Updated: Nov 5, 2019
The Gospel of Matthew begins with the genealogy of our Savior. I just posted about how this was a very good way to begin the New Testament. (See An Excellent Way to Begin the New Testament – the Genealogy of Christ dated July 7, 2016.)
Matthew traced Jesus’ line through His legal father. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus goes from Abraham through King David through Joseph, the earthly legal father of Jesus. Matthew’s genealogy is a legal document.
There is another genealogy of Jesus recorded in the gospels. It is found in Luke 3:23-38. It is different than Matthew’s genealogy in a few ways.
Luke goes in reverse order by beginning with Jesus and traces his heritage back all of the way to Adam, the first man! This shows Jesus’ relationship to the entire human race.
Luke does not mention any women in his genealogy.
Luke might have traced Jesus’ line through His biological mother, Mary!
You are going to have trouble following this biological mother thing without a graph. Here is one I made years ago that compares Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus to Luke’s genealogy of Jesus.
Matthew traces Jesus’ heritage to His earthly father Joseph. Since all inheritance, legitimacy, and rights were passed on through male heirs – Jesus is the legal heir to King David’s throne through his father, Joseph. But Jesus wasn’t really conceived by Joseph. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was really Joseph’s adopted son, but still the legal heir. Our Lord’s human blood comes from His mother, Mary.
In Matthew’s genealogy as recorded in Matthew 1:5-7 it goes Salmon to Boaz to Obed to Jesse to David to Solomon to Rehoboam to Abijah to Asa on down to “Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah” (verse 16.) These are the kings of Judah. This is the legal descent of Jesus - meaning Jesus is the legal heir to King David’s throne.
Now compare that to Luke’s genealogy in Luke 3:31-32 and I am going to put it backwards from the text so it is easier to compare. Salmon to Boaz to Obed to Jesse to David to Nathan to Mattatha to Menna to Melea and on to Joseph (3:23.) Whoa! What happened there? This is a different branch of that family tree!
The difference in the lines come from different sons of King David.
In Matthew’s genealogy it is King Solomon the son of David. Matthew traces the legal descent of the house of David using only heirs to the throne.
In Luke’s genealogy it is Nathan, the son of David.
Matthew 1:16: Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. Note "the husband of Mary."
Luke 3:23: ...Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Heli. Because of “as was supposed” and Luke had already referred to the virgin birth in 1:34-35, it is believed Heli would have been Joseph’s father-in-law and Mary’s father.
If you are familiar with the kings of Judah, you know the curse on King Jeconiah in Jeremiah 22:30 plays an important part. (He is also referred to as Coniah and Jehoiachin in the biblical text.) This curse says none of King Jeconiah’s descendents would ever sit on the throne of David. "'For no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.'" Jeremiah 22:30b
If Jesus had been the real son of Joseph, He would have come under this curse. Yet He had to be the legal son of Joseph in order to inherit the rights to the throne of David. The problem was solved by the virgin birth. Jesus was the legal heir to the throne through Joseph and the real Son of David through Mary. The curse of Jeconiah did not fall on Mary or her children because she did not descend from Jeconiah.
[Source: Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald, copyright 1990, page 1204 - affiliate link]
Jesus' father is the Spirit. His mother is Mary. Virgin birth.
In Matthew's genealogy Jesus is the legal heir through Joseph, who is not His real father, because Joseph is His legal father and is a descendant of King David.
In Luke's genealogy Jesus is the real son of David by blood through His mother Mary, a descendant of King David through a different son, and does not come under the curse of King Jeconiah.
What are the chances?
A gajillion to one.
Just as I suggested in my post on Matthew's genealogy, stop and listen to Matthew’s Begats by Andrew Peterson from his Behold the Lamb of God annual Christmas concert tour. But this time, note what he says when he gets to Jehoiachin (referred to as Jeconiah also.)
Any way you slice it, Jesus is King!
[You may want to read about the genealogy of Jesus as recorded in the gospel of Matthew in An Excellent Way to Begin the New Testament - the Genealogy of Christ dated July 7, 2016.]