Genealogy was important to the people of Jesus’ day. If a man wanted to serve as a priest in the Temple he had to prove that he was a descendent of Aaron. If he could only trace his lineage back to Levi, then he became a Levite. The line of Judah was important too. In 2 Samuel 7: 8-16, the Lord promises David (a descendant of Judah) that he would always have an heir on the throne of Israel. In Jesus’ day King Herod was a feeble attempt by the Romans to placate the Jewish people with a ruler of their own stock. But Herod was only half Jewish and he was despised by the people because of it. They understood the covenant and wanted the real thing!
As rulers, the line of Judah often failed. Therefore in Jeremiah 22:28-30 we read that the Lord cursed Jeconiah (a.k.a Coniah) that due to his wicked deeds he and his descendants would never again rule on the throne of David. But how could this be? Jeconiah was a descendant of David and the Lord told David that his line would rule forever. And why with this curse hanging over the line of David, would Matthew and Luke go to such lengths to prove that Jesus was of David’s lineage?
Careful reading of these two family trees reveals that only Matthew’s account includes the name of Jeconiah. Matthew, by tracing Joseph’s line, is building an argument for Jesus’ legal claim to the throne of David. He was entitled to the throne since his father was a descendant of David. Mary was also a descendant of David. But her family tree does not include Jeconiah. Mary’s lineage is traced through Nathan, a branch of David’s line that was not associated with Jeconiah’s curse. This allowed God to fulfill the Davidic Covenant, that the Messiah would be a descendant of David and rule on the throne forever (Luke 1:31-33). Luke goes one step further than Matthew. He traces Christ’s lineage all the way back to Adam. He wants us to realize that Jesus did not fulfill the Covenant merely for one nation’s sake, but for the sake of all mankind.
Did you ever suspect you were part of a royal family? Romans 8: 16-17 says, The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. Royals walk around with a sense of dignity and purpose. They know who they are, the importance of their position and their standing. The royals we admire most are those who do not use their position as an excuse for self-indulgence or pride, but rather as a means to help the less fortunate in their homeland as well as abroad. It seems we are quite fascinated with them too- especially when they break protocol and “do their own thing” as Prince Harry and his wife Meghan did recently when they announced they would step down from the British monarchy. Marrying into a family is challenge enough but imagine marrying into a family with thousands of years of tradition, royal protocol and a pecking order that hasn’t changed for decades and you can imagine the drama that’s about to unfold if your “style” doesn’t match theirs. But the family of God is different. Our royalty does not come from marrying into it, it is something God confers to us out of His love when we place our faith in Christ (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
In light of these thoughts, what should the children, the heirs, of the Heavenly King look like? What type of attitudes and behaviors should they display? How should they treat the people they come in contact with each day? You may not be able to trace your earthly lineage as thoroughly as mine. But your spiritual legacy is laid out for you in the Word of God. So live your life as the royal you are!
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
https://www.annhlefevre.com; Olivetreeann@mail.com; https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlefevre; https://www.facebook.com/ann.h.lefevre