Mary and Joseph September 29 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Matthew 1:1-25; Luke 3:23-38; Luke 2:1-40

Be Authentic Like Jesus Christ

Was Jesus really born the Son of God? This is the question that many around the world are still asking. In today’s Bible reading, Jesus, the apparent illegitimate son of Mary, is claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God. That seems hard to believe. The unspoken but very loud question in people's minds is, “what proof do we have?” In Jesus' day they did not have Driver's Licenses, Social Security cards or any other modern method to prove identity, so how can it be proved that Jesus is the Son of God?

In the Jewish society of that time, genealogical records proved your lineage and demonstrated your rights of inheritance. In the book of Matthew, Jesus’ family tree is traced through Joseph, His legal father, from Abraham through David’s line. Jesus is Jewish, and through the line of Abraham all nations will be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). Through the line of David Jesus has the right to reign (Genesis 49:9-10; Jeremiah 23:5).

In the book of Luke, Jesus’ genealogy is traced through a different line. It is traced backwards from Jesus’ adopted father Joseph to the first man of creation, Adam, and then finally to God. In this account Joseph's father is said to be Heli, not Jacob. The contributing author in states that there is no word for father-in-law in the ancient Greek language, and so it is likely that Jesus' lineage is traced through Mary's line, Heli being her father.

Jesus was once one with God in heaven, but in a great act of mercy and grace He leaves heaven’s glories, and in a miraculous way He is born through Mary, a virgin (Philippians 2:6-7; John 1:14; Matthew 1:20-23). When He does, Jesus takes on Adam’s flesh (humanity). Both genealogies have some common ancestors, two being King David and Abraham. By legal right and natural lineage Jesus is the Messiah the Jewish people are seeking.

What other proofs of Jesus’ validity exist? Historical records and dates prove the probability of the Bible story. A prosecuting attorney might ask a defendant, “Where were you at such and such a date?” He tries to break down the testimony of the defendant, but if the defendant's testimony is true then the true facts are supplied. The first four books of the New Testament are filled with exact times, names of people and events at the time of Jesus. If Jesus’ birth is a lie, why not hide the truth? Facts of history can be easily proved or disproved. Luke 3:1-2 records the time of John the Baptist’s ministry. He prepares the way for Jesus. Luke 2:1-2 records the time of Jesus’ birth.

Fulfilled prophecies testify to the truth of the gospel's claims. As we learned yesterday, Malachi 4:5-6 and Luke 1:17 testify to fulfilled Scriptures concerning John the Baptist being forerunner to Christ. Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:20-23 testify to fulfilled Scriptures concerning the virgin Mary having a baby who will be the Jewish Savior and “God with us” (Immanuel), physically present with His people. Micah 5:2 and Luke 2:4-7 testify to where Jesus was born (in Bethlehem), and that He will (eventually) be ruler over Israel.

Testimonies also validate Jesus as being the Messiah. In Luke 2-3 there are testimonies of the shepherds, the righteous man Simeon, and the prophetess Anna. Later, at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, John the Baptist hears the voice of God giving testimony at Jesus’ baptism. All those present at the Jordan River that day also hear it. John testifies that he saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus in the form of a dove. By that sign previously revealed to him, he knows and testifies that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, (John 1:29-34). Even Jesus’ enemies later recognize His integrity. The Herodians (a political party loyal to King Herod) admit to Jesus, “Teacher, … we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are,” (Matthew 22:16 NIV). A testimony of two or three reliable witnesses is sufficient in our courts to establish truth as it was in Jewish society (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; and 2 Corinthians 13:1).

We have learned that Jesus is authentic by His lineage, historical records, fulfilled prophecies, and by testimonies about Him. What about us? How authentic are we? We do not carry identification cards saying we are Christians, but have we been miraculously born of God by His Spirit? Have we been saved by grace through faith? We may not carry a card, but if we are saved we are sealed by His Spirit until the day of redemption, (Ephesians 4:30). Can our neighbors testify that we are Christians? Are we truthful and accountable and reliable? Do we behave and act with integrity? Are we sacrificial in our love? Children grow to be like their parents most of the time. Are we showing ourselves to be more and more children of God, in favor with God and men, as Jesus was?

Lessons to Live By

  • Jesus came to save the Jews and us from our sins. He offers us spiritual life, forgiveness, peace with God and His favor (more...)
  • Christians, be authentic. Let your reputation be that you are a genuine believer and a person of integrity, present with others and willing to make sacrifices.

Here is a song that goes well with today's Bible study: Jesus, Messiah

Today’s Memory Verse

Proverbs 10:9 (NIV) “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”

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