The Saviour Of All
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
Chan Gin Kai
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... the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:23-38)
Genealogies were very important to the Jews and every family carefully preserved records of their family trees. Public records were also readily available. The famous historian Josephus wrote that he could find his genealogy “as I find it recorded on public tables”. One of the most prominent Jewish teachers Hillel was able to prove with existent records that he was a descendant of King David. Thus, it is not surprising that Luke could put together a genealogy of Jesus using private and public records.
Anyone who compares the genealogy by Luke and the one by Matthew (Matthew 1), would find significant differences between them. But this is certainly not because of any discrepancies in the Bible.
Most scholars agree that this can be easily explained – Matthew followed Jesus genealogy through Joseph (Jesus’ legal lineage) while Luke followed it through Mary (Jesus’ actual lineage). That was why Luke had written in his record, “He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph”. Luke had used Joseph (instead of Mary), because he followed ancient customs in leaving out women’s name in genealogies, even though it was Mary who was the daughter of Heli (the next name mentioned). The Talmud, an extensive compilation of Jewish commentary, recorded Heli as the father of Mary, thus supporting this explanation.
What is also very interesting is where Matthew and Luke traced their respective genealogies to.
Matthew was a Jew and he wrote his gospel with the Jews as his target audience. Thus he traced Jesus’ genealogy back to Abraham, the great patriarch and father of the tribes of Israel. This was what the Jews cared about and what Matthew had focused on.
Luke, on the other hand, was a Greek and he wrote to a non-Jewish audience. He traced Jesus’ genealogy all the way back to Adam because he wanted to show that Jesus belonged not only to the Jewish people, but to all humankind. Luke wanted to show that Jesus is the Saviour of the children of Adam; that's everyone!
Luke was interestingly the only one who recorded what Simeon said when Jesus was presented at the temple, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32)
Luke strived to show through his gospel that Jesus is the Saviour of both the Jews and the Gentiles; Jesus is the Saviour of all.
Jesus is my Saviour.
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".