THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS- Introduction
As far back as the third century A.D. people have wrestled with the question of who Joseph’s father was. Here in Matthew it says: Joseph is the son of Jacob, — in Luke it says Heli is Joseph’s father.
THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS- Who Is Joseph’s Father?
With the wide assortment of solutions that have been proposed to explain who Joseph’s father was, the issue becomes not so much whether this problem can be resolved but, rather, which answer presents the best solution. Well, while there are a lot of ways to clear up the apparent difficulty — here’s what I think is the most reasonable:
THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS- Two Different Lineages for Two Different People
The two genealogies are going to vary obviously because they trace two very different lineages of two very different people. Matthew charts Joseph’s line, while Luke charts Mary’s. The genealogy found in the opening chapter of Matthew is intended to legitimize Christ’s claim as Messiah and the rightful ruler over Israel, by charting the kingly line of succession to which Joseph belongs. Jesus (as the legal firstborn of Joseph) becomes the lawful Heir to David’s throne.
THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS- Why the Son of Heli?
On the other hand, Luke’s genealogy gives us the physical ancestry of Jesus, which also traces back to David. Of course the question can be asked: if Jesus’ line of physical descent is linked with Mary, why isn’t she included in the list? Why do we find Joseph once again — this time as the son of Heli? To explain the absence of Mary’s name, all we need to do is realize that it was not customary for the Jewish people to list women in direct lines of descent.
THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS- Mary as Heir
In addition, had Heli actually died leaving no male offspring, the inheritance would, of course, have passed over to his daughter, Mary. Under such circumstances, provisions were made to preserve the name of the husband’s father-in-law, who in this case happened to be Heli. Bottom line: according to Jewish law, Joseph became the son of Heli upon his marriage to Mary.
THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS- Conclusion
Obviously the infallibility of the Bible does not rest solely on this one particular explanation. But it does amply demonstrate that the alleged discrepancy can be reconciled.On the genealogical difficulties in Matthew and Luke, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.