Luke 3:23-38: Children of God

Read: Luke 3:23-38

Two genealogies of Jesus appear in the New Testament: one in Luke and the other in Matthew 1:1-17. Genealogies can be boring, but usually within the genealogy there are little nuggets that the chronologist will inject into the in the genealogy to make a point. Luke does this as well First, he notes that Jesus is the “supposed” son of Joseph. This is a round about way of affirming the virgin birth of Jesus (as he was conceive d by the Holy Spirit), a nod to the fact that God the Father had just affirmed Jesus as his son (Luke 3:22), reaffirming what the angel told Mary (Luke 1:35), and also reaffirms what Jesus said when he acknowledge God the Father as his father when he was at the temple (Luke 2:49). But in keeping with tradition, Luke lists Joseph as his earthly father and traces the genealogy from there. Second, which is a curious thing, is that Luke calls Adam the the “son of God”. Adam was not divine, rather he was created (Genesis 2:7). John calls Jesus the “begotten son” of God (John 3:16). Likewise, Adam is the father of all those who sin, which results in death while Jesus is the one who brings life (Romans 5:12-19, 1 Corinthians 15:20-49).

An issue specific to the genealogies in New Testament surrounds the differences between the genealogies Matthew and Luke. Luke has Jesus as a Son of David by way of David’s son Nathan while Matthew has Jesus coming through the line of Solomon. A difference though does not imply a contradiction, but the reason for the difference is also unknown. Given what is known about the books, the difference may have to do with the purpose of each book. Matthew’s gospel was written to Jews, so it was important for Jesus to come from the royal line in order to be the rightful heir to the throne of David and the genealogy goes back to Abraham. Luke’s gospel was written to a Gentile so the emphasis was on the global aspect so he goes all the way back to Adam. Without more insight and evidence, the reason for the differences is likely to remain unresolved, but nevertheless it does not diminish the veracity or the points made in the genealogies.

What we can affirm from Luke’s genealogy is that Jesus is indeed the one begotten Son of God who came into the world by unusual means. His mission was to bring life by overcoming the death that had been brought into the world by Adam. For those that will believe in Jesus, they too can become “children of God” through adoption (Romans 8:14-23). While Christians have earthly parents, the parentage that one can claim is God the Father. It’s a good reminder that no matter how good or how bad one’s earthly parents may be, one can live in a loving relationship with God as Father. In the same manner, knowing how God loves his own children, parents ought to love their children too, looking to God as the model parent and be an advocate for those who don’t have parents.

Lord, I rejoice that am your child!

Luke 2:39-40: “According to the Law of the Lord”

Read: Luke 2:39-40

Two verses sum up the first 12 years of Jesus’ life on earth, but these two short verses in their context speak volumes about Jesus as a child. Jesus was born into a family with God-fearing parents. His earthly parents were meticulous about following the laws and customs of the Jewish people as demonstrated by their presentation of Jesus at the temple as an infant and their yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Luke notes the Jesus as a boy grew strong and was filled with wisdom, which greatly impressed the scribes at the temple later in his life (Luke 2:47). Luke also notes that God’s favor was on him. Naturally, this should be expected being that Jesus was God incarnate, nevertheless Jesus was also a human being that had the same challenges people struggle with, including learning.

It seems that through God’s providence, Jesus was placed in a God-fearing home so that he would indeed fulfill the Law of God. Jesus parents were instrumental in this in that because of their obedience to the law, Jesus was able to fulfill the law and was taught the law from a young age onward similar  to when Jesus underwent baptism to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:13-15). By fulfilling the Law, Jesus was able to be the perfect and final sacrifice for sin to all who believe (Matthew 5:17-18, Hebrews 10:3-12). When Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples of all nations, part of the command is to teach the disciples to obey what he commanded.

Jesus’ fulfillment of the law made him the ultimate example to follow. He also had the authority to make the command to make disciples and that command was obeyed by his disciples onward. Part of disciple making involves parents teaching their children to obey the ways of God as Joseph and Mary did with Jesus. The Bible speaks to this in a number of places: Deuteronomy 4:9, Deuteronomy 6:7, Psalm 78:1-8, Proverbs 4, Proverbs 22:6, Proverbs 29:17, Ephesians 6:4, Hebrews 12:7-10. Statistics show that when both parents are involved in the spiritual upbringing of a child, that child is more likely to follow in their parent’s footsteps in do the same. It may be hard at times, but the fulfillment of a spiritual upbringing is both life to the child and a blessing for the parent!

Lord, help me to teach those in my care to obey what I have been taught to obey!