“Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josek, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon,[d] the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,[e] the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” Luke 3.23-38
If you’ve made it this far then congratulations! Reading a list of 41 names can be a bit off-putting. I was going to include the first (Joseph) and the last (God) names but then why not include the whole thing!
This is the second generational list of Jesus’ ancestors, stating his family line and claim to not only David’s throne as suggested by the Gospel of Matthew, but also as God’s Son as evidenced here in Luke. Scholars way smarter than me have tried to make sense of this and I imagine have written plenty of books covering this genealogy be it biological in nature, spiritual or symbolic. But for my purposes, I’m going the simpler practical route with these three obvious highlights — Jesus was thirty when he began his public ministry, he was a the adoptive son of Joseph and the biological Son of God.
Who we belong to matters. For example, I often share that I am the son of Larry and Becky Freeman, a fact of which I am proud. I am also blessed to be in the family line of Phil and Georgianne Simmons and Alfred and Carolyn Freeman. Both of whom were god-fearing couples, remained married their entire lives, and served God’s church to the best of their ability. The Freemans’ can boast a long line of Methodist clergy of which I am the 7th generation (along with my cousin Kirk who became a baptist preacher lol.) The Simmons boast being educators, teachers, and farmers.
I am who I am in part because of who they (my parents and grandparents) were. And my wife Lane can make the same boasts — godly parents, godly grandparents, and so forth. We are products of fruitful and faithful lives going back generations. Who we are is not solely been determined by what we have done in this life. Credit should be given to those who have gone before us.
Now let’s talk about Jesus. He is God in the Flesh which says a lot. He could stand alone, forgetting his Father, hiding his heritage, ignoring his earthly adoptive dad. But he didn’t. He stood proudly in this history. So much so that he, through the power of the Holy Spirit, encouraged this to be included in the synoptic Gospels, a fact suggesting it’s importance. Jesus owns who he is, he claims it, he thrives in it. Why? Because because his identity isn’t shaped just but what he does but by who has gone before him.
This says something about the legacy we leave behind. Who we are today might just impact those who come after us. In fact, it absolutely will. Just as it’s impossible to hide our ancestry, it’s impossible to hide our legacy. Which is why what we do, who we are, and how we live today matters.
Jesus lived a life worthy of his forefathers and foremothers. His example is one we should take to heart. The Apostle Paul emphasized this in Ephesians 5.1 when he said, “Be imitators of God.” And again in Philippians 2 when he spoke of Jesus who “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.”
Since your legacy matters just as much as your heritage, how are living as to represent Jesus for future generations? In other words, how you imitate God now will impact your ancestors for years to come.
“O Lord God, your Word is so good! Thank you for allowing me to walk in holiness, to act in kindness and to be filled with peace. It is never easy! I thank you that even when those who have gone before me failed to love you, you acted with mercy, justice and grace. Come now, Holy Sprit, fill me with love that my children, grandchildren and greats will know of your existence and experience you in power and truth. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen