A Miraculous Family Tree

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

Out of all the readings in Advent, the genealogy of Jesus is one that many people find a little boring. Some question why we bother reading it at all.

But a careful reading of Jesus’ family tree reveals much more than a litany of names.

Before I get into that, though, there are actually two accounts in Scripture. One lineage is in Matthew (1:1-17); the other is in Luke (3:23-38). Matthew traces the family tree through Joseph, while Luke gives us Jesus’ lineage through Mary. As a result, both list different ancestors.

Some people find these differences disturbing. In fact, scholars have spent years debating why Matthew’s account is so different than Luke’s.

To me, it doesn’t matter. The bottom line in both accounts is this: Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father. He was born by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Virgin Mary.

I love how Matthew makes this point, too. The list of names spans forty-two generations, starting with Abraham. It includes recognizable biblical figures like Jesse, Solomon, Josiah, and more obscure names like Jotham, Zerubbabel, and Zadok. The rhythmic list of names is suddenly broken at verse 16, which reads: “Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.”

There it is—the miraculous birth of Jesus, defying everything normal about a family tree. What I love is how Matthew makes the point that Jesus’ lineage was not only human, it was divine. He was the Son of God. He was the Messiah, the Savior promised throughout history. He was the word made flesh!

Lord, during this Advent season, help me to appreciate your fully human yet fully divine lineage. 





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