Tag Archive | "Mary not biological mother of Jesus"

A Modern Medical Breakthrough and the Christmas Story

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The Bible makes it clear that the man the world knows as Jesus Christ was actually God personified; but it also reveals that He was fully human.  It’s widely believed that the Lord inherited His human nature from Mary.  We will see that it was not necessary for the Lord Jesus to be genetically related to Mary in any way in order for Him to be fully human.



Mary, the Mother of Jesus


There are many verses telling us that Mary was the mother of Jesus.  One such verse is Matthew 1:18:


Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.


Mary was known as the mother of Jesus throughout the Lord’s time on earth.   By the time the Lord was crucified, Joseph had apparently died; but Mary was still alive and witnessed the Lord’s death, as we read in John 19:25:


Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.     


While it is true that Mary is called His mother, we should also notice that Joseph is called His father.  We see this in John 1:45:


Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.


The apostle Philip and almost everyone else who knew the Lord Jesus thought He was the son of Joseph.  Yet the Bible makes it clear that Mary was with child even before she and Joseph came together.  Besides Matthew 1:18, we also see this truth revealed in Luke 1:34-35:


Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?   And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.    


Clearly, Joseph was not the biological father of the Lord Jesus; and yet we find the words “son of Joseph” applied to the Lord.   We even find Joseph named in the Bible’s two genealogies for the Lord Jesus.  In the first genealogy, found in Matthew 1, the line of descent begins with Abraham (Matthew 1:1-2), proceeds to David (Matthew 1:6) and continues to Joseph, as we read in Matthew 1:16:


And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.   


We find the second genealogy in Luke 3.   The Matthew 1 genealogy works forward in time; but the one in Luke goes back.  In Luke 3:23, we read:


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,


As we continue reading this genealogy, we find that it goes all the way back to Adam – as we see in Luke 3:38:


Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.


Although this genealogy’s names are somewhat different than the ones in Matthew 1, it too traces Joseph back to King David (Luke 3:31).


In several verses, we find that the Lord Jesus is called the Son of David (e.g., see Matthew 1:1, Matthew 9:27, and Matthew 21:9).  We also find that term applied to Joseph.   Since one of Joseph’s ancestors was King David, he could be called a son of David.  In fact, he was called that when an angel appeared to him in a dream, as we read in Matthew 1:20:


But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.


God very carefully recorded the genealogies found in Matthew and Luke, and each one shows that Joseph was a descendant of David.  Even though the Lord Jesus wasn’t biologically related to either Joseph or David through Joseph, He is called both Son of Joseph and Son of David in the Bible.  By doing these things, God shows us that the Lord Jesus was qualified to be King of earthly Israel.


The Bible also makes it clear that the Lord Jesus was physically born to Mary.  She and Joseph raised Him and took care of Him from the time He was born until He was old enough to care for Himself.  She was His mother in many ways; but there is a way in which she may not have been His mother.



In Vitro Fertilization


In 2010, the Nobel Prize for the category of physiology or medicine was awarded to Robert G. Edwards for the development of In Vitro Fertilization.  You will understand something about this technique immediately when you know that, in addition to his titles of Sir and Doctor, Mr. Edwards is known as the “father of the test tube baby.”


This technique has been used with varying degrees of success since 1978.  In that year, the first successful birth resulting from In Vitro Fertilization (abbreviated as IVF) occurred.  Last July, it was estimated that about five million babies worldwide have been born as a result of IVF since 1978.


The words “In Vitro” are Latin and mean “in glass.”  They refer to the glass of the test tube or other vessel in which the fertilization takes place, outside the human body.  The material of which these vessels are made might not be glass these days, but the name remains.


Commonly, the woman to whom the child is born is the woman whose egg is used in the process; so that she is also the mother genetically.  However, this is frequently not the case.  The woman who bears the child may agree to do so altruistically or for payment.  After implantation in her uterus, if the pregnancy is successful, she will become the child’s surrogate mother.


The very fact that man has learned this technique suggests the possibility that the human body inhabited by the Lord Jesus had no genetic connection to Mary.  However, the Bible guides us to understand that this is more than just a possibility.  It does this by comparing the Lord Jesus with Adam and Melchizedek.



The Lord Jesus Compared With Adam and Melchizedek


Luke’s genealogy of the Lord Jesus through Joseph goes all the way back to Adam, and in Luke 3:38 we read:


Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.


In the book of Genesis, the Bible reveals how Adam came into being.  Genesis 2:7 states:


And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.


From other verses, we know that God spoke Adam into existence.  Adam had no human parents, and he came into being as an adult.


1 Corinthians 15:45 tells us something about Adam:


And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.


Here we have a verse comparing the first Adam with the last Adam.  There is no doubt about the identity of the last Adam, for in 1 Corinthians 15:47 we read:


The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.


God is clearly comparing the Lord Jesus to Adam.  Based on these verses, we could conclude that the body created for the Lord Jesus came into existence the same way Adam’s did.  In Adam’s case, it was as an adult human being; for the Lord, it was as a microscopic baby implanted in Mary’s womb.


The Lord Jesus is also compared with Melchizedek.  We first read about Melchizedek in Genesis 14.  Abraham had led his men to rescue his nephew Lot (Genesis 11:27, 31) and others who had been taken in a raid.  When he returned, Melchizedek was among those who met him.  In Genesis 14:18-20, we read:


And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.  And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:   And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.


This event, which occurred before God changed Abraham’s name (see Genesis 17:5), is recounted in the book of Hebrews.  In Hebrews 7:1-2, we read about it:


For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 


Elsewhere in the book of Hebrews, we discover that Melchizedek was no ordinary human being.  We also find the Lord Jesus compared with Melchizedek, as in Hebrews 5:5-6:


So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.  As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 


The Bible doesn’t plainly state that Melchizedek was the Lord Jesus; but from the book of Hebrews, we find evidence that this was the case.  We also find this key verse about Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:3):


Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.


According to this verse, Melchizedek is “like unto a Son of God” and remains a priest continually; but the Lord Jesus is now our high priest. Melchizedek is described in such a way that we must conclude that he  (who was “without father, without mother …”) is the Lord Jesus.



The Lord Jesus Was Subject to Temptation


The book of Luke gives us several verses in which Mary’s words are recorded (see Luke 1:28-38, 46-55, and 2:48).  There are also a number of verses in Luke and elsewhere telling us what she thought or did; but we know very little about Mary herself.  In fact, just about the only thing we know is that she was a virgin when she was with her first child – the Lord Jesus.   We read about this in Matthew 1:22-23:


Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.


These verses show us the fulfillment of a prophecy found in the book of Isaiah (in Isaiah 7:14).  The book of Isaiah was recorded in the days of “Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (Isaiah 1:1).  Hezekiah began to reign in 715 BC (per “The Perfect Harmony of the Numbers of the Hebrew Kings” by Mr. Harold Camping), so we know that Isaiah must have recorded that book about 700 years before the Lord Jesus was born.  This, incidentally, is one of the wonderful proofs God has given to prove that the Bible is His book.  No man could have written it!


In contrast to the lack of information about Mary’s background, we have genealogical details about Joseph – even though Joseph had nothing to do with the Lord’s birth.  We may wonder why this is so.  One answer is that Mary’s genealogy wasn’t relevant because the Lord Jesus was not genetically related to her.


Did the Lord Jesus look at all like Mary?  We actually have no idea what He looked like.  Even though many religious paintings and other works of art about Him have been created during the last thousand years or so, these are all based on ideas or feelings of the various artists.  (These works are also a violation of God’s commandment against making graven images, as stated in Exodus 20:4-5).


We do know this much: His appearance fit right in with the people of that day and area.   He must have had an average appearance – maybe a nondescript face that someone would forget soon after seeing Him.  What we read in Matthew 26:48 supports this idea, because Judas had to identify the Lord in order for the mob to take Him.


It is possible that Abraham saw the Lord Jesus as He appeared during the time of His earthly ministry.  First of all, we know that God spoke to Abraham several times (see Genesis 12:1-3, 12:7, 13:14-17, 15:1-21, 17:1-22, 18:1-33, 21:12-13, 22:1-2, 11-12, 15-18).  On at least some of those occasions, God actually appeared to Abraham.   Now, notice what the Lord Jesus said to the Jews who were questioning Him.  In John 8:56-58, we read:


Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?   Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.    


Based on the Lord’s statements and the Jews’ question above, it seems that the Lord is telling the Jews that when Abraham saw God, he saw the Lord Jesus just as the Jews were seeing Him stand before them.


We also know from Genesis that it wasn’t necessary for the Lord Jesus to be descended from Mary in order for Him to be subject to temptation.  Remember, Adam sinned even though he was created as a perfect human being.  When he and Eve disobeyed God, Satan conquered mankind.  The Lord Jesus faced a very much greater temptation because He knew what He would have to eventually suffer.  In both Matthew 4 and Luke 4, we read about this time when the Lord was tempted by Satan and conquered him.





The Bible indicates that Mary was actually a surrogate mother to the Lord Jesus, just as a child today may be born to a woman who has agreed to bare a child by In Vitro Fertilization.   It does this by comparing the Lord Jesus with both Adam and Melchizedek, and by giving us information about them that applies to the Lord Jesus.


Of course, this understanding is a drastic departure from the traditional thinking about the Lord (that He was a descendant of Mary); but it does not contradict other things we learn about the Lord Jesus.  After beginning as a microscopic human creation implanted in Mary’s womb, the Lord Jesus would still be subject to temptation.  Also, God could have given Him an appearance that would blend right in with everyone else.  It wasn’t necessary for the Lord to resemble Mary in order for Him to look like most of the people living in Judea back then.


In His physical body, the Lord Jesus would have had problems that are common to us all.  Hebrews 4:14-15 confirms this:


Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.


The Lord Jesus felt sorrow and pain, just as we do.  As God He grieved over mankind, as we read in Genesis 6:5-6:


And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.


As both God and man, He grieved over the unsaved people in Jerusalem.  We see this in Luke 19:41-42:


And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,  Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  


The Lord Jesus also felt the sorrow that Lazarus’ sisters felt over the loss of their brother.  John 11:33-35, where we see the Lord grieving, illustrates that:


When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,  And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.   Jesus wept.


It wasn’t required that the Lord be descended from Mary in order for Him to be a man and know what it is to suffer.  We should remember that when we go to God in prayer, asking for His help in all our troubles.  God understands our needs and can comfort us as no one else can.  We have this wonderful assurance from Hebrews 4:16:


Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.



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