Who is Yeshua?
Jesus of Nazareth (Yeshua)
Born: c. 4 B.C. - Died: c. 30 A.D. (Contested but most historians agree to these years)
Birthplace: Bethlehem, Judea
Yeshua also known as Jesus of Nazareth and better known as Jesus Christ (the term "Christ" meaning anointed or chosen one) traditionally seen as the Messiah is the central figure of the Christian (followers of Christ) religion, a savior believed to be God incarnate, that is being truely God and truely man. Most of the details of His life are unclear, and much of what is known about His life comes from the four Gospels of the Bible. The date of Jesus's birth is celebrated as Christmas. Most historians believe that Yeshua was born between 4 B.C. and 7 B.C just before the death of King Herod the Great (37 B.C.–4 B.C.). The Gospels tell the story of Yeshua who was born of a virgin (Mary) in a stable in Bethlehem, and then of His life as an adult, a teacher displaying miraculous powers who foretold His own death to His closest followers the apostles. Betrayed by the apostle Judas, Yeshua was crucified by the Romans, and His resurrection three days after His death was taken as proof of his divinity. The date of the crucifixion is now marked as Good Friday, and the resurrection celebrated as Easter.
Primary Sources of Information about Yeshua
Most of the information for Yeshua's life and teachings are found in the Bible's New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The contents of these books are not biographies but documentation of the ministry, death and resurrection of Yeshua describing the basic subject matter of Christian teaching. Accredited non-Christian writers of antiquity such as Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger and Josephus (Joseph ben Matthias) provide additional information pertaining to Yeshua's activities.
Yeshua's Life and Teaching
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke contain accounts of Yeshua's birth and infancy, agreeing that Yeshua was the miraculously conceived son of the virgin Mary who was the wife of Joseph, and that He was born at Bethlehem in Judaea. All four Gospels agree in dating His call to public ministry from the time of his baptism by John the bapitist after which He took up the life as a preacher, a teacher and a healer followed by a small group of disciples ( the apostle). The primary theme of Yeshua's teaching, mostly conveyed as parables, was the coming of God's Kingdom, expressed not only by His words but by the “wonders” or “signs” that He performed. Yeshua's activities evoked skepticism and hostility in both the Roman and Jewish ruling class. After preaching for three years in Galilee, Yeshua traveled to Jerusalem to observe the Jewish Passover. He was received enthusiastically by the Jerusalem citizens, however later arrested and executed (crucified) under Roman law as a "dangerous messianic pretender". The Gospels give detailed and lengthy accounts of Yeshua's final days including His trail and Cruxifiction. The Gospels closes with the discovery of Yeshua's empty tomb on the “third day,” and of His later appearances to Mary, Mary Magdalene and to the disciples as the resurrected Christ.
Genealogy of Yeshua
The genealogy of Yeshua is mapped by two passages from the Gospels of Matthew 1:2-16 and Luke 3:23-38. Both trace Yeshua's line from Adam to Abraham, then from Joseph to King David. However Luke list from Joseph to Adam whereas Matthew list from Adam to Joseph. These lists are identical between Abraham and David, but they differ radically between David and Joseph. Further explaination as to why is given below.
Matthew starts with Solomon and proceeds through the kings of Judah up and including Jeconiah. This establishes Yeshua as the legal heir to the throne of Israel. Jeconiah is the last of the kings due to Israel being conquered by Babylonians. The list continues with Jeconiah's son Shealtiel and his grandson Zerubbabel, who is a notable figure in the Book of Ezra. The names between Zerubbabel and Joseph do not appear anywhere in the Old Testament or other texts, with a couple of exceptions.
Luke's list starts with Nathan, brother of Solomon, and contains 40 names between David and Joseph, almost none of which match Matthew or appear in any historical documents.
Several theories have been proposed to explain the differences. The oldest one, ascribed to Julius Africanus, uses the concept of Levirate marriage. It suggests that Matthan, grandfather of Joseph according to Matthew, and Matthat, grandfather of Joseph according to Luke, were brothers, married to the same woman one after another. Matthan's son, Jacob, was Joseph's biological father, and Matthat's son (and Jacob's half-brother), Eli or Heli, was his legal father.
It is also theorized by some that, while Matthew gave the genealogy of Joseph (legal father), Luke gave the genealogy of his wife Mary. Thus, when Luke 3:23 says "Joseph, the son of Heli," it actually means "son-in-law." This theory makes more sense if we remember that Joseph was a de facto foster father to Yeshua; therefore, it is only possible to establish blood connection between Yeshua and David via his mother. Matthew's genealogy establishes Yeshua's right to being a king where Luke's genealogy establishes the blood link to David.
Most scholars today accept that one or both Gospels are not presenting literal history in their genealogies. Scholars are divided on which, if any, is more likely to be accurate. The names in Matthew's genealogy match the historical period in which they are meant to have lived. However, some scholars believe his list is far too short for the many centuries meant to be covered. Matthew's list of names contains 28 generations between David and Joseph, giving an approximate average length of generation of 35 years, extremely long for an ancient genealogy. An example is the period of the Egyptian exile where only three names cover several centuries. Matthew list also lacks the passing of names from grandfather to child, a naming pattern expected in such lists.
Luke's genealogy is considerably longer than Matthew's, going through David's son Nathan which does not include the kings of Israel is also seen as adding to Luke's credibility. However the names on Luke's list seem to lack the historical accuracy of Matthew. The names for figures who lived centuries earlier reflect those of the first century AD rather than the periods in which the people actually lived. Luke's genealogy also contains several repeated groups of closely similar names, causing some scholars to believe this could be an indication of inadvertent duplication.
I would like to add that although there are disagreements and concerns over the accruacy of these two lists by historians and some theologians, I personally believe that both works were inspired by the Holy Spirit and are correct on their face value.
Genealogy according to Matthew:
Genealogy according to Luke:
Who Yeshua is as described in the Bible
"Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God. And Christ became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness and truth." (John 1:1-14)
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!" Hebrews (13:8)
"I am the Way--yes, and the Truth and the Life. No one can get to the Father except by means of me." (John 14:6)
"Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father." Matthew (11:27)
"Jesus carries out and fulfills all of God's promises, no matter how many of them there are." (2 Corinthians 1:20)
"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. No one can kill me without my consent--I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right and power to lay it down when I want to and also the right and power to take it again. For the Father has given me this right." (John 10:11-18)
"We despised him and rejected him--a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised and we didn't care. Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed--and we were healed! We--every one of us--have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God's paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us! \\ From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people of that day realized it was their sins that he was dying for--that he was suffering their punishment? He was buried like a criminal, but in a rich man's grave; but he had done no wrong, and had never spoken an evil word. But it was the Lord's good plan to bruise him and fill him with grief. However when his soul has been made an offering for sin, then he shall have a multitude of children, many heirs. He shall live again and God's program shall prosper in his hands." (Isaiah 53:2-6, 8-10)