Jesus’ Family Tree is outlined in the first verses of Matthew. Matthew is considered the first book of the New Testament, so this makes the family line of Jesus the very first verses of the new covenant, or new promise, fulfilling all that was presented in the Old Testament.
Matthew was originally written in Greek, so often times the names in various translations may change a bit (Judas vs. Judah, for example). In a similar way, traditional translations, like the King James Version, may use the word “begat”, which can also mean “was the father of.” Of interesting note, is in verse 16, where Jesus is presented, and the words no longer continue as “begat, begat, begat” but change: “Jacob was the father of Joseph who was the husband of Mary.” It continues to say that “Mary was the mother of Jesus,” but does NOT say that Joseph begat Jesus, or that Joseph was the father of Jesus.
Genealogies were very important in Jewish heritage, as they are in many cultures still today, so it is significant that the genealogy here would be consistent with the truth of Jesus’ family tree, his mother and father.
When looking at the beginnings of each of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it seems, at first glance, that only Matthew and Luke begin with genealogies. But, on further inspection and when considering the purpose and audience of each book, we can see something else:
- Matthew: written to the Jews as the link between the Old and New Testaments (hence it being the first book of the Bible!) to present Jesus as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, as the Messiah of Israel. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that Jesus’ messianic prophetic fulfillment be presented (in the bloodline of Abraham) and his kingship as the royal seed of David.
- Mark: written to present the serving Christ (“I come not to be served, but to serve”); Mark was Peter’s disciple (Peter opened the doors of the gospel and the church to the Gentiles (non-Jews)), and Mark had one parent who was Jewish, and one parent who was a Gentile. Mark was writing to the Roman world and presenting Jesus as a servant, both of which genealogies were not important. So, Mark doesn’t start with a genealogy, but with John the Baptist (current events)
- Luke: written to present the humanness of Jesus, Luke was a doctor, interested in proving the biological genealogy from Adam all the way through Mary (bloodline) to Jesus.
- John: written to the Church, John writes to express the deity or Godliness of Jesus Christ as creator, light of the world, bread of life, redeemer. In this way a genealogy is included, but it is as Jesus is the Word of God, and in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God. Jesus is the Word.
Next of note, are the women in the genealogy of Jesus. Click here to continue.
Or, click here to read Matthew 1.