Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XII: Christianity's Certification By Evidence Of Christ's Genealogy
(Luke 3:23-38)
  1. Introduction
    1. One of the challenges opponents of the Christian faith have tried to promote is that Christianity is too local a belief that caters only to Western Civilizations, that it is not intended to be universal like ecumenism or the Masonic beliefs. The complaint stems from the suggestion that one should expect a true Creator of the universe to have been much more inclusive, much more universal in reaching His creatures on earth. This criticism most often takes the form of the following question: "If Christianity is the true religion, how about the heathen in Third World nations that have never heard the Gospel?"
    2. In writing his Gospel to show the certainty of the Christian faith (Luke 1:4), Luke demonstrated the great universality of the personality of Christ beginning with His genealogy as follows:
  2. Christianity's Certification By Evidence Of Christ's Genealogy, Luke 3:23-38.
    1. Luke's genealogy of Jesus, contrary to Matthew's genealogy, traces Christ's actual genetic lineage instead of his legal lineage that establishes His right to Israel's throne:
      1. Some feel that the phrase in Luke 3:23 in the KJV of "being as was supposed the son of Joseph" should be in parentheses as the structure of the phrase is uniquely different in the Greek text than the phrases in the rest of the genealogy, cf. G. Coleman Luck, Luke: The Gospel of the Son of Man, p. 41.
      2. In reality then, the genealogy actually starts with Heli, the next name after Joseph.
      3. If we keep in mind that Joseph was not the actual genetic father of Jesus due to the existence of the virgin birth as shown from Lk. 1:34-35, and that the lineage from David to Jesus dramatically differs betwe en Matthew's account and Luke's where Luke traces the line through an obscure son of David, Nathan where Matthew records the line through Solomon, we can conclude that Matthew was establishing Jesus' right to the Messianic, Jewish throne by way of legal ado ption through Joseph where Luke's burden was to show the genetic roots of Jesus alone, Ibid., p. 42. [Lk. 3:31b and Mtt. 1:6b]
      4. Thus, in tracing the genetic lineage of Jesus instead of His Messianic line, Luke overlooked matters of Jesus' origins that were of interest only to the Jew to focus on what was significant to Gentiles.
    2. In focusing on Christ's roots, Luke, contrary to Matthew's account, downplays the significance of the first Jew, Abraham. Matthew starts with Abraham, the Hebrew patriarch as significant and comes down from the patriarch in Jewish fashion to Jesus, Mtt. 1:1, 16; Luke rather focuses on Jesus and just traces His line backwards to find His roots without a significance on the role of the Jewish patriarch, Lk. 3:23, 38.
    3. In focusing on Christ's genetic roots, Luke, unlike Matthew, goes far beyond Abraham, the father of the Hebrew race to see where even he came from, going back even beyond the Noahic flood to creation itself of the whole human race, cf. Mtt. 1:1 versus Luke 3:38!
    4. Thus, Luke's point is that Jesus is the key in God's program to reach the world as the Savior not only of the Jew, but of all of Adam's sons. Christianity is, from its inception, intended to be universally applied!
Lesson: One of the greatest evidences for the Christian faith is that Christianity was the FIRST world religion that, from its INCEPTION, was intended to be universally applied! The God of the Christian is certainly the CREATOR, for He has from the beginnings of the very GENETIC ORIGINS of Christ intended to make Him the Savior of all men, cf. 1 John 4:14; John 3:16.

Application: (1) The next time someone asks: "How can Christianity be true if its God hasn't bothered to be concerned about the poor heathen?", recall Luke's genealogy of Christ that shows God always planned for all to be saved. (2) Thus, the reas on anyone in the world is LOST is because of his own inexcusable REJECTION of what truth he ALREADY has: (a) Acts 17:26-30 reveals that God has arranged geographical and political boundaries in history to drive all men to seek Him for answers, and (b) Rom. 1:18-23 shows that men perish for SUPPRESSING what revelation about God they already can see in nature. [Incidentally, this point shows belief in evolution due to nature's revelation about God to be an inexcusable form of repressive rebellion!]