Luke 3:31. the son of Nathan, the son of David,
You’ve probably noticed by now that there are two genealogies of Jesus in the Bible. One in Matthew, and one in Luke. So far these two genealogies have easily lined up for us. Sure, Luke’s goes back further, and Matthew added in four women, but other than that they have shared a common ancestry of Jesus.
We have reached the point in our genealogies where they diverge. Yesterday, in Matthew, Jesus was the son of Solomon. Today, in Luke, he is the son of Nathan. Both are sons of David and Bathsheba. So is Jesus from Solomon or is Jesus from Nathan? Yes.
Why? Why the difference? Because Matthew and Luke have two different purposes. Matthew intends to show his Jewish readers Jesus’ legal right to be their king through the line of his earthly father Joseph’s relation to King Solomon. But Luke intends to show his gentile readers that Jesus is a real man (not just a god in disguise) through the line of his biological mother, Mary.
Matthew wants to show authority.
Luke wants to show humility.
Matthew: Jesus the son of Solomon.
Luke: Jesus, the son of Nathan.
The Bible tells us that he was named by Bathsheba (not David), most likely after the prophet that humbled his father David in his sin. But also of God’s great grace and faithfulness.
As far as we know Nathan led no great army. Conquered no territory. Ruled no kingdom. Wrote no great literature. Built no great tower. Explored no great lands. Accomplished no great feat. Yet God in his grace brought his redemption through this man’s faithful, quiet waiting.
Let me ask you, if you could choose between being a Solomon or a Nathan in this life which would you choose? Which are you choosing?
Jesus was a Nathan not a Solomon. Jesus will be like his father Nathan before him. No army. No conquest. No empire. No writings, buildings, or other notable accomplishments. Except of course in his quiet humility saving mankind from all of our Davidic sins. And now, like Nathan before him, it is the name of Jesus that reminds us of all of our sin and all of God’s grace at the same time. It is the name of Jesus that will save his family, you and me, from our sins.
In what way does Christmas humble you? How can you be a Nathan this Christmas instead of a Solomon? Why does it require humility to live like Jesus as we wait for Jesus?