Mary and Joseph September 29 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Matthew 1:1-25; Luke 3:23-38; Luke 2:1-40

Be Authentic like Jesus Christ

Was Jesus really born the Son of God? This is the question that many around the world are still asking. In today’s Bible study, Jesus, the apparent illegitimate son of Mary, is claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God. That seemed hard to believe. The unspoken but very loud question in people's minds was, “is there any proof of that?” In Jesus' day they did not have Driver's Licenses, Social Security cards or any other method to prove identity, so how could it be proved that Jesus was who he and others said he was?

In the Jewish society of that time, family trees proved your lineage and demonstrated your rights of inheritance. This is not as important in our day as it was in theirs. In the book of Matthew, Jesus' family tree is traced through Joseph, his legal father, from Abraham through David's line. Through the line of Abraham all nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3) and through the line of David he had the right to reign (Genesis 49:9-10; Jeremiah 23:5).

In the book of Luke, Jesus' genealogy is traced from a different line, probably through his mother, Mary. It is traced backwards from Jesus’ adopted father Joseph to the first man of creation, Adam, and then finally to God. Jesus was once one with God in heaven, but in a great act of mercy and grace he left heaven's glories, and in a miraculous way he was born through Mary, a virgin. When he did, he took on Adam's flesh (humanity). Both genealogies from Joseph and from Mary have common ancestors, one being King David. By legal right and natural lineage Jesus was the Messiah the Jewish people sought.

What other proofs of Jesus’ validity existed? Historical records and dates proved the probability of the Bible story. A prosecuting attorney might ask a defendant, “Where were you at such and such a date?” He/she tries to break down the testimony of the defendant, but if the defendant's testimony is true then the true facts are supplied. The gospels are replete with exact times, names of people and events at the time of Jesus. If Jesus' birth was a lie, why not hide the truth? Facts of history can be easily proved or disproved. Luke 3:1-2 records the time of John's ministry. Luke 2:1-2 records the time of Jesus' birth.

Fulfilled prophecies testify to the truth of the gospel's claims. As we learned yesterday, Malachi 4:5-6 and Luke 1:17 testify to fulfilled Scriptures concerning John the Baptist being forerunner to Christ. Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:20-23 testify to fulfilled Scriptures concerning the virgin Mary having a baby who would be our Savior and who would be “God with us” (Immanuel). Micah 5:2 and Luke 2:4-7 testify to where Jesus was born (in Bethlehem), and that he would (eventually) be ruler over Israel.

Testimonies also validate Jesus as being the Messiah. In Luke 2-3 there are the testimonies of the shepherds, the righteous man Simeon, and the prophetess Anna. Later, at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, the notable prophet John the Baptist heard the testimony of God at Jesus' baptism. All those present at the Jordan River that day also heard it. John testified that he saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus in the form of a dove. By that sign previously revealed to him, he knew and testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world, (John 1:29-34). Even Jesus’ enemies later recognized his integrity. The Herodians (a political party loyal to King Herod) said to Jesus, “Teacher, … we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are,” (Matthew 22:16 NIV). A testimony of two or three reliable witnesses is sufficient in our courts to establish truth as it was in Jewish society (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; and 2 Corinthians 13:1).

We have learned that Jesus was authentic by his lineage, historical records, fulfilled prophecies, and by testimonies about him. What about us? How authentic are we? We do not carry identification cards saying we are Christians, but have we been miraculously born of God by his Spirit? Have we been saved by grace through faith? We may not carry a card, but if we are saved we are sealed by his Spirit till the day of redemption, (Ephesians 4:30). Could our neighbors testify that we are Christians? Are we truthful and accountable and reliable? Do we behave and act with integrity? Children grow to be like their parents most of the time. Are we showing ourselves to be more and more children of God, in favor with God and men, as Jesus was?

Lessons to live by:

  • Jesus came to save the Jews and us from our sins. He offers us spiritual life, forgiveness, peace with God and His favor (more...)
  • Christians, be authentic. Let your reputation be that you are a genuine believer and a person of integrity.

Today’s memory verse: Proverbs 10:9 “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” (NIV)

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