Christmas Series: Finding Out Just How Adopted We Are
“Now Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was betrothed to him, and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:4-7, NASB)
When I was a kid, I was always confused as to why Jesus was considered a part of Joseph’s bloodline. I mean, Jesus and Joseph shared no physical blood. Jesus was conceived with no participation from Joseph, so how could the Bible claim Jesus as a part of Joseph’s lineage?
After all, the Bible prophesied that Jesus would be born out of the house of David, which Joseph was
indisputably a part of. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” Jeremiah 23:5-6 is an echo of other Biblical promises that Jesus would be a descendent of the House of David, cross-referenced with 2 Samuel 7:12-13 and Isaiah 11:1.
And yet, both genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 trace Joseph back to David by blood, (albeit, by different sons of David, but back to David just the same) not Mary. So how could Jesus have fulfilled these multiple promises that the Savior would be descended from David?
The answer, in part, is that we have to throw away what we know of science and genealogy today and see the Bible through the culture it was written in. You see, back in that day, when a father married a woman with pre-existing children, he legally grafted the mother and her children into his bloodline. Once a child was adopted, that child got to enjoy all the privileges of a full-blooded child.
What’s more, is that Jesus’ birth had to be perfectly balanced at a point in time where Jesus would be born outside of the bloodline that He would later be taken into. You see, back in Biblical times, the act of consummating the marriage was basically the wedding ceremony itself, so a woman who was married could never be a virgin. And, as we know from last week, Jesus was also prophesied to be born of a virgin, which went farther than a woman without sexual experience to encompass a woman who was not even married.
We know that Mary did not marry Joseph until after the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:25 & Luke 2:5). Why? Because if Joseph married Mary, even while she was late in her pregnancy, then people would have assumed that Jesus’ father was actually Joseph. They would have gone on the assumption that Mary and Joseph lied about having sex before they were married and came up with an elaborate story to explain their shame away. But the cool thing is, the fact that Mary was engaged offered the legitimization of fulfilling the prophet’s word about Jesus being born of a virgin, but she also had the protection of Joseph claiming her as his wife once God convinced Joseph to stand by Mary.
God made a way for everything to happen according to plan. He made it so that Jesus’ mother would be a virgin, thus giving Jesus divine birth. But He also made it so that Jesus’ father would be obedient to adopt a child that he knew wasn’t his so that He could be called a descendant of David. Joseph would become Jesus’ earthly father, adopting Jesus as his legal son after birth. This marriage would graft Mary and Jesus into Joseph’s bloodline, shown in the Matthew 1 genealogy– “and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.”
And that’s one of the most beautiful pictures we have of what God does for us. Why? Because it shows that when we enter into relationship with Christ through salvation, we not only become the Bride, but we also come under the blood as adopted sons and daughters of our Father God. We share passionate, intimate love with God, but we also get to experience the deep and meaningful understanding that we were grafted into a family-bond with God that can never be broken.
That’s why Jesus came, in the vastly complicated, balanced, and intentional way that he did. So that He could be the example of what we would be invited into once He shed His blood for us. He not only fulfilled prophecies so we could be sure that this was the Jesus God had promised us in the Old Testament, but He also went before us so we would know the great lengths to which God would go for us.
When you ask Jesus into your heart and commit your life to glorifying God, you become grafted into something so much bigger than just your eternal salvation. You become a son, a daughter, and the Bride of Christ. You become family to the Almighty God.
God made a way for you to be made His. He made a way for you to be brought into love when you were standing on the outside. You’re not just a guest in His home, you’re a child that’s been adopted by grace to sit at the table with Him and His Son.