Have you ever wondered why Matthew begins with the genealogy of Christ but Luke includes it after the baptism of Christ?
Matthew writes to a Jewish audience with a key goal of convincing his readers of the rightful claim of Jesus Christ to the throne of Israel. He also writes, of course, to demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ, the Saviour of the world. Matthew traces the line of Christ, then, back to Abraham and in so doing proves Jesus as the Messiah for the world and also the King of Israel.
Luke writes to a Greek audience with the intent of proving Jesus Christ is the perfect Man and with the same goal as Matthew of demonstrating that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world. So he traces the line of Christ all the way back to Adam. In so doing he reveals that Jesus is the rightful king of Israel, and He is the last Adam, the Perfect Man.
What really struck me, however in reading Luke 3 is Luke’s arrangement of the baptism of Christ and the genealogy of Christ.
In verses 21-22 we have the baptism of Christ by John. At that event we see the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from Heaven and the Father’s voice making a loving declaration, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
In verse 23 Luke records that people presumed Jesus was the son of Joseph, but as the voice from Heaven revealed, He was truly the Son of God, Jesus was God and was of God in His incarnation.
Then follows one of those genealogies we sometimes struggle with. Joseph was the son of Heli, Heli was the son of Matthat, Matthat was the son of Levi and so on for generations, all the way back to Adam. But when we reach Adam we find a change in the formula. We do not find Adam having an earthly father, but instead we read that Adam was the son of God. Adam was of God.
And so the genealogy begins with Jesus, who was of God, and ends with Adam, who was of God.
Thanks be to God that although the first Adam, made and beloved of God, failed, the Last Adam, the only begotten and beloved of God, succeeded.
Adam failed the test of righteousness and humanity fell with him, but Jesus Christ purchased redemption for humanity and in Him we are restored.
Ever Word of God is given for a purpose, and every order of revelation is carefully placed for our teaching and edification.
Luke beautifully demonstrates through this genealogy, and order of revelation, that Jesus Christ became one of us in order that He might redeem us!