Answering the questions about the linage of Mary is not as easy as we might like for it to be. Genealogies, particularly at this time, were typically traced through the father’s line. Rarely would the wives/mothers make the lists. Though we do see some women listed in Christ’s lineage here, including some we read last month like Rahab.
Genealogies are offered in Matthew and in Luke, but they differ. Luke’s goes all the way back to Adam, and Matthew’s only goes back to Abraham but that is not problematic. Both run concurrent from Abraham to King David. Then they start to vary ... a lot.
After David, Matthew traces Jesus’ line through David’s kingly son Solomon, while Luke traces it through Solomon’s brother Nathan, another son of David. Also, Matthew’s list after David is much shorter than Luke’s. Many names are listed by Luke that are not listed in Matthew’s account. In fact, they only have a few names in common from King David on, and it is possible those could be different individuals with the same names.
Notice the name “Levi” mentioned twice in Luke’s account after David, but not at all in Matthew’s. Recall from last week that Elizabeth descended from the priestly line of Aaron, which was a division of the Levi clan? And recall that Mary and Elizabeth were related? That gives us a clue about Mary’s lineage.
In fact, many Bible scholars suggest that the genealogy in Luke is actually the genealogy of Mary, while the genealogy in Matthew shows the lineage of Joseph. If this is the case, then both Mary and Joseph are descendants of King David, enabling Jesus to be eligible as Messiah from either side and fulfill that prophecy (Psalm 89:3-4, 2 Samuel 7:14-16).
Joseph’s lineage would give Jesus the legal right, while Mary’s would preserve his right biologically since Joseph did not physically father this child. All the while Jesus would actually be fathered by God’s Holy Spirit, giving Jesus the spiritual right to be Messiah. (Belivers are also re-born by God's Holy Spirit!) So Jesus was fully the Son of Man, and the Son of God. Moreover, Mary’s virgin womb was the vessel God used to accomplish this miracle.
Isn't it terrific to see through this study of women of the Bible so far, just how valued women are in God’s eyes and God’s plans?
Let me be clear that just based on reading the text in the Bible, I cannot say for absolute certain that Luke’s genealogy is actually describing Mary but I think there is a good chance this is the case.
Tomorrow I will post more and we’ll continue the discussion of Mary.
I’m praying for everyone!