Luke 3:23

I. DIFFICULTY. There is something singular, to say the least, in the baptism of our Lord. In that solemn inauguration of the Saviour, as he entered on his public ministry, a difficulty is encountered. That difficulty respects the significance of the rite in relation to the spotless Son of God. Water, when applied to the person or used in the way of ablution, is employed as an element of cleansing. But the idea of cleansing necessarily carries along with it the notion of defilement. The thought of pollution, from whatever source derived, or in whatever way contracted, or in whatever it may consist, is inseparably connected with it. Cleansing has as its natural and necessary correlative uncleanness either expressed or implied.

II. INAPPLICABLE TO OUR LORD. Yet the Saviour was not only holy, harmless, and undefiled in life; but at his birth and in the very nature of his humanity, he was free from every taint and unsullied by the least stain of sin, as it is written, "Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God," or more literally, "Therefore also that which is born of thee, being holy, shall be called the Son of God." It is probable that the Baptist felt at once the awkwardness of his own position, and the incongruity of administering to One so perfectly pure and undefiled a rite which, as the symbol of cleansing, implied a previous condition or natural state of impurity and defilement.

III. THE BAPTIST'S RELUCTANCE. In view of the circumstance just mentioned, as well as of the overwhelming superiority of the Divine applicant, John expressed such extreme lothness to administer the rite. Nay more, that reluctance took the form of a somewhat firm refusal: "But John," we read, "forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" The imperfect διεκώλυεν may imply the commencement, that is, began to prevent, or be used de conatu of the endeavor to prevent, while the prepositional element imports activity and earnestness in the effort. It was only after a remonstrance on the part of the Saviour, and after he had pointed out to John the propriety of the course, that the Baptist yielded. The reason alleged by our Lord, while it was sufficient to overcome the scruples of the Baptist, is serviceable to us in inquiring into the nature of the ordinance then administered. True, that reason is expressed in somewhat general terms, as follows: - "Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness;" but wherein this righteousness consisted, and holy it was fulfilled, we proceed briefly to investigate.

IV. PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST. It will be borne in mind that our Lord, though a priest after the order of Melchisedec, and superior to that of Aaron, was nevertheless the great Antitype of the Aaronic priesthood. The priest of the Aaronic order was typical of the great High Priest of our profession. The rites of consecration in the one case may, therefore, be regarded as helpful in elucidating the mode of inauguration in the other.

V. CEREMONIAL OF CONSECRATIONS. At the ceremonial of consecrating the Aaronic priest, there was

(1) anointing with oil, and

(2) washing with water.

The oil was emblematical of the Spirit, the water of separation from all that would unfit for the service of the Holy One; the anointing with oil signified the bestowal of the needful endowments, the washing with water the impartation of the necessary moral qualities; the one has reference to the gifts, the other to the graces, required for the proper and efficient discharge of the priestly functions. It was thus with the type, while, in the case of the Antitype, the figure was realized in the fact; the sign gave place to the thing signified. In other words, the unction of the Spirit took the place of the anointing with oil; the washing with water, which in reference to the Levitical priest denoted the necessity for purity in the service of God, and entire separation from anything that would defile, implied, in relation to the Redeemer, the actual possession of that purity in its highest perfection, and of that separation from all possibility of defiling or contaminating influence.

VI. REFERENCE TO PRIESTLY CHARACTER.

1. Accordingly, the baptism of our Lord had respect to the priestly character he sustained, not to any human imperfection that required to be repented of, or impurity that needed to be removed; so that the righteousness which it behoved to fulfill was conformity to the rite of priestly consecration; while the type merged in the antitype, and the figure gave place to fact. He was now about thirty years of age (the Levitical period) when he began his ministry.

2. Another explanation solves the difficulty by giving prominence to the representative character of Christ. He came as the representative of a people guilty in God's sight, and morally unclean; and as he afterwards bore their sins in his own body on the tree in order to expiate their guilt, so now he was baptized vicariously because of their uncleanness, in token of his purpose to purge away their filth. "He was baptized," not as though in need of it himself, but on behalf of the human race; and such is the opinion of Justin Martyr. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh - made sin for us, and so numbered with and treated as a transgressor.

3. Other explanations of the matter, still less probable, have been given, as for example

(1) that it was the perfection and proof of humility; and

(2) that it was for the purpose of being made manifest to the people, and that in presence of so great a concourse the Baptist might bear testimony to his Messiahship; which appears to be the view of Theophylact.

VII. THE PRESENCE OF THE TRINITY. At the baptism of our Lord the three Persons of the blessed Trinity were present or represented. The voice of the eternal Father came ringing down out of the cleaving heavens as they were rending asunder; the Holy Spirit in dove-like form descended; the beloved Sou was the subject of the former, and the recipient of the latter. Thus Father, Son, and Holy Spirit inaugurated the Christian dispensation at its commencement; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit impart the grace and bestow the blessings of this dispensation during its continuance; while Father, Son, and Holy Spirit shall share the glory at its close. And so in the beautiful words of the TeDeum -

"The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;
The Father of an infinite majesty;
Thine honorable, true, and only Son
Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter."

VIII. THREEFOLD TESTIMONY. Thrice during our Lord's public ministry a voice from heaven testified to his Messiahship - once at his baptism as just noticed; once on the Mount of Transfiguration; and once during Passion week, in the courts of the temple, as we read in the Gospel of St. John, John 12:28, "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."

IX. TRIPLE RECORD. Again this acknowledgment of the Father puts honor on the Divine Word, for, from the three leading divisions of it - the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms - that acknowledgment is taken. The words, "Thou art my Son," are taken from the second Psalm; from Genesis, the first book of the Law, Genesis 22:28, we have the expression, "My beloved Son;" while in the Prophets, namely, Isaiah 42:1, we find the remaining clause, "In whom I am well pleased."

X. CHANGE IN THE BAPTIST'S PREACHING. The Galilean valley and the Judaean desert were far separate. Though closely allied by kinship, and more closely still by oneness of spirit, John and Jesus had grown up apart; their first actual contact was at the baptism of the latter. Personal acquaintance there had been none; or if there had, it did not contribute to the Baptist's recognition of his Messiah. Either by a conversation of which we have no record, or by direct revelation immediately before the baptism, the important fact was made known to the Baptist. Be this as it may, one very remarkable effect resulted from it. The style, and indeed the subject, of the Baptist underwent an entire change. Previously his manner had been denunciatory; subsequently it became conciliatory. Before he had borrowed his imagery from the harsh features of the surrounding desert - the rude rocks, the poisonous vipers, the barren tree; or from the rough ways and works of agricultural life, such as may have existed on the verge of the wilderness - the threshing-floor, the winnowing implement and the worthless chaff. But now he tempers and softens his mode of speech with figures from the sanctuary and its service - the lamb slain, the sin sacrifice, and the expiation. We hear no more of viperous broods - vipers themselves and sprung from vipers; no more of fruitless trees, fit only for the fire; no more of stones taking the place of sons, that is, of abanim becoming banira; no more of the sifting and separating process by which the good groin would be garnered and the worthless residue gathered into heaps for burning. On the other hand, we read of the Lamb as the Sin-bearer, and salvation as the blessedness secured; in other words, we have the blessed truth first uttered by the Baptist's lips, "Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!" The legal has given place to the evangelical. The first phase - equally needful and equally useful, it is true - of the Baptist's preaching is exhibited by the synoptists; the second - softer, sweeter, and superior in tone and tendency - by the penman of the fourth Gospel, the evangelist and beloved apostle John.

XI. THE BAPTIST'S FUNCTION THREEFOLD. The commission of the Baptist embraced three functions:

1. Herald-like, he was to prepare the way for the coming King by calling men to repentance.

2. He administered, on their full confession equivalent to making a clean breast of it), the rite which served as a pledge that their conviction of sin was real and their service sincere - that, in fact, they wished to act in conformity with such a direction as that of the prophet, "Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes." In all this, however, they might merely have an eye to the penal consequences of sin, and to that sweeping storm of coming wrath to which sin exposed them; and thus proceed no further than legal repentance.

3. But a yet higher office was to announce the kingdom of heaven as come down on earth, and point to the advent of its King; in other words, to direct the eye of faith to Messiah as the great Sin-sacrifice and the only Saviour. Repentance alone, especially of the legal kind referred to, could not merit the remission of sins; neither could baptism, nor yet the combination of both together: the real meritorious cause was the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God - the Lamb slain; while faith, that faith from which true evangelical repentance is never separate, was the link of union between the soul of the penitent and his Saviour. Thus John virtually preached faith as well as repentance; for his repentance-baptism derived its whole meaning and validity from faith in Christ. Evangelical repentance commences with Christ, the cross, Calvary, and is "the tear in the eye of faith" directed thereto, for, looking to him whom we have pierced, we mourn. Of this we have tolerably plain proof in the words of St. Paul (Acts 19:4), "Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, in Christ Jesus." - J.J.G.







Which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
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.)

In the first Gospel the genealogy of Jesus is placed at the very beginning of the narrative. This is easily explained. From the point of view indicated by theocratic forms, scriptural antecedents, and, if we may so express it, Jewish etiquette, the Messiah was to be a descendant of David and Abraham (Matthew 1:1.) This relationship was the sine qua non of His civil status. It is not so easy to understand why Luke thought he must give the genealogy of Jesus, and why he places it just here, between the baptism and the temptation. Perhaps, if we bear in mind the obscurity in which, to the Greeks, the origin of mankind was hidden, and the absurd fables current among them about autochthonic nations, we shall see how interesting any document would be to them, which, following the track of actual names, went back to the first father of the race. Luke's intention would thus be very nearly the same as Paul's, when he said at Athens (Acts 17:26), "God hath made of one blood the whole human race." But from a strictly religious point of view, this genealogy possessed still greater importance. In carrying it back not only, as Matthew does, as far as Abraham, but even to Adam, Luke lays the foundation of that universality of redemption which is to be one of the characteristic features of the picture he is about to draw. In this way he places in close and indissoluble connection the imperfect image created in Adam which reappears in every man, and his perfect image realized in Christ which is to be reproduced in all men. But why does Luke place this document here? Because now Jesus enters personally on the scene to commence His proper work. With the baptism, the obscurity in which He has lived until now passes away; He now appears detached from the circle of persons who have hitherto surrounded Him and acted as His patrons — viz., His parents and the forerunner. He henceforth becomes the He (ver. 23), the principal personage of the narrative. This is the moment which very properly appears to the author most suitable for giving His genealogy. The genealogy of Moses, in the Exodus, is placed in the same way, not at the opening of his biography, but at the moment when he appears on the stage of history, when he presents himself before Pharaoh. In crossing the threshold of this new era, the sacred historian casts a general glance over the period which thus reaches its close, and sums it up in this document, which might be called the mortuary register of the earlier humanity. There is, further, a difference of form between the two genealogies. Matthew comes down, while Luke ascends the stream of generations. Perhaps this difference of method depends on the difference of religious position between the Jews and the Greeks. The Jew, finding the basis of his thought in a revelation, proceeds synthetically from cause to effect; the Greek, possessing nothing beyond the fact, analyzes it, that he may proceed from effect to cause. But this difference depends more probably still on another circumstance. Every official genealogical register must present the descending form; for individuals are only inscribed in it as they are born. The ascending form of genealogy can only he that of a private instrument, drawn up from the public document with a view to the particular individual whose name serves as the starting-point of the whole list. It follows that in Matthew we have the exact copy of the official register; while Luke gives us a document extracted from the public records, and compiled with a view to the person with whom the genealogy commences.

(F. Godet, D. D.)

The general facts are these —

1. The genealogy in St. Matthew descends from Abraham to Jesus, in accordance with his object in writing mainly for the Jews; whereas St. Luke's ascends from Jesus to Adam, and to God, in accordance with his object in writing for the world in general.

2. The generations are introduced in St. Matthew by the word "begat"; in St. Luke by the genitive with the ellipse of "son."

3. Between David and Zerubbabel St. Matthew gives only fifteen names, but St. Luke twenty-one; and they are all different except that of Shealtiel (Salathiel).

4. Between Zerubbabel and Joseph St. Matthew gives only nine generations, but St. Luke seventeen; and all the names are different. The difficulty as to the number of the generations is not serious. It is a matter of daily experience that the number of generations in one line often increases far more rapidly than that in another. Moreover the discrepancies in these two lists may all be accounted for by noticing that Matthew adopts the common Jewish plan of an arbitrary numerical division into tesseradecads. When this system was adopted, whole' generations were freely omitted, for the sake of preserving the symmetry, provided that the fact of the succession remained undoubted (cf. Ezra 7:1-5 with 1 Chronicles 6:3-15). The difficulty as to the dissimilarity of names will of course only affect the two steps of the genealogies at which they begin to diverge, before they again coalesce in the names of Shealtiel and of Joseph. A single adoption, and a single levirate marriage, account for the apparent discrepancies. St. Matthew gives the legal descent through a line of kings descended from Solomon — the jus successionis; St. Luke the natural descent — the jus sanguinis. St. Matthew's is a royal, St. Luke's a natural pedigree.

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

1. These verses completely establish that essential point in the evidence of the Messiahship of Jesus, viz., His descent from David, Judah, and Abraham. Let this confirm our faith in His Divine mission; let us give our careful attention and firm adherence to the exact and particular doctrines which He teaches; and show a ready obedience to the precepts which He enjoins.

2. Among the ancestors of our Lord, there are found persons of various descriptions and characters.(1) Though His line frequently runs through the elder brother, it also often runs through a younger brother of the family, which shows that God follows His own sovereign will, and in the course of His providence often makes the first last and the last first, putting down the great and exalting those of low degree.(2) In this genealogy, too, are found some who were originally Gentiles, and strangers to the covenants of promise, as Rahab and Ruth; a circumstance which gave early proof that in Jesus Christ there was to be neither Greek nor Jew, and that the blessings of His salvation were to be proposed to every nation under heaven.(3) In His pedigree there are found some individuals who were of abandoned character, and yet He was not thereby disgraced.(4) It shows that grace does not run through families, but is the special gift of God to individuals.(5) Our Lord's condescension in accepting such a descent.

3. A glance at these generations which have passed away, naturally suggests a variety of reflections — plaintive, humble, and instructive.(1) All must die.(2) The sad consequences of sin.(3) The vanity of the world. Some few of these obtained celebrity, but how little it avails them now! Of how many the memory, and even the name, has utterly perished! How miserable are they who have no name but that which is written in the earth, and no portion but for this life I Let us seek to gain a more substantial honour.

(James Foote, M. A.)

See what a binding corner-stone the Lord Jesus is, knitting together not man to man only, Gentiles with Jews, but man with God also; and that not by a personal union only, which He hath perfected in Himself, but by a spiritual union also by which He unites all the members of His mystical body in a blessed peace and fellowship with God; and this hath He now begun, and shall perfect in the end.

(Bishop Cowper.)

Then our instruction is, that though neither our names nor our fathers, be in the catalogue of Christ's progenitors; yet if we be in the roll of His children and brethren, we shall have comfort sufficient: though He be not come of us according to the flesh, if we be come from Him, according to the Spirit, as His sons and daughters by regeneration, we shall be blessed in Him, even as they were.

(Bishop Cowper.)

A mournful yet instructive study. Take a few of the reflections arising from such a study.

1. Every individual life belongs to the great whole — the solemn ever-rolling stream of human being. No man liveth unto himself; we transmit power, weakness, even depravity.

2. Though the individual dies, the race moves on; no one being is essential to the continuance of the world; the greatest dies, yet the world hardly misses the service of his industrious hand; the most eloquent ceases his speech, yet the roar in the living air is none the less.

3. How few men of surpassing reputation there have ever been, considering the innumerable hosts of human generations; how few of these names do we know anything about — only one here and there, as David, Abraham, Enoch; but of the mass, who knows anything?

4. Yet there may be great usefulness where there is no renown; our names will perish when we cease to live, yet within the limits of our day, how much good may we do!

5. Even though a great succession may seem to be interrupted, or to have died cut, it may revive again. In this table we come to very low points, yet how the life rises, how the glory returns! "Cast down, but not destroyed." It is often thus with the spiritual seed of the Messiah, yet there has ever been a seed to serve Him, and a remnant to uphold the honour of His name.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

We learn:

I. GOD'S FIDELITY TO HIS PROMISE.

II. THE ETERNAL NEVER WORKS HURRIEDLY.

III. THE HUMAN RACE IS VERY CLOSELY INTERRELATED.

IV. THE UNIVERSALITY OF DEATH.

V. THE ALL-INCLUSIVENESS OF CHRIST'S MISSION.

VI. CHRIST THE APEX OF THIS PYRAMID AND THE CROWN AND GLORY OF THE RACE.

(J. Ossian Davies.)

The following possible explanation of the divergencies between the two genealogies of our Lord is deserving of consideration. The Jews, like other nations, gave more than one name to each individual. The life of a Jew was essentially twofold: he was a member of a civil state, and he was at the same time a member of a theocracy; his life was both political and religious. This distinction seems to have been preserved in the giving of names. Traces of the double name are found throughout the course of Scripture history. It is highly probable that the sacred name imposed at birth would be entered in a different list from the common name by which a man was known in his civil relationships. The conclusion to which we are brought is that we have before us two such registers, one drawn from public, and the other from private sources; or, as is conjectured above, one from a civil genealogy, the other from writings laid up in the Temple. In support of this view, we may note that in the genealogy in Luke — the evangelist whose opening chapters show a close familiarity with the interior of the Temple, and what took place there — the names appear to have a sacred character. Even an English reader may remark at a glance the different aspect of the two lists. That in Luke contains, with striking frequency, the familiar names of distinguished patriarchs, prophets, and priests, and thus confirms the impression that his genealogy, rather than that of a Matthew, is of a purely religious character. This hypothesis receives a remarkable confirmation by a comparison of the dates of the two lists with the dates of the first building, the destruction, and the second building of the Temple. What, then, is the relation between the two genealogies before Solomon's time, when there was no Temple? and during the lives of Salathiel and Zorobabel, who flourished at the time of the Babylonish captivity, when again, for seventy years, there was no Temple? It is precisely at these periods that only one list exists. The divergence in Luke's genealogy from that of Matthew is exactly coincident with the periods during which the Temple was standing. What explanation of this striking fact can be more natural than that at the point where the two genealogies unite there was but one list to refer to, and that the absence of entries in the sacred register required it to be supplemented by a reference to the state chronicles?

(Biblical things not generally known.)Luke carefully guards against the notion of this being the real descent, by introducing the words "as was supposed"; it was the legal descent, Joseph being legally the Lord's father; and from Joseph as the supposed father, St. Luke carries up the pedigree to the commencement of all things, that is, the creation of the man. Matthew brings down the descent from Abraham; Luke carries it up to Adam and so to God; and as the descent from Abraham was the most important for those children of Abraham who were looking for the fulfilment of the promises made to their forefathers, so the possibility of ascending to Adam and to God was the most important fact for the race of mankind at large, who had all fallen in Adam, and all looked for redemption through Christ. Dry as the long list of names in Luke may seem, it may truly be said that no passage of Scripture contains more of the essence of the gospel; Jesus is the true second Adam, because He is linked with the first; Jesus and Adam are the two heads of the human race, and they are both of them sons of God, Adam by creation, Jesus Christ by eternal generation; and so it may be said that the genealogical chain, by which Luke linked the first Adam and the second Adam together, is that chain upon which the redemption of mankind and all human hopes depend.

(Bishop Harvey Goodwin.)

If Joseph's genealogy, as presented in either of the Gospels, determines our Lord's birth as the lineal descendant of David, and the legal heir to the throne, his genealogy is all-important; while that of Mary, as it would not, according to Hebrew law, have decided the question of descent, would have been invalid as a document. "Familia matris nonfamilia" is an ancient maxim among the Jews, and it has Divine sanction (see Numbers 1:26). The law that descent is reckoned on the father's side only, "Filius sequitur patrem" — a law recognized by all civilized nations — is not contradicted by the one or two exceptional instances in which the name of a woman's ancestor was adopted by her husband and transmitted to her offspring (Numbers 32:41; comp. 1 Chronicles 2:21-23; Ezra 2:61). A descent of this kind was not counted a true descent in any case in which the genealogy was sought (see Ezra 2:62), and gave no legal claim. Joseph is distinctly honoured, in the Scripture, with the recognition of his legal parentage of Jesus.

(G. W. Butler, D. D.)

The pedigree of our Lord, as given by the Evangelist of the Gentiles, ends with a wonderful leap, a leap from earth to heaven. Noah was the son of Lamech, &c., &e. Enos was the son of Seth, Seth was the son of Adam, Adam was the son of — God. There is no bolder word in Scripture, none that strikes us with a deeper surprise and awe. Most of us have, doubtless, wondered at times why, when space was so valuable, Luke should have inserted in his Gospel "this barren list of names." But the pedigree is of immense value, if for nothing else, yet for this, that it connects the second Adam with the first, that it places a son of God at either end of the list; that it makes us out to be the children of God both by nature and by grace, by birth and by second birth. For, of course, if Adam was the son of God, we are all the children of God, since we are all children of Adam; there is a Divine element in our nature as well as a human element, a capacity for life and holiness as well as a liability to sin and death. In the light of our text —

I. EVEN THE MOST PERPLEXING FACTS OF OUR INWARD EXPERIENCE GROW A LITTLE MORE CLEAR TO US. Double or divided nature of which every man is conscious. In worst of men something good; something bad even in best. That which is good we derive from God, our true Father, the sole source and fountain of good; that which is evil in us we inherit not from Adam only, but from all our earthly parents.

II. SO DOES THE DEEPEST TEACHING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BECOME CLEARER TO US: the philosophy which underlies the teaching of our Lord and of the two greatest of His interpreters, St. Paul and St. John. That teaching may be briefly summed up thus: Christ is the Eternal Word by whom all things were created, by whom therefore Adam, or man, was created. Hence Christ is, as St. Paul calls Him, the Head of every man. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being. Then, too, we begin to understand all those difficult and perplexing passages in the writings of St. Paul, which declare our essential oneness with Christ. The second Adam was before the first Adam, and called Him into being. Hence He could die for all. Hence He lives for all, and we all live in and by Him. In short, all the sentences of the New Testament, which have sounded most mystical and obscure, and which may have seemed too good to be literally true, become true and plain to us so soon as we understand that Adam was the son of God, and that Adam was made by Him without whom nothing was made, and apart from whom nothing can subsist.

III. THE PRACTICAL OUTCOME OF THESE THOUGHTS IS MOST WELCOME AND MOST PRECIOUS to as many of us as love life and desire to see good. For, however weak and sinful we may be, we have not, as we sometimes fear, to persuade God to enter into a fatherly relation to us, and to begin to love us. He is our Father; He does love us. Nor have we, as we still oftener fear, to ask Him to redeem us from the yoke and tyranny of our sins. He has redeemed both us and all men, once for all, by the incarnation and sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Maker, our Head, and therefore our Representative. We have only to recognize existing and accomplished facts. We bare only to believe that He is our Father, has been our Father ever since we had any being, and can never cease to be our Father. We have only to accept the salvation He has wrought, and which stands waiting for us and urging itself upon us. There need be, there can be, no change in God, or in the Son of God; it is we in whom a change is wanted. They are, they have done, they are doing, all that we can desire them to be or do. And so soon as we know that, and believe it, we shall become all that we desire to be, and receive all that we long to enjoy.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

And yet in these very genealogies of Jesus Christ there are hinted profound truths well worthy of our most serious consideration. Let us rapidly glance at some of them.

I. And, first, THE FACT THAT THERE IS ANY GENEALOGY AT ALL IS SIGNIFICANT. For it is conceivable that the Son of God might have descended into the world an unborn Gabriel, or a full-grown, unmothered Adam. The Word has indeed become flesh, bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh.

II. Again, observe THE PEDIGREE ITSELF. How many and striking its vicissitudes! How thrilling some of its names! How momentous some of the events it recalls! Glance for a moment at some of these peculiarities. For example, how profound the obscurity and hinted shame which rested over Bethlehem's manger, as suggested by the evangelist's comment: "Being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph." How homely His descent, as indicated by the fact that eighteen of His immediate ancestors are unknown except by name! How illustrious His descent, as indicated in such names as Zerubbabel, Josiah, Hezekiah, Jehoshaphat, Solomon, David, Boaz, Jacob, Abraham, Noab, Enoch, Seth, Adam! What dark scenes in Hebrew history are recalled by such names as Jehoiachin, Amon, Manasseh, Ahaz, Jehoram, Rehoboam, Bathsheba, Tamar! How thrilling the vicissitudes of David's line, as vibrating in the stories of Rehoboam, Joash, Esther, the Maccabees, the Virgin Mary! Verily, the genealogy of Jesus Christ is a book of startling providences. And it is a significant fact that, since the birth of the Divine Man, the Davidic pedigree has been hopelessly lost, so that none but Jesus of Bethlehem can claim from the Hebrew genealogical tables to be David's promised Son, and so David's Lord, even Jehovah's very Christ. But Jesus Christ was not only the Son of David and the Son of Abraham, He was also the Son of Adam even that seed of the woman who, as had been foretold by the gates of Eden, would crush the serpent's head. Thus, the genealogy of Jesus Christ includes all extremes and all vicissitudes, so that he is in very truth the Son of man. And not only is He the Son of man, He is also the Son of God.

III. Lastly, THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE OLDEST IN THE WORLD. Men think it a great thing to have an ancient lineage. But here is a lineage which is older than that of William of Normandy, or Romulus, or Priam, or Nimrod, or Adam. Verily, His goings forth have been from of old — from the days of eternity. Verily, here is the Ancient of Days. Ah! the true heraldry is the device of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; the true shield is the crimson escutcheon of the Cross. Dost thou, O friend, belong to the lineage of Jesus Christ? If so, thy name has already been entered in the heavenly register, even the Lamb's roll of life. Live, then, worthily of thy sonship.

(G. D. Beardman.)

American Homiletic Review.
I. THERE IS MUCH IN GOOD LINEAGE. Virtues and vices are borne along on the current of blood from generation to generation. Such is the energy of moral qualities that they may be modified but rarely eradicated by transmission from parent to child. As surely as the blood of the racer tells in its fleet-footed offspring, the virtues and vices of David are felt down the line of his generation.

II. SIN HAS TAINTED THE BLOOD OF THE BEST RACES OF MEN, and frequently makes itself manifest. All have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. There is no exception.

III. GOD'S GRACE CAN FLOW THROUGH VERY CROOKED HUMAN CHANNELS. Men who are spiritually dwarfed and ill-shaped can be made, in God's providence, to help along very strait principles and policies. God makes manifest His great wisdom and power by the vastness of the results He works out through weak human instrumentalities. What could be meaner and more cruel than the murder of Uriah by David? Yet God made the wife of this murdered man the channel through which the blood of Abraham flowed into the veins of Joseph.

IV. No MAN STANDS ALONE. We are all parts of a vast organism. Asa and Jothan and Solomon each saw the life which he lived from his birth to his grave; but this was not the most important part of his life. That which followed his death, that which he lived in his descendants, was more far-reaching and wrought still greater results.

(American Homiletic Review.).

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