Jesus' Family Tree

In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus' genealogy, or family tree, precedes the account of his birth to make the point that he was a direct descendant of Abraham, whom Paul described as the “father of the faithful” (Romans 4:11; “the father of all them that believe” in the King James version), and of David, the second king of Israel and the one most highly esteemed by the nation ever after, and the king most highly regarded by God Himself. The Gospel begins with “the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” It was commonly believed among the Jewish people that the Messiah would be a member of the House of David, and would be born in Bethlehem of Judea.


Some Eastern European Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas thirteen days after Catholics, Protestants, and other Orthodox do, but do not date the holiday as falling on January 7. On their calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar in A.D. 45), December 25 falls 13 days later than in the Gregorian calendar (introduced by the Pope in 1582).

Whereas Matthew traces Jesus from Abraham through his stepfather Joseph, Luke traces him backward from Joseph all the way to Adam. This evidences the different primary audiences intended by the two Gospel writers: the Jewish people in Matthew's case, who would have to see Jesus as a “Jew of the Jews,” and Christians who weren't of Jewish origin in Luke's. Matthew emphasizes the royal bloodline, whereas Luke emphasizes his blood relationship with the whole race of humankind.

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