Genealogies, or lists of ancestors, were big among the Jews in the Old Testament. It started from Adam, listing all his descendants, and continued on throughout the Old Testament.
The Israelites started with twelve tribes, and nearly every Bible figure is identified by ancestors or tribal affiliation. Moses was from the tribe of Levi, David from the tribe of Judah, the apostle Paul from the tribe of Benjamin, etc.
There are two lists of genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels. Matthew lists the ancestors between Abraham and Jesus, Luke lists them in reverse order, Jesus to Adam. The lists are a little different, one theory is that Matthew traces the line to Jesus’ father Joseph, and Luke traces the line to Jesus’ mother Mary.
Why are the genealogies of Jesus important? Matthew was trying to prove to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, or Savior. The Jews expected the Messiah to come from the line of David (See Jeremiah 23:5), so Matthew starts his Gospel calling Jesus ‘Son of David’, and lists the genealogy, which includes David. Luke was probably reminding his readers about Jesus’ line to Adam.
It’s interesting that the Bible is full of such detail and record keeping, it seems to bolster the case for authenticity.
Next: Unlikely Members of Jesus’ Genealogy