Why are the Genealogies of Jesus Different?


Supposed contradiction and verses:

Why are the two genealogies of Jesus different in Matthew versus Luke?


   The answer really is quite simple: These are two different genealogies, one of Joseph, one of Mary. Both Matthew and Luke trace the ancestry of Jesus Christ, but the differences in names has often tripped many people up. Luke starts at Adam and goes forward to David, where Matthew starts at Abraham and goes to David. At this point they differ with the sons of David, one being Nathan (Mary's side of the ancestry) and the other being Solomon (Joseph's side of the ancestry).

   People might question why Mary would be included in the genealogy of Jesus. This is normally done through the father, but we know Jesus had no biological father, but was brought forth by the seed of a woman. Notice the very first prophecy of Jesus Christ…

Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

   We see the words "her seed", and knowing, in context, seed is always referred to as coming from men, this is the exception. It says her seed, and that would be Mary because she was a virgin, yet gave birth to Jesus. That is why it is also important to show her genealogy and also, in the times and area they lived, breaking up the ancestry into male and female paths was quite acceptable. So why do they both mention Joseph? Understand first their culture, women wore veils, they were more subservient to men than we have in our culture, and one did not speak about a woman unless the male presence was met. Mary was counted in Joseph and under his headship, thus the reason he is mentioned in both even though one is through Mary.

   Now let me ask you, when the bible was put together, do you actually think that those putting it together did not see this? Do people think that in seeing the difference they would be ignorant and put it in there anyway if it were a contradiction? Of course not! They knew the reason for this and knew there was no problem. Also, Luke was a friend/student of Paul, thus, Luke was written to the Greeks of the day. Luke starts with Mary and goes back to Adam, giving the biological lineage from Adam to David. Matthew was written for the Jews. Matthew starts at Abraham and goes to Joseph, which gives the legal lineage that the Jews would be looking for.

   In the first three chapters of Luke, Mary is mentioned eleven times, which is further proof that this was her genealogy. Look at this verse…

Luke 3:23

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

   In this verse, we see that it signifies this genealogy is of Mary, because it says "as was supposed" in reference to Joseph being the father of Jesus, since he was not his biological father. Now to further add to this is that in Joseph's lineage, Jeconiah is mentioned, who is also called Coniah. In Jeremiah 22:30, God cursed him and said that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne of David……

Jeremiah 22:30

Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.

   So what to do with this part of the lineage? Quite simple as well when you understand the genealogy as talked above. Jesus is not a biological descendant of Jeconiah, only through Mary. Just as in today, when a man adopts a child, he is not biologically his father, only legally, but gains full legal rights through him, as Jesus legally became the son of Joseph satisfying legal requirements of the Jews. The proof is in the pudding in fulfilling prophecy though, biologically, with the lineage of Mary. No contradiction!

In His Grace,

            Mike Harris


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