Luke 3:23-38

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[Note: This is the "Old" version of the Grace Commentary on Luke. It will be updated to the new version soon.]


After writing about the baptism of Jesus, and His anointing by the Holy Spirit, it would seem natural for Luke to transition immediately into the ministry of Jesus. But instead, he records the genealogy of Jesus. Issues as to why Luke does this, and how to understand this genealogy abound. The approach here will be to first address three issues related to the genealogy and then work through the genealogy one name at a time.

The Issues of Genealogies

1. Why Have Genealogies?

The first issue is why there are genealogies in Scripture in the first place. It must be emphatically stated that since genealogies are Scripture, and all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable (2 Tim 3:16), the genealogies must also be profitable. This includes the genealogy here, as well as those in Genesis, Numbers, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Matthew. Each genealogy is different, and each must be considered in context to determine its profitability.

Nevertheless, there are some basic, overarching truths which help make all genealogies profitable.

First, and most obviously, genealogies are lists of names. Such lists are reminders that the Scriptures are rooted in history. The Scriptures were not invented out of someone’s imagination, but contains the stories and ideas of real people who lived and died, worked and played, got married and had children, and tried to follow God. Though we do not recognize most of the names on these lists, to many Jewish families, the lists of names bring to mind great stories of faith in the midst of trials and perseverance in adversity (Wright 2004:39). For those who knew the stories, genealogies would be read with the same interest as a college football fanatic reading a list of Heisman Trophy winners or a politician reading a list of the Presidents of the United States. For us, some of the names are prominent and well-known, while others are obscure and unknown. However, all were needed to bring Jesus to the world.

Second, genealogies point the reader to the sovereignty of God. Since the lists contain names of real people, these people have stories of things that happened in their lives, many of which can be read about in Scripture. These written accounts reveal how God is at work both behind the scenes and in miraculous ways to accomplish His plans and purposes within the world.

Third, genealogies within Scripture reveal that God is a list maker. He keeps records. Though He does not need them to aid His memory, He has put them in Scripture to remind us that He is watches our lives, cares about us, and keeps records of the things that matter to Him. Genealogies reveal that people matter to God.

This leads to the fourth truth about genealogies. They reminder the reader that God knows our names. Psychologically and emotionally, it is comforting to know that somebody knows our name. Remembering someone’s name makes them feel accepted, cared for, and important.

Fifthly, genealogies help reveal that God’s blessings are for all people. Many in Luke’s day, as in ours, believe that God reserves His blessings for only a select few, the people who are good enough to receive it, or the people of a particular race or denomination. But genealogies often contain the names of some people who lived very questionable lives, as well as people from other backgrounds and people groups than were commonly “accepted.”

Finally, in certain cultures, genealogies are badges of honor. Greater honor was given to those who could trace their line the furthest, and if prominent people were on the list, the honor was greater still. Malina and Rohrbaugh (2003:365) write this:

Recent studies of genealogies indicate that genealogies can serve a wide range of social functions: preserving tribal homogeneity or cohesion, interrelating diverse traditions, acknowledging marriage contracts between extended families, maintaining ethnic identity, and encoding key social information about a person. Above all, genealogies established claims to social status (honor) or to a particular office (priest, king) or rank, thereby providing a map for proper social interaction.

2. Why Place One Here?

A second issue is why Luke placed this genealogy here. Matthew, for example, began his Gospel with a genealogy. Why does Luke wait until here to record the genealogy? It seems out of place. If it were not here, 4:1 could naturally follow 3:22 (cf. Matt 3:17-4:1; Mark 4:11-12). But Luke intentionally places the genealogy here for multiple reasons.

First, the genealogy lends credence to the immediately preceding events, and particularly, the statement from God that Jesus is His Son (3:22). To support this statement, Luke provides the genealogy of Jesus, which goes all the way back to “Adam, the son of God” (v. 38). This, in turn, provides the basis for the first temptation in the wilderness when Satan questions whether Jesus really is “the son of God” (4:3).

Of course, since all humanity originated with Adam, it could be argued that we are all “descendants” of God in a similar way. But this is actually a second point of Luke. By beginning with Jesus and ending with God (the genealogy is reversed in Matthew 1, and begins with Abraham, not Adam), Luke shows that Jesus is not only the son of God, but also the representative of all mankind.

Third, it may be that Luke, who was a traveling companion of Paul, was influenced by some of Paul’s thought about Jesus being “the second Adam” (1 Cor 14:45). Just as Adam was the son of God, so also now Jesus is called the son of God, indicating that with Jesus, humanity has a new start. This point is supported by the fact that Luke reverses the usual genealogical order by beginning with Jesus and ending with Adam, the son of God. This places Adam nearer to the temptation of Jesus in 4:1-13.

Fourth, Luke is making a political statement as well. While Caesar claimed to be “the son of God,” Luke is showing that Jesus is the true “Son of God.” It is interesting to note that (depending on how two textual variants are handled) there are 77 names in the genealogy. If the two variants are added in, there are still 77 names, not counting Jesus and God.

Fifth, the genealogy, which points to both the human and divine origins of Jesus, prepares the reader for the three temptations of Jesus by Satan in the following passage. If Jesus was only human and not divine, such difficult temptations by Satan Himself would be unnecessary. But if Jesus was only divine and not human, Jesus would be above temptation.

Finally, the fact that Jesus has a genealogy while John does not proves once and for all that Jesus is superior to John and has surpassed him in every way (Green 1997:189). Prior to this, the narrative has gone back and forth between John and Jesus. After this, while John is occasionally mentioned, the focus of the text is entirely upon Jesus.

So with Luke’s purpose, theme, and context, the genealogy fits perfectly at this point in the narrative. It proves that in every way — in his humanity, divinity, Jewishness, and royal lineage — Jesus is the Messiah.

3. Why is it Different than Matthew’s?

Finally, there is much debate about why this genealogy of Jesus is different than the one recorded in Matthew 1.

Though many solutions have been proposed, the preferred solution is that Matthew records the genealogy of Joseph, while Luke records that of Mary (cf. Pentecost 1981:36-39). This is culturally and prophetically significant. In verse 23, Luke writes that Jesus was the supposed (Gk. nomidzo) son of Joseph. The phrase Luke uses could also be variously translated: as was the custom, as it was assumed, as was acknowledged by law, as was entered in the ledger, or as it is on record (cf. Green 1997:189; Zodhiates 1998:1014; Henry 1997:1835).

But as Luke has already revealed, Jesus had no earthly father. Born of a virgin, Jesus only had an earthly mother. However, the official legal documents of the Roman Empire did not allow women to be listed in genealogies. So whoever recorded the genealogy of Jesus on the official records put down Joseph, even though it was Mary’s genealogy (contra. Bock 1994:352).

This is culturally significant from a Jewish perspective as well. Jewishness is passed down from the mother, not from the father. So a genealogy through Mary shows that Jesus was fully Jewish. Matthew, who writes to show that Jesus is the promised King of Israel, takes the genealogy back through Joseph since royal lineage was passed down from father to son. So when Luke takes his genealogy all the way back to Adam, it reminds the reader what God told Adam and Eve, that one would come from the seed of the woman, and he would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15).

The differences in the two genealogies are prophetically significant as well. Joseph is in direct lineage of Solomon, the heir to the throne. But Jeconiah (Also called Jehoiachin or Coniah; see 2 Chr 36:8-9.), one of Solomon’s descendants, was so evil, God pronounced that with Jeconiah, the royal line was cut off. (He ruled for only three months! See 2 Chr 36:9. I prefer the view that he was eighteen. See 2 Kings 24:8; 1 Chr 3:17-19.) No one from Jeconiah’s family line would ever sit on the throne of David (Jer 22:28-30). So Joseph, although he was technically and legally of the royal line of David through Solomon, could never have sat on the throne because that line had been spiritually cursed by God. Nevertheless, God had promised to David that someone from his family would always sit on the throne (2 Sam 7:12-13). Luke reveals how this promise was fulfilled. Once the royal line of Solomon was cut off with Jeconiah, God brought the royal line through Nathan, a different son of David, all the way up through Mary to Jesus, the promised Messiah and King of Israel. Receiving an inheritance through women had precedent in Jewish Law (Num 27:1-7).

So in this way, Jesus had every right to the throne. By Roman legal systems, he was an heir to the throne through Joseph. By blood, he was Jewish through Mary. Prophetically and spiritually, he was heir through Mary and Nathan to David. However the issue is approached, Jesus is the heir to the throne of David.

The Genealogy

As in any genealogy, there is limited information on some names, while whole books could be written about others. The approach here will be to summarize what we know about each of the names. Most commentaries say little or nothing about the names in a genealogy, and so most of the information about the names was gleaned from Bock 1994:353-360.

3:23. When Jesus..began His ministry He was about thirty years old. In Greek society, this was the age that most men entered public service. Up until that age, they would be learning their craft or trade, and at thirty they would start to practice it on their own. It was the same for the Hebrew people, but especially for the Levitical priesthood. Levites did not start to serve in the temple until they were thirty (Num 4:3; 23-47). It was at thirty that a Jewish man was allowed to enter legal disputes (Evans 2003:45). This is also the age at which Joseph began serving before Pharaoh (Gen 41:46) and David became the king of Israel (2 Sam 5:4). In the days of Jesus, when the average life span was 45-50 years, a thirty-year old would be equivalent today to someone in their mid 40′s (cf. Malina 2003:239).

The genealogy begins by stating that Jesus was assumed, or supposed as being the son of Joseph.As indicated above in the section on Issues with this genealogy, Luke is indicating that Jesus was not the actual son of Joseph, but was on record as such. This genealogy is really that of Mary. See above for more explanation. This is the only place where the word son (Gk. uios) is used. Everywhere else it is supplied by the English translators. It seems this may be another way in which Luke hints that something different is going on with Jesus being the son of Joseph.

Joseph was of Heli, though this was actually Mary’s father. Nothing is known about him, though it is debated about whether he was the physical father of Mary or Joseph. Rabbinical literature speaks of “Mary the daughter of Heli” as hanging by the nipples of her breasts and hell is hung on her ear (Lightfoot 1989:55). If this is Mary the mother of Jesus whom the writers are trying to vilify, then the record shows that Heli was in fact her father.

For more, see the discussion above about why Luke’s genealogy is different than Matthew’s (cf. Bock 1994:918-923)

3:24. Matthat. Nothing is known about Matthat, though there are others in this genealogy and Scripture with similar names (Ezra 10:33; 2 Chron 3:29; Luke 3:25, 26, 29, 31).

Levi. Nothing is known about Levi, though there are others in this genealogy and Scripture with the same name (Gen 29:34; Luke 3:29). The original Levi became the forefather of the Hebrew Tribe of Levi, which is the tribe of Priests. Some believe that since Mary and Elizabeth were relatives (1:36), and Elizabeth was a descendant of the Levitical Aaronic Priesthood (1:5), Mary was also of the Tribe of Levi, thereby qualifying Jesus for the Levitical Priesthood. The main problem with this is that the Messiah is to be of the Tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10; Rev 5:5).

Melchi. Nothing is known about Melchi. The name appears again in 3:28.

Janna. Nothing is known about Janna. This is the only place this name appears in Scripture.

Joseph. Nothing is known about Joseph, though there are others in this genealogy and Scripture with the same name (Gen 30:24; Luke 3:23, 26, 30).The story of the Patriarch Joseph can be found in Genesis 37-50.

3:25. Mattathiah. Nothing is known about Mattathiah, though this is a common Jewish name (1 Esdr 9:43; Ezra 10:43; Neh 8:4; 1 Chr 9:31; 1 Macc 2:1, 14). There are similar names in this genealogy (3:24, 26, 29, 31).

Amos. Nothing is known about Amos, though kings (2 Kings 21:18) and prophets (2 Kings 19:2; Amos 1:1) had the same name.

Nahum. Nothing is known about Nahum, though a prophet had the same name (Nah 1:1).

Esli. Nothing is known about Esli. This is the only place this name appears in Scripture.

Naggai. Nothing is known about Naggai. This name appears one other time (1 Chr 3:7).

3:26. Maath. Nothing is known about Maath. This name appears two other times (1 Chr 6:35; 2 Chr 29:12).

Mattathiah. Nothing is known about Mattathiah, though this is a common Jewish name (1 Esdr 9:43; Ezra 10:43; Neh 8:4; 1 Chr 9:31; 1 Macc 2:1, 14). There are similar names in this genealogy (3:24, 25, 29, 31).

Semei. Nothing is known about Semei. This is the only place this name appears in Scripture.

Joseph. Some translations have this as “Josech.” Nothing is known about Joseph, though there are others in this genealogy and Scripture with the same name (Gen 30:24; Luke 3:23, 26, 30).The story of the Patriarch Joseph can be found in Genesis 37-50.

Judah. Nothing is known about Judah, though there are others in Scripture with the same name (Gen 29:35; Luke 3:33). The Judah in Genesis 29-50 was one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and was one of the two Tribes that made up the southern kingdom (1 Kings 12:20-21).

3:27. Joannas. Nothing is known about Joannas, though a similar name appears in Ezra 10:6 and 2 Chronciles 23:1. There is some speculation that Joannas might be the same person as Anania in 1 Chronicles 3:19, the son of Zerubbabel, but the main problem with this is that Luke has Rhesa as the son of Zerubbabel, not Joannas.

Rhesa. Nothing is known about Rhesa. This is the only place this name is recorded in Scripture. However, some speculate, based on the theory that Joannas (above) was actually the son of Zerubbabel, Rhesa might therefore be a title for Zerubbabel, meaning “Prince.” However, the lack of other titles in this genealogy argues against such a view. Of course, the other genealogy of Zerubbabel does not list Rhesa as a son (1 Chr 3:19), so either way, there is a problem. Most likely, 1 Chronicles 3:19 simply does not list all the sons of Zerubbabel.

Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the leader of the Tribe of Judah who led the people out of captivity in Babylon back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple around 539 BC (Ezra 2:2; 3:2).

Shealtiel. There are some problems with his name since 1 Chronicles 3:19 lists Pedaiah as the father of Zerubbabel, but most other references have Shealtiel (Hag 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2, 23; Ezra 3:2, 8, 5:2; Neh 12:1). A possible solution is that Shealtiel died childless, and so according to Levitical law, Pedaiah, the brother of Shealtiel (1 Chr 3:17-18) married Shealtiel’s wife. Their first son together would be considered the son of Shealtiel (Deut 25:1-10). If this was the case, Zerubbabel could be the son of both Pedaiah (biologically) and Shealtiel (by law). But of course, if these two were brothers, and were both sons of Jeconiah (1 Chr 3:17-19), then a problem is encountered about the prophecy of Jeremiah 22:28-30 (discussed in the Issues section above), and why Luke lists Shealtiel as the son of Neri, rather than Jeconiah.

Neri. Both 1 Chronicles 3:17 and Matthew 1:12 have Jeconiah as the father of Shealtiel, not Neri. As indicated in the preceding paragraph, if Shealtiel and Pedaiah were brothers and sons of Jeconiah, then a problem would arise from the prophecy of Jeremiah 22:28-30. But when it is remembered that Jeconiah was only eighteen when he became king (2 Kings 24:8) and he only ruled for three months (2 Chr 36:9), it becomes clear that he could not have had numerous sons at such a young age by only one wife. Probably, he took multiple wives, and some of them already had children. Therefore, it seems possible that while Shealtiel and Pedaiah were brothers, they both had different mothers and fathers. Shealtiel, the biological son of Jeconiah, died childless. Pedaiah, the biological son of Neri and adopted son of Jeconiah, married Shealtiel’s wife, and had Zerubbabel. This solution, while highly speculative, allows all the details to fi, and also helps explain why Jeconiah was such an evil king: he was stealing wives from other men.

So having picked up with Neri, the genealogy moves into names prior to the exile, and begins to work back toward Nathan.

3:28. Melchi. Nothing is known about Melchi. This name appeared earlier in 3:24.

Addi. Nothing is known about Addi. This is the only time this name appears in Scripture.

Cosam. Nothing is known about Cosam. This is the only time this name appears in Scripture.

Elmodam. Nothing is known about Addi. This name appears one other time in Scripture (Gen 10:26).

Er. Nothing is known about Er. This name is somewhat common in Scripture (Gen 38:3; 1 Chr 2:3; 4:21).

3:29. Jose. The Greek here is actually Iesou which is normally translated “Jesus.” Nothing is known about this Jesus, though the name in Hebrew, Yashua or “Joshua” is well known (cf. Exod 17:9; Josh 1:1).

Eliezer. Nothing is known about Eliezer. This name appears other times in Scripture (Gen 15:2; Exod 18:4).

Jorim. Nothing is known about Jorim. This is the only time this name appears in Scripture.

Matthat. Nothing is known about Matthat. though there are others in this genealogy and Scripture with similar names (Ezra 10:33; 2 Chron 3:29; Luke 3:24, 25, 26, 31).

Levi. Nothing is known about Levi, though there are others in this genealogy and Scripture with the same name (Gen 29:34; Luke 3:24). The original Levi became the forefather of the Hebrew Tribe of Levi, which is the tribe of Priests..

3:30. Simeon. Nothing is known about Simeon. There are others in Scripture with the same name, including Simeon, one of the twelve sons of Jacob (Gen 35:23) and the Simeon which Luke writes about in 2:25.

Judah. Nothing is known about Judah, though there are others in Scripture with the same name (Gen 29:35; Luke 3:26). The Judah in Genesis 29-50 was one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and was one of the two Tribes that made up the southern kingdom (1 Kings 12:20-21).

Joseph. Nothing is known about Joseph, though this is also the name of the legal father of Jesus (Luke 3:23) and one of the Patriarchs of Israel (Gen 37-50).

Jonan. Nothing is known about Jonan, though there are others in Scripture with similar names (1 Chr 26:3; Neh 6:18).

Eliakim. Nothing is known about Eliakim, though there are others in Scripture with similar names (2 Kings 18:18; Matt 1:13).

3:31. Melea. Nothing is known about Melea. This is the only time this name appears in Scripture.

Menan. Nothing is known about Menan. This is the only time this name appears in Scripture.

Mattathah. Nothing is known about Matthathah, though there are others in this genealogy and Scripture with similar names (Ezra 10:33; 2 Chron 3:29; Luke 3:24, 25, 26, 29).

Nathan. This is David’s third son (2 Sam 5:14; 1 Chr 3:5; 14:4; Zech 12:12). Little else is known about him. This is where the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 diverges from the genealogy here. Matthew traces the line through Solomon, while Luke traces it through Nathan. As indicated in the Issues section above, this is to fulfill prophecy from Jeremiah 22:28-30 that no one from the line of Jeconiah, who was a descendant of Solomon, would sit on the throne.

David. In Scripture, David is a key figure. Much of 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles records the events of his life, and he is the author of most of the Psalms. David is frequently mentioned in the New Testament as well. In the rest of his writings, Luke continues to point the reader back to the fact that Jesus is a direct descendant of King David as a way to show that Jesus is the heir to the throne of David (1:27, 31-35, 69; 2:4, 11; 18:38-39; Acts 2:25-31; 13:34-37). From this point on, the genealogy follows similar lists in Matthew 1, 1 Chronicles 2:1-15; and Ruth 4:18-22. These references will not be repeated for each name below.

3:32. Jesse. This is David’s father. Jesse and his eight sons were of the Tribe of Judah and lived in Bethlehem (1 Sam 16:1; 17:12; 20:27; Ruth 4:22; Acts 13:22; Rom 15:12).

Obed. Nothing is known about Obed. There are others in Scripture with the same name (1 Chr 2:37; 11:47).

Boaz. This is one of the main individuals in the Book of Ruth. He owned grain fields and married a Moabite woman named Ruth.

Salmon Nothing is known about Salmon, and is the only person in Scripture with this name.

Nahshon. There is one other man in Scripture with the same name, which might possibly be the one mentioned here. This other man lived at the time of Moses, and was one of the chiefs of the twelve tribes (Exod 6:23; Num 1:7). If so, his sister married Aaron.

3:33. Amminadab. Nothing is known about Amminidab, and if he is the father of the Nashon mentioned in Exodus 6:23, is the only person in Scripture with this name

Ram. There is a difficult textual problem with this name, which may lead to the possible inclusion of two other names at this point, Admin and Arni. Given the diversity of views, it is difficult to say anything about Ram (or Aram, as in some translations).

Hezron. This is likely the Hezron mentioned in Genesis 46:12. Nothing else is known about him, but there are others in Scripture with the same name (Exod 6:14; Num 26:6).

Perez. This individual is also listed in Genesis 38:29 and 46:12. This was Judah’s son through Tamar when Judah slept with her thinking she was a prostitute. The genealogy in Ruth begins with Perez.

Judah. This is the founding father of the Tribe of Judah, and was one of Jacob’s ten son through Leah (Gen 29:35; 35:23). More can be read about him in Genesis 37-49. A man with an identical name was mentioned in 3:30.

3:34. Jacob. This is one of the founding fathers of Israel. He was the son of Isaac and Rebekah, and the younger twin brother of Esau (Gen 25:19-26). His name is changed to Israel in Genesis 35:10, and the names of the Twelve Tribes take their names from Jacob’s twelve sons. There are technically thirteen tribes, with two tribes being named after Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen 48:5). Levi received no land, and so there were still only twelve divisions.

Isaac. This is the son born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age (Gen 21:1-7). He also is considered one of the founding fathers of Israel.

Abraham. This is the original founding father of Israel. He is the man of faith from whom God decided to call out a people from the world for Himself (Genesis 12-25). He is the father of faith, and one of the leading figures in all of Judaism. Matthew’s genealogy begins with Abraham. The names on the rest of this genealogy come from Genesis 5:1-32; 11:10-26; 1 Chronicles 1:1-26. These references will not be repeated with each name.

Terah. Terah is the father of Abraham. They lived in Ur. Joshua 24:2 indicates that he worshiped idols, as did Abram until God revealed Himself to Abram as the one, true God.

Nahor. Nothing else is known about Nahor. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

3:35. Serug. Nothing else is known about Serug. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

Reu. Nothing else is known about Reu. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

Peleg. Nothing else is known about Peleg. He is the only person in Scripture with this name. Genesis 10:25 indicates that in his days, the earth was divided. It is not known exactly what the biblical author meant by this.

Eber. Nothing else is known about Eber. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

Shelah. Nothing else is known about Shelah. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

3:36. Cainan. Nothing else is known about Cainan. There is another person with the same name in 3:37. Noah has a grandson named Canaan, which is similar, but not identical (Gen 9:18).

Arphaxad. Nothing else is known about Arphaxad. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

Shem. This was one of Noah’s three sons. After Noah got drunk, Ham mocked his father, but Japheth and Shem covered their father’s nakedness. As a result, Noah blessed Japheth and Shem (Gen 9:22-27).

Noah. It was during the lifetime of Noah that the great flood came upon the earth (Genesis 6-9). Due to his faith in building the ark, he is frequently mentioned in Scripture.

Lamech. Little is known about Lemech. He is known for killing another man, but declaring his own innocence (Gen 4:23-24).

3:37. Methuselah. Little is known about Methuseleh except that Scripture records he lived longer than any other man (Gen 5:27).

Enoch. The Scripture states that Enoch walked with God, and so God kept Enoch from death (Gen 5:24; Jude 14). Nothing else is known about Enoch.

Jared. Nothing else is known about Jared. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

Mahalalel. Nothing else is known about Mahalalel. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

Cainan. Nothing else is known about Cainan. There is another person with the same name in 3:36.

3:38. Enosh. Nothing else is known about Enosh. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

Seth. Little else is known about Seth. He was the third son of Adam and Eve, after Cain was cursed for murdering Abel. He is the only person in Scripture with this name.

Adam. This is the father of the human race. He was created from the dust of the ground, given life by the breath of God, and given the earth to tend. Bringing the genealogy all the way back to the first man, Adam, helps focus the reader on two related concepts. First, by going all the way to Adam, rather than stopping at Abraham, Luke shows that the Gospel of the Kingdom is not only for the Jewish people, but is for all who are children of God — all who are sons of Adam. And yet, Luke will soon show that Jesus is the son of God in a special and unique way (Wright 2004:40).

But second, just as the first Adam led humanity into rebellion against God when he sinned by eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2-3), so also, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, must provide a way of redemption and reconciliation. But of course, before He can do this, He must succeed where Adam failed, in facing the temptations of the devil. This provides a perfect transition to Luke 4, and the 40 days of temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness.

God. The final name on the genealogy is God. No other genealogical record in Scripture or extra-biblical literature ends in this way (Malina 2003:366). Once again, this is Luke’s way of showing that in some sense, all humans are sons of God, not just Caesar. And Jesus is the ultimate “son of God” (cf. 3:22; 4:3). Here also is a reminder that Adam was created in the image of God, and so also, in some sense, all who are human bear God’s image. But through sin, that image has been marred. Jesus Christ perfectly reveals God, wants to restore the image, and reveals what it looks like to be the image of God.

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