would be a direct descendant of David (2 Sam 7:11-17). He would fulfill God’s promise to David of a descendant who would establish an everlasting kingdom (and Jesus did that). Jesus was also connected to the return from exile in Babylon, thus making Him the one who restores the situation to what God originally planned. Not only was Jesus connected to all three of these things, but His connections to them are perfect, lacking nothing; this is demonstrated by a set of 14 generations in each of the three sections of this genealogy.

The genealogy of Luke 3:23-38 answers the question, “Whose son was he?” There was no closer connection to someone than being a son, i.e. a replica of someone. The final answer is, “He is the Son of God.” Once again, the genealogy proves this in a complete way because there are 77 names total in this genealogy.

There were probably more than 77 generations from Adam to Jesus (Lk 3), and more than 14 generations in each of the sections of the genealogy of Matthew, but the purpose of these genealogies was to prove a point, not to show every generation in the ancestry of Jesus. We know Jesus is the Messiah in part because He is perfectly connected to the right parts of the Old Testament.

The next lesson is: A Missionary Story About Why Genealogies Are Important.