A Muslim asked me about the different accounts in the Bible concerning the ancestry of Jesus and if Jesus was born of a virgin why the Bible says he was the son of Joseph.
Although I have studied quite a bit on the genelogy of Jesus a number of years ago I couldn’t provide a good answer off the top of my head and I told him I would get back to him.
Yesterday I finished reading the book of Revelation and started reading Matthew so I thought today would be a good time to look into these issues and review the different theology views on the geneolgy of Jesus.
The most widely held position on the two accounts of the genealogies of Jesus holds that Matthew follows the linage of Joseph and Luke records the ancestry of Mary. In Matthew it states “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (Mat 1:16) and in Luke we have “Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli” (Lu 3:23).
Neither of the geneolgy accounts can be taken to imply that Joseph was the father of Jesus. In Luke the relationship between Jesus and Joseph is stated “(as was supposed) the son of Joseph”. In Matthew it is written concerning Joseph that he was “the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus”.
According to this genealogy theory Jacob (Mat 1:16) was the biological father of Joseph and Heli (Luk 3:23) was the biological father of Mary. The question is then raised if Heli is the biological father of Mary why doesn’t it say that and why does it say “Joseph, which was the son of Heli”?
Among the Jews it was the custom that if a man had no sons the husband(s) of his daughter(s) would become heir to the goods of the father-in-law through marriage. So the position this genealogy theory takes is that Heli (Mary’s biological faither) became Joseph’s surragate father because he had no sons and therefore it would be proper to say “Joseph, which was the son of Heli”.