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God Knew What He Was Doing When He Gave Jesus Two Family Trees

How to sort out the many disparities between the genealogies of Matthew and Luke.

Problems in Scripture work like speed bumps: They may be frustrating, and they can do damage to the unwary, but they effectively slow us down and focus our attention. Tensions provoke thought. Apparent contradictions force us to wrestle with texts in greater detail. When God inspired them, he knew what he was doing.

Studying the Gospels, we immediately encounter the problem of major differences between the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke. Matthew 1 lists 42 generations going back to Abraham; Luke 3 has 77 generations going back to Adam. Of the dozens of names between David and Jesus, only five appear on both lists. Worse, Jesus has two different paternal grandfathers: Jacob (Matt. 1:16) and Heli (Luke 3:23).

Efforts to sort out the disparities often focus on Matthew’s side, partly because his genealogy looks more theologically motivated—the numerous gaps, the women who feature, the three groups of 14, and so on. Luke, we assume, is giving “just the facts,” while Matthew is fiddling with them to make a point. But this demeans both the historian in Matthew and the theologian in Luke. I think Luke’s genealogy has a theological agenda just as strong as Matthew’s, if not more so.

Consider how he lists 77 generations from Adam to Christ. That number points to the Sabbath. It reminds us of the 77-fold vengeance of Lamech (Gen. 4:24) and the 77-fold forgiveness of Jesus (Matt. 18:22). It evokes the Jubilee year (Lev. 25:8–55), observed once for every seven sets of seven years. Jesus proclaims his fulfillment of the Jubliee promise in Luke 4:16–21, a development foreshadowed two chapters earlier, when the summons to report home for a census recalls the Jubilee command to return ...

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This Election, Evangelical Supporters Have More Faith in Trump

The campaign emphasizes another side of the president at “prayer, praise, and patriotism” rallies.

Joann Roberts had never been to a political rally before.

She prays for President Donald Trump every day and watches messages from his faith advisers online, including televangelists Paula White-Cain and Jentezen Franklin. When Roberts heard they would be speaking at a campaign event in Georgia, the Southern Baptist mom of three took off from her job as a hospital administrator and made the hour-long drive to a field in the far-flung Atlanta suburbs.

Wearing a neon pink shirt printed with the slogan “God, Family, Guns, and Trump,” she fit right in.

The 500-plus crowd at this week’s Evangelicals for Trump rally included local politicians, GOP organizers, and even an unannounced visit by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, but most were people like Roberts. They were veterans, retired couples, bikers, college students, and homeschool moms, all Christians who felt like this year they needed to do something more to show their support.

Several volunteers distributing hand sanitizer and masks (not required, but around a quarter wore them) said this was their first time working with a political campaign. They traded stories about going door to door for Trump and turning their guest rooms into makeshift call centers. They compared churches and voting districts. They offered compliments over their MAGA gear. “I got it at Ace Hardware,” one woman beamed when asked about her Trump 2020 mask. “They can’t keep them in stock!”

More than anything, these Georgia Christians gushed over what they had seen during Trump’s presidency: a leader who came through on his pledge to appoint conservative justices, defend religious freedom, and oppose abortion. “He really just kept his promises,” said ...

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