Who is Jesus (Parts 6-10)

Bible Studies by Paula Yingst …

6. Jesus, descendant of Abraham and Sarah

The following is based on Genesis 17 – 18 ; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 3:33-37 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah

And this is where we left off:

Abram’s oldest son was named Ishmael (Yish ma’el). His mother was Abram’s wife Sarai’s maidservant. But God would provide another “firstborn” son.  (And He would not forget that Ishmael, as eldest son of Abram, deserved an inheritance. The Lord God promised Abram that he would give Ishmael this blessing: “I have blessed him. I will make him fruitful and give him many descendants. He will father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:20, CJB)

First however,  the Lord decided to change Abram’s and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah. It was as though He wanted there to be no mistake about which of the two half-brothers would be the “son of promise” — the one who would continue the family line from Adam to “the offspring” whom He had prophesied about WAY BACK IN THE BEGINNING. Remember what God said to the serpent after he tricked Eve into taking a bite of the forbidden fruit? … “I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head and you will bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, CJB)

Ishmael became the patriarch of the Arab race, which explains a lot about why they are now at odds with Israel!

Since the last post was so long, I’m going to keep this one short and to the point! (If you want all the details, read Genesis 18 through 20.)

Once again, as the descendants of Adam through the lineage of Noah’s three sons were spinning out of control and embracing EVIL, the Lord God STILL wanted RELATIONSHIP with GOOD people. He had promised Noah that the world would never again be destroyed by water, and God sealed that eternal promise with the sign of the rainbow. This time, He would approach the prospect in a slightly different way. He would adopt the family line of ONE CHOSEN PERSON as His own — the son whom He had miraculously created through the union of a man and woman who were assumed to be beyond the age of child bearing. Whoever favored this chosen son and his descendants would be blessed. Whoever cursed them would be cursed.

His name was Isaac.

7. Jesus, descendant of Isaac

The following is based on Genesis 21 – 25; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 3:33-37 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac

And this is where we left off:

Once again, as the descendants of Adam through the lineage of Noah’s three sons were spinning out of control and embracing EVIL, the Lord God STILL wanted RELATIONSHIP with GOOD people. He had promised Noah that the world would never again be destroyed by water, and God sealed that eternal promise with the sign of the rainbow. This time, He would approach the prospect in a slightly different way. He would adopt the family line of ONE CHOSEN PERSON as His own — the son whom He had miraculously created through the union of a man and woman who were assumed to be beyond the age of child bearing. Whoever favored this chosen son and his descendants.

His name was Isaac.

I encourage you to read Genesis 21 and 22 to get a feel for the RELATIONSHIP between Abraham and the Lord God. And notice the promise to Abraham and to his only son, Isaac:  “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this [was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience to God]and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:15-18, NIV)

“Descendants as numerous as the stars”? Abraham must have wondered how this could possibly happen. But he trusted the God who made the promise. And that’s all that mattered.

Once again we’re going to avoid becoming sidetracked by details and stay focused on the lineage that brought us to the birth of Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua). Moving along through time, we find that Isaac eventually married an extended family member — Rebekah, granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Nahor.

When Rebekah became pregnant with twins,the Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two people from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger’” (Genesis 25:23)If you read Genesis 25:27-34 and 27:1-41, you’ll be able to get a sense of the relationship between the two brothers. And just as Rebekah had been told, the older son Esau, ended up taking a back seat to his younger brother, Jacob — next in the direct line of ancestors to Jesus of Nazareth.

NOTE: Esau became the patriarch of a parcel of land called Edom. You can read more about him in Genesis 36. (Notice in verse 2 that Esau’s wives were descendants of Canaan. And remember that Noah placed a curse on Canaan, his grandson, because he was angry with his son, Ham — the father of Canaan. Find it in Genesis 9:18-27.)

8. Jesus, descendant of Jacob (a.k.a. ISRAEL)

The following is based on Genesis 25:19 – 36:43; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 3:33-37 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob

And this is where we left off:

At age 100, Abraham and his wife Sarah were surprised with a baby boy. They named him Isaac (a.k.a. “the promised son”). When Isaac grew up, he and his wife Rebekah were surprised with TWO infant boys — Esau and Jacob. When they grew into men, the younger twin outwitted the older and was given the birthright and blessing that should have gone to the first born. And just as God foretold before their birth, Jacob became the stronger brother. His descendants (Israel) became a stronger nation than that of Esau (Edom, in modern-day southern Jordan), and Esau’s descendants have collectively held a deadly grudge!

The RELATIONSHIP between the Lord God and Jacob grew stronger. But the RELATIONSHIP between Esau and Jacob was seriously damaged and remains shaky between their descendants to this day.

I encourage you to read about Jacob’s life from Genesis 25:19 through 32:32, and get a sense of how very blurred the lines were becoming between right and wrong, GOOD and EVIL.

Also notice TWO VERY IMPORTANT EVENTS:

1. Jacob became the father of 12 sons. (Genesis 29:31 – 30:24 and 35:16-18)

2. Jacob’s name was changed to ISRAEL! (Genesis 32:28)

From that moment on, the descendants of Jacob’s 12 sons would be collectively called the nation of ISRAEL.

9. Jesus, descendant of Judah

The following is based on Genesis 25:19 – 36:43; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 3:33-37 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob ==> Judah

And this is where we left off:

TWO VERY IMPORTANT EVENTS:

1. Jacob became the father of 12 sons. (Genesis 29:31 – 30:24 and 35:16-18)

2. Jacob’s name was changed to ISRAEL! (Genesis 32:28)

From that moment on, the descendants of Jacob’s 12 sons would be collectively called the nation of ISRAEL.

From this point, Jacob is primarily called “Israel” in scripture, and his descendants are called “Israelites.” From Jacob and his four wives came twelve sons — the twelve tribes of Israel. The rest of the Old Testament recounts their BROKEN RELATIONSHIP and unfaithfulness toward the Lord God, their Creator.

One of the most blatant “evil doers” of the 12 brothers was Judah. He was next in the family line between Adam and Jesus. His life shows that GOD CAN USE ANYONE HE CHOOSES TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE!

But as with Cain (evil) and Abel (good), there is a flip side to Judah — in the person of his little brother JOSEPH. Joseph represented everything GOOD in RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. And we’re going to take a quick side trip in this study to look at Joseph’s life and legacy … NEXT.

10. Time Out: Joseph “the Savior”

The following is based on Genesis 37 – 50 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob ==> Judah

And this is where we left off:

When Abraham had just one son, Isaac, God promised to make him into a great nation. Isaac had two sons — twins, Esau and Jacob. Jacob had 12 sons, and it was through these men that God would build the great nation of ISRAEL. Just one of them would be chosen to continue the lineage that led to Jesus. That was Judah.

But the one son who had the greatest impact on the destiny of the Israelites was Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son. We have to take a moment to look at Joseph’s legacy simply because we can learn so much from his RELATIONSHIP with the Lord God. So here are some highlights of his amazing life …

  • Joseph had dreams that his family would one day bow down to him.
  • His home was the land of Canaan, but his  jealous brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. (Remember the curse on Canaan? Gen. 9:24-27)

Scripture tells us that: “ADONAI [the Lord] was with Yosef [Joseph], and he became wealthy while he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. His master saw how ADONAI was with him, that ADONAI prospered every thing that he did. Yosef pleased him as he served him, and his master appointed him manager of his household; he entrusted all his possessions to Yosef…. ADONAI BLESSED the Egyptian for Yosef’s sake; ADONAI’S blessing was on all he owned … so he paid no attention to his affairs, except for the food he ate.”  (Genesis 39:2-6, Complete Jewish Bible)

Joseph was about 17 years old when he entered into service as Potiphar’s assistant. Everything went well for him until he was around 28. Scripture says that Joseph was well-built and handsome, and Potiphar’s wife took notice of him …

  • Potiphar’s wife enticed Joseph to come to bed with her, but he refused.
  • Day after day, she kept pressing him, until one day she grabbed him by his robe and said, “Sleep with me!”
  • Joseph fled, leaving his cloak in her hand. She used it as evidence against him and accused him of rape.
  • When Potiphar heard the story from his wife, he put Joseph in prison, where the king’s prisoners were confined.

Again Scripture explains that Joseph’s RELATIONSHIP with the Lord God (Adonai) was tested. Here’s what happened …

“But Adonai was with Yosef, showing him grace and giving him favor in the sight of the prison warden. The prison warden made Yosef supervisor of all the prisoners in the prison; so that whatever they did there, he was in charge of it. The prison warden paid no attention to anything Yosef did, because Adonai was with him; and whatever he did, Adonai prospered.”   (Genesis 39:21-23, CJB)

Joseph trusted God and maintained his integrity for two years while he was in prison, and God was with him! I encourage you to read Genesis 40 to get a grip on the details of his situation and on what happened to two men imprisoned with him.  Ultimately, Joseph ended up in the presence of Pharaoh, where God gave him the interpretation of worrisome dreams that the king of Egypt had had. Pharaoh was so impressed that this is what happened …

Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘Here, I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.’ Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Yosef’s hand, had him clothed in fine linen with a gold chain around his neck and had him ride in his second best chariot; and they cried before him, ‘Bow down!’ Thus he placed him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘I, Pharaoh, decree that without your approval no one is to raise his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.‘” (Genesis 41:41-44, CJB)

Just as the Lord had foretold, there were 7 years of abundance in the land. Joseph obeyed the Lord’s instructions to store grain during those years, so when 7 years of famine came — as the Lord had also foretold — everyone from far and near came to Joseph for food Including his 10 older brothers! They didn’t recognize him and had no clue that the annoying little brother that they had sold into slavery as a young man was now in authority over the Pharaoh’s affairs in Egypt!

The story is a fascinating one, recorded in Genesis41:41 – 45:28. But here’s what you need to know:

When Joseph finally revealed his identity to his brothers, they were terrified. But instead of seeking vengeance, Joseph said to them, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Genesis 45:4-8, NIV)

BOTTOM LINE: Joseph became the “savior” of his entire family — the nation of Israel! His behavior and attitude through the ups and downs, extreme highs and dreadful disappointments of life as he grew into manhood, stand out in the Hebrew family history as a shining example to all of us.

However, Joseph is NOT a direct ancestor of Jesus. His older brother Judah was, and his story is far from that of righteous Joseph. We’ll look at that NEXT.

This study continues in the file “Who is Jesus?”  (Parts 11-12) …