By means of this method of introduction, Luke gives us the reason for the public declaration of the Father at Christ's baptism - it was to confirm publicly a critical issue which was under question, a matter of public dispute.
How then does the genealogy which follows contribute to Luke's aim? Superficially, it appears to lead the reader in the opposite direction entirely.
We must first identify Luke's purpose in providing this apparently misleading genealogy. At the outset we must dismiss the idea that it is intended to be an accurate description of Christ's literal physical lineage. On what basis can we do this?
Firstly, because Luke makes no claim that this is a literal genealogy of Christ (unlike Matthew's declaration 'This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham', Matthew 1:1, though even Matthew does not represent his genealogy as a description of Christ's physical descent from Joseph).
Secondly, because Luke introduces this 'genealogy' as being what people supposed
regarding Christ, as opposed to the reality (Luke 3:23).
Thirdly, because we know from Luke 1:27, 34-35 that it cannot be a literal physical lineage through Joseph, since Luke takes great care to inform us that Christ's birth to Mary was not the result of the usual physical union between man and woman (verse 27 'to a virgin', verse 34 'How will this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?', verse 35 '“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore
the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God
Fourthly, because the 'genealogy' given by Luke makes no sense as a literal physical lineage of Christ. What point is it trying to make? Matthew's genealogy explicitly identifies Christ as 'the son of David, the son of Abraham', commences with Abraham, refers to David as king, and moves down to Christ through Mary
, once Joseph's genealogy is complete.
Luke's genealogy is inverted, starting with Joseph, making no specific mention of Christ's relation to any of the important figures in Jewish history, and moving backwards
all the way to Adam, of all people.
Edited by Fortigurn, 07 October 2005 - 03:17 PM.