The Scriptorium

Son of God, Second Adam

Luke's genealogy takes it all in. Luke 3.23-38

Gleanealogy: Forward, Ever Forward (6)

Pray Psalm 87.1-3.
His foundation is in the holy mountains.
The LORD loves the gates of Zion
More than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God!

Sing joyfully and with thanksgiving Psalm 87.1-4.
(St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
Upon the holy mountains rest the footings of the Lord,
Who loves of Israel’s flock the best the keepers of His Word.

For glorious things are spoken of the City of our God;
The nations know His matchless love wher’er His feet have trod.

Read Luke 3.23-38.

1. Why is this genealogy important?

2. How does this genealogy lead us to think about Jesus?

The two genealogies of Jesus – here and in Matthew 1 – are important for tying Him into Abraham, Judah, and David. Each follows a bit of a different course, listing different names from David to Jesus. Luke follows the descent through David’s son Nathan, while Matthew traces it through Solomon.

This is an ascending genealogy; it begins with Jesus and works its way back through time to Adam and God. In so doing it locates Jesus in His heavenly, as well as His earthly provenance. He is the eternal Son of God Who became the Son of Man by virtue of His birth through the virgin. Some have suggested that the phrase “as was supposed” in relation to Joseph could indicate that this is Mary’s genealogy – and that Heli (v. 23) was actually her father, and not Joseph’s – whereas Matthew’s genealogy is that of Joseph. Jesus would be Davidic in His pedigree on both sides, and divine as to His provenance in the eternal Godhead.

The genealogy lists 76 generations from Adam to Jesus, suggesting that the generation that descends from Jesus – all those who believe in Him – is the 77th generation, a number symbolic both of completion and forgiveness (cf. Lk. 17.4). In this view, the generation spawned by Jesus would be the generation that realizes the fulfillment of God’s covenant. All who come to the Father through faith in Jesus are sons and daughters of God, whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Luke’s genealogy covers the entire scope of redemptive history from its beginning in eternity to the incarnation of Jesus and the beginning of His ministry. Prominent names – Zerubbabel, David, Judah, Abraham, Noah, and Seth, for example – invite us to pause, reflect, and give thanks to God for His sovereign maintenance of His covenant. Luke tells us that the book of Acts is the continuing record of what Jesus began to do, as he reported in his gospel. Here he suggests that his gospel is the continuing record of what God began to do in the Old Testament. His genealogy has the effect of “Previously in the unfolding of the divine plan for redemption…”

In this genealogy Jesus is presented both as the Son of God and as the second Adam. Since Jesus is the new Adam, and forgiveness and wholeness are the gifts He brings, the Church is the new creation and the new garden of Eden, in and from which God unfolds His Kingdom of righteousness, peace, joy, and power in the Holy Spirit.

The genealogies in Luke and Matthew provide a two-sided lesson on how to read and understand the Word of God. Matthew shows us that Scripture and history lead to Jesus, move toward Him, unfold to reveal more of Him, create anticipation of Him, and do so in a carefully planned and orderly manner. Luke shows us that Scripture and history point us back to creation and upward to God and His purposes, which are revealed to us and fulfilled in Jesus.

1. Why do you suppose Luke waited until after Jesus’ baptism to introduce this genealogy? Why not put it at the very beginning, like Matthew did?

2. Why did Luke trace the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Adam and God? Why not just stop at Abraham (hint: remember that all the names before Abraham were non-Jews)?

3. This list ascends in the order in which the names appear, but it descends as you read down through it. Should we attach any spiritual meaning to this?

Matthew’s list of the forefathers of Jesus showed that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and heir to the throne of David; but Luke shows that Jesus was the Seed of the woman that should break the serpent’s head, and traces the line up to Adam, beginning with Eli, or Heli, the father, not of Joseph, but of Mary.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 3.23-38

Lord, I rejoice to be in Your family! Thank You for the grace that has registered me with You. Help me to live like my faithful forebears in the faith today as I…

Pray Psalm 87.3-7.
Pray for the people of God worldwide, that all whom God is calling to Himself through Jesus may be “registered” for salvation, and may rejoice in the Lord and His goodness. Make a point to pray for specific believers you expect to see today, and ask the Lord to show you how you can encourage them in their walk with and work for Him.

Sing Psalm 87.3-7.
Psalm 87.3-7 (St. Anne: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
For glorious things are spoken of the City of our God;
The nations know His matchless love wher’er His feet have trod.

From south and north, from east and west they come, called by His grace;
Thus Zion stands, full strong and blessed, before the Savior’s face.

The Lord will count and tally all in Jesus born again;
Then let them sing, who on Him call, “We joy in God, Amen!”

T. M. Moore

The genealogies of Scripture reveal the heart of God in His covenant relationship with His people. To learn more about God’s covenant, order our book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here. You can learn to sing all the psalms to familiar hymn tunes by ordering a copy of The Ailbe Psalter (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore