And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,…
As we glance through the list of names given in these chapters (Matthew 1. and Luke 3.), we see that few could claim a higher descent than could the carpenter Joseph and the gentle woman to whom he was espoused. They were both lineally descended from the ancient kings of the proud tribe of Judah — from Solomon and David — and, going further back, from the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — from Shorn, from Seth, from Adam. Their family tree in one place covered a space of 2,000 years; in another of more than 4,000 years. Yet they were poor, humble, unrecognized. In the lapse of time there are fluctuations and undulations. While some families have their flows, others have their ebbs. While some rise in wealth and consequent honour, others glide into poverty and insignificance. The old stock wears out, the new tree takes its place. The world, constituted as it is, recognizes lineage only when it is accompanied by wealth. By itself it is a voice from the past, and nothing more. Could we read the history of men's lives, and trace their descent, we should have plenty of examples of this. We see it in our own times. Examples crowd on us without difficulty. It is not long since the gallant son of an emperor died as a simple soldier in the British uniform. It is asserted that the last scion of a kingly race, sprung from the warrior Cid, eked out a miserable existence — neglected, half-starved — in London, where he died a few years ago. The descendants of one of the most remarkable men of the sixteenth century are a poor peasant family in a Midland County to-day — decent folk enough, but certainly "unhonoured and unsung." Such was the case with the gentle Mary of Nazareth. Some people boast of their patrician birth. The boasting, at least, confers no merit upon them. If Mary wished, she might with reason have boasted too. Though a peasant, she sprang from kings; though poor, her ancestors were wealthy; though humble, one of her forefathers was the wisest of men. But her claim to honour came not from the past — it was reflected back from the future. It was not due to the long line of an unbroken pedigree, but from Him she was to bear... With the exception of the two of our Lord, there are no genealogies in the New Testament, whereas there are several in the Old Testament. Moreover, St. Paul, himself descended from Jacob's youngest son, wrote this counsel to Timothy, "Neither give heed to endless genealogies," and to Titus, "Avoid foolish question and genealogies... for they are unprofitable and vain." Is there no significance in this? Family records were scrupulously guarded under Judaism; they were ignored, even condemned, under Christianity. Why so? Because Christianity's principle sweeps away all walls of partition, blots out all records, tears down all red lines which may separate man from man. Christianity teaches that each and every man, whoever he be, is a brother; and each and every woman a sister. Christianity. abrogates and denounces whatever tends to pride, or assumption, or superciliousness, or self-conceit. It teaches that in God's sight, prince and beggar, patrician and peasant, are on the same level. It teaches gentleness and thoughtfulness and politeness towards all. It teaches that the highest claim to descent is to be a true child of God; the highest society, true membership with Christ; the highest inheritance, that which we have if we only keep it — the kingdom of heaven.
(C. E. Drought, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,