LUKE 3:23

Verse 23 “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,”

Jesus was “supposed” by his neighbors to be the son of Joseph. But He was not Joseph’s son. He was the virgin-born Son of God. There are several verses that make the distinction that God, not Joseph, is the father of Jesus. These verses uphold the fact of Jesus’ virgin birth. For example, Luke 2:33 refers to “Joseph and His mother” rather than to “His parents.” Of course, there are verses that refer to Joseph and Mary as “His parents” (2:27, 41), because Joseph was a legal parent of Jesus. However, where the Bible is precise in pointing out the fact that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, we should take note of the Bible’s accuracy and rejoice in the completely unique and miraculous virgin birth of our Savior. Any good and accurate translation will exhibit these distinctions regarding the father of Jesus in the verses that make the distinctions.

LUKE 2:15-20

Verses 15-20 “15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”

It must have been an encouragement to Mary and Joseph when the shepherds came so quickly to see the Christ because they came rejoicing, rejoiced throughout the visit, and rejoiced after they returned to their flocks. These shepherds wasted no time, but obeyed the Lord’s command without delay. They said one to another, “Let us go NOW….” Not, Let us go tomorrow. Not, Let us go when it is convenient. Nor even, Let us go when we can find someone to watch our flock, lest the wild dogs come. We read that, “They came with haste.” And they were rewarded for their obedience as they were the first humans after Mary and Joseph to see the Christ. They found everything as the angels had said. And after their visit they made hast to evangelize others, for “They made known abroad” all that they had heard and seen concerning Jesus. We should be so obedient to our heavenly calling, our commission to “go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere.”

LUKE 2:5

Verse 5 “To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”

Espousal was a stronger relationship than our marriage engagement today. It was a legal relationship but it was not a marriage. Like marriage the relationship could be broken by divorce. It was a year-long relationship in which a couple could get to know each other better and make adequate preparation for a home and life together. The marriage was not supposed to be consummated during the espousal period. There were to be no sexual relations. It was during this time when Mary was espoused to Joseph that she was found to be with child. This was a great trial to Joseph’s faith, but he believed what God revealed to him, and his mind was put at ease. The news that Mary was with child was as difficult for Joseph as it was for Mary. He was called upon to believe that Mary had been faithful to him and had not been with another man as well as to believe the fantastic truth that the Child was from the Holy Spirit.

Mary was great with Child when she journeyed to Bethlehem. We are not told how long Joseph and Mary took to make the trip, nor are we told how long they were at Bethlehem before the delivery. We are not told if Mary was in the seventh, eighth, or ninth month when the trip began. We are not told if they stayed for a time with relatives or friends somewhere between Nazareth and Bethlehem. We are only told that they made the journey with Mary “being great with child” and that while they were in Bethlehem the Baby was born. We should be careful about reading into the Bible what is not there.

LUKE 2:3-4

Verses 3-4 “3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.)”

The whole world was to be taxed. By “whole world” (v.1) is meant all of the countries and districts of the Roman Empire. Joseph’s ancestral town was Bethlehem, a small agricultural village about six miles from Jerusalem. The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem was about eighty-five miles distance. We do not know what means of conveyance was employed to transport Mary to Bethlehem. Often it is assumed that Mary rode on a donkey, but that is being read into the Bible account since the Bible does not tell us that detail. She may have ridden in a cart pulled by a donkey, or in a wagon pulled by a horse. Or, as many have suspected, she may have ridden on a donkey. The important thing is that they did arrive at Bethlehem, because it was prophesied that the Christ would be born there (Micah 5:2). We see the providence of God in bringing Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem; for it is He who arranged the time of the birth, the taxing, and even the mode of transportation.

MARK 6:1-3

Verses 1-3 “1And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
2And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.”

Jesus set an example that even if a person has a rather common occupation, such as carpenter, farmer, factory worker, or truck driver, that person may still have great spiritual power. Spiritual power comes from God, not from education, occupation, or station in life. Some people from Jesus’ own country were amazed that this man whom they had always known, one who had grown up among them, could have such wisdom and power. Familiarity breeds contempt!

In discussing this situation, the people of that district reveal the fact that Mary the mother of Jesus was also the mother of at least six other children, born after Jesus. Jesus had at least four brothers and two sisters. This, of course, disproves the “perpetual virginity” doctrine being taught by some. Mary would not have been more holy, nor would she have been a better person, if she had been a “perpetual virgin.” In fact, a case can be made that she was a more dedicated believer because she was a good wife to Joseph, fulfilling her wifely role.

MATTHEW 1:11-12

Verses 11-12 “11And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
12And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;”

If Joseph had been the biological father of Jesus, it would have made it impossible for Jesus to ever be king of the Jews since one of Joseph’s ancestors, Jechoniah (also called Coniah in Jeremiah 22:28), was despised by God. Jechoniah was one in whom God found no pleasure, and one about whom God said, “No man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David.” It was God who would not have allowed a descendant of Jeconiah’s to sit on David’s throne. But praise God! because of the virgin birth, and because Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus, Jeconiah’s curse could not prevent Jesus from being king on David’s throne. When Jesus returns to this earth in power and great glory, He will be King of an earthly Jewish kingdom. What a hallelujah day that will be! Luke 1:31-32 say, “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:”

MATTHEW 1:1

Verse 1 “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

There are 28 chapters, 1,071 verses, and 23,684 words in Matthew’s Gospel, as found in our King James Bible. This Book is written on a 5.6 grade level (the sixth month of the fifth grade), so that even most children are able to read it. Jesus is presented in this Gospel as the King of the Jews, the Messiah of Israel. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ” means that this is Jesus’ human family record. This record from David through Joseph gives us the legal, rather than than the biological descent of Jesus. This legal record is for the purpose of proving that Jesus has a right to sit on David’s throne, consistent with the theme of the book. It is not a biological record since Joseph is the husband of Mary, but he is not the biological father of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is very precise in verse 16, so that Joseph is not called the father of Jesus. Instead, he is “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus.”