Based on Luke 3:23-38
Well, today I have chosen as our devotional reading the passage from Luke, which is probably skimmed over by most readers. It is one of two genealogies in the Gospels, one here in Luke, the other in Matthew. I have heard preachers dismiss the genealogies as unimportant, and in some ways, that’s true. In other ways, the two genealogies serve a very particular purpose, in accordance with the intention of the author.
Matthew’s genealogy (Matthew 1:1-7), for example, is presented at the beginning of his Gospel, while Luke’s genealogy appears at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, after His Baptism. Luke sees his genealogy as important for Jesus’ identity, while Matthew uses his genealogy to connect Jesus as Jewish Messiah, with the Old Testament and Jesus in the lineage of Abraham. For this reason, Matthew begins with Abraham, and works toward Jesus, while Luke begins with Jesus and works toward Adam. Why does Luke connect Jesus with Adam? Abraham was the father of Judaism, and Matthew intended to show that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham. Adam was the father of all of humanity, of all nations and peoples. As Luke was possibly a Gentile or Greek-speaking Jew, he is writing for Gentiles as much as Jews, wanting to announce that Jesus is not only the Jewish Messiah, but Savior of the world.
In this sense, then, it is true that rather than stumbling over the many difficult pronunciations in the Bible, you can discover the purpose of the genealogy by looking at the first and last persons in the lineage. Where does the author begin and end? Who is connected to whom? Genealogies are important in the Bible and almost always communicate a theological as well as a historical message.
Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for Jesus who is both Messiah and Savior of the world. Amen.
Lenten response: Read and compare Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies.
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
6:9 Listen! The Lord is calling to the city!
It is wise to respect your authority, O Lord!
Listen, O nation, and those assembled in the city!
10 “I will not overlook, O sinful house, the dishonest gain you have hoarded away,
or the smaller-than-standard measure I hate so much.
11I do not condone the use of rigged scales,
or a bag of deceptive weights.
12The city’s wealthy people readily resort to violence;
her inhabitants tell lies,
their tongues speak deceptive words.
13I will strike you brutally
and destroy you because of your sin.
14You will eat, but not be satisfied.
Even if you have the strength to overtake some prey,
you will not be able to carry it away;
if you do happen to carry away something,
I will deliver it over to the sword.
15You will plant crops, but will not harvest them;
you will squeeze oil from the olives, but you will have no oil to rub on your bodies;
you will squeeze juice from the grapes, but you will have no wine to drink.
16You follow Omri’s edicts,
and all the practices of Ahab’s dynasty;
you follow their policies.
Therefore I will make you an appalling sight,
the city’s inhabitants will be taunted derisively,
and nations will mock all of you.”(NET Bible)
67:1 For the music director; to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a psalm, a song.
May God show us his favor and bless us!
May he smile on us! (Selah)
2Then those living on earth will know what you are like;
all nations will know how you deliver your people.
3Let the nations thank you, O God!
Let all the nations thank you!
4Let foreigners rejoice and celebrate!
For you execute justice among the nations,
and govern the people living on earth. (Selah)
5Let the nations thank you, O God!
Let all the nations thank you!
6The earth yields its crops.
May God, our God, bless us!
7May God bless us!
Then all the ends of the earth will give him the honor he deserves.(NET Bible)
3:23 So Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years old. He was the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, 38the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Let me mention at least a few testimonies from the year 1520. In June, Luther wrote to the same Dungersheim, “We wish to be judged by Scripture; you wish to judge it … If the Fathers are to be read without selection and judgment, the Scripture is taken away.” (17–18)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.