The ancestry of Jesus is provided for us in two places in the Bible – Matthew 1 and Luke 3.

Matthew 1:1-16 lists it this way: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez, Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jeconiah, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, (whose wife was Mary, the mother of) Jesus.

And Luke 3:38 back to 23 (because it is in reverse order): God, Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez, Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David, Nathan, Mattathah, Menan, Melea, Eliakim, Jonan, Joseph, Judah, Simeon, Levi, Matthat, Jorim, Eliezer, Jose, Er, Elmodam, Cosam, Addi, Melchi, Neri, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Rhesa, Joannas, Judah, Joseph, Semei, Mattathiah, Maath, Naggai, Esli, Nahum, Amos, Mattathiah, Joseph, Janna, Melchi, Levi, Matthat, Heli, Joseph, (and, “as was supposed”) Jesus.

The italics above highlight the fact that Joseph, of course, was not the natural father of Jesus (God was), but that his human ancestry is traced through his mother, Mary.

It will be noticed that there are a number of differences in the genealogies. There are several possible explanations for this, and these are discussed in such sites as here.  However, it is important for us to understand that in addition to Jesus being obviously important in the plan and purpose of God, so also are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The reason for this is stated in Hebrews, as follows.

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore… By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.” (Hebrews 11:8-12, 17-21 ESV)

Then comes the clincher, linking Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus to all of us. “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39)

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