Roots Tracer

In recent years there has been an explosion of interest in genealogies. Thousands dig through courthouse records, old censuses and Ellis Island Immigrant Records to trace their roots. They traipse around country cemeteries risking heat exhaustion, poison ivy and ticks.

Recently my friend Stan told me he is a descendant of Daniel Boone. I must confess to a tinge of ancestral jealousy at the time. Ever felt like that? How about a little forefather inferiority when someone proudly announces they are descended from royal blood?

Me Royalty? Not a chance. The nearest to royalty I might find is a court jester or two. If I am any indication, they kept trying even though they weren’t very funny. Risky business when you’re not funny and the King wants to laugh!

If not humorous they were obviously clever. Somehow they managed to stay alive long enough to father at least one child or I wouldn’t be here. Me? I’ve lived long enough to see two children grow to adulthood, but only because Christians don’t kill corny preachers. They just don’t laugh. And that really kills me.

Anyway, from today’s reading it is evident Matthew was a Roots Tracer too. Matt had it much easier though. He could have simply gone over to the temple and copied the extremely accurate family records stored there. Maybe the Holy Spirit spared him even that.

Either way, he begins his story about our Teacher with a record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

In the very first verse, Matthew places two names after Jesus’ - David and Abraham. So, what is Matthew up to? Is he setting up what the rest of his story will prove – Jesus is the Everlasting King promised to David and The Blessing for all mankind promised to Abraham? (Ok, so I read ahead.)

Scanning the list of Jesus’ physical ancestors I notice some pretty colorful characters. Most of the names don’t sound familiar, but their sins sure do. Unfortunately, I can identify with some of their stories related in the Old Testament.

What name underscores for you that Jesus really became one of us?

Of course, the Teacher didn’t make any of the mistakes of His ancestors. Talk about breaking the cycle of addiction, abuse or, well…you fill in the blank. He shattered each and every one of them for each and every one of us! A perfect life to become a perfect sacrifice for our sins!

And why is Jesus the only one truly qualified to be our Life-Teacher? Simple! He became human and did human perfectly. That’s why I want to be his student. He knows me and he knows how to make a better me. One more like Him! And what is more, He keeps me saved throughout what must necessarily be a lifetime process. A better arrangement I cannot imagine.

Come to think of it I made a big mistake when I said I am not related to royalty. In fact, every Christian is because while Jesus had physical ancestors God was His Father. And since Jesus is my brother that must mean we are all Bluebloods in the only way that ultimately impresses – children of the Most High God - born again from above.

(Ok, I know you want to share some famous or infamous ancestor. Go ahead if you have any. I can deal with it. Actually, I’m a little curious. While you’re at it share something about the Teacher from today’s reading. And sorry for posting more material than the verses from Matthew, but hey, he was inspired.)


  1. I was intrigued by your statement "He ... did human perfectly." We all do human, but so imperfectly. I sometimes wonder what it must have felt like to be Jesus and live with a heart and in a mind that had never sinned. I'm not sure I can imagine the feeling.

    Congratulations on your new blog. I wish you the best with it.

  2. What struck me the most about today's reading was how much it emphasized that Jesus came to earth as a human. He had family and ancestors just like us. Can you imagine being in the genelogy of Jesus?

  3. It's interesting that Matthew (or the Holy Spirit through Matthew) would trace the geneology of Joseph and not Mary, as Joseph is an "adoptive" or "step" parent and not really Jesus' lineage. I understand how the Jews would have claimed he couldn't have been the christ if Joseph hadn't been of David's line, but it is interesting.

    Some say Luke actually records the lineage of Mary, and that is why there are differences between Matt 1 and Luke 3 recordings, but is there actual biblical proof that is what Luke is doing?


  4. Appreciate Kevin's observations.
    Anyone out there with a comment on
    his question? Kevin, what have you
    found out?

  5. What have I found? First, that I can't figure out exactly how to post as me other than through anonymous and my name at the bottom.

    Second, I didn't know "Geneology" was supposed to be "Genealogy."

    Now, About the lineage question: Was Luke's recording of the genealogy of Jesus through the line of Mary rather than Joseph?

    A. The lineage in Luke is different than that of Matthew.

    B. Matthew states this is Joseph's lineage, starting at Abraham and going to vs. 16 "and Jacob the Father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." This only states Joseph's lineage to himself, and claims he is Mary's husband, never claiming he is Jesus' father.

    C. Luke's lineage works backwards and goes from Jesus to Adam and then to God. The only mention of Joseph is vs. 23 "He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli," Yet Joseph was the son of Jacob (Matt 1:16) So Luke's recording only states he was thought to be the son of Joseph - and one could argue thus doesn't necessarily place Joseph in this lineage.

    D. So far in Luke, the story he is telling is Mary's side of things. The angel announcing the birth to Mary, and to Elizabeth, Mary's relative, Mary's praise to God, Mary's birth story (notice the she's and her - Lk 2:7) and even Mary asking Jesus why he had stayed in the temple when he was 12. The only mentions of Joseph by name are when he took Mary to go register in Bethlehem and when they took him to the temple to consecrate the firstborn to the Lord. Another mention when going to the temple when Jesus was 12 is simply "they" and "parents." So Luke seems to be telling Mary's side of the story, thus, it would make logical sense that the genealogy was that of Mary, not Joseph (again, this is not absolutely spelled out for us.)

    E. When tracing lineages, Jews didn't much consider the lineage of the woman, the lineage was traced through Fathers and sons, with an occasional mention of women (compare in Matt how many men to women are mentioned.) So if this is what Luke was doing, mentioning Mary would be very out of place, so one could suppose he mentions Jesus, then the one "thought" to be his father - the husband of his mother, and then "the son of" Jesus wasn't the son of Joseph - but through Mary, he was the son of Mary's father - most likely "Heli" from Luke 3:23.

    So while all this makes sense, it is pretty much circumstantial evidence to support the idea that Luke is recording Mary's lineage.


  6. Kevin, to post by first name, instead of
    anonymous or putting your name at the
    end of your comments,just click on "select profile" and then click on "name/URL" Then type your first name on the screen that magically appears. Then your post will
    appear, "Kevin said..."