Joseph and Mary, Picked by God

Joseph and Mary, Picked by God

(Matthew 1:1-16 ; Luke 3:23-38)

One of the overlooked facts in the passages that we use for Christmas is how God worked behind the scenes to bring about certain prophesies concerning the birth of Jesus Christ. In this lesson we will look at some of these prophesies and see why God chose both Joseph and Mary to be the parents of his son.

Have you ever wondered why God allowed you to be born to your parents and not someone else? Or maybe why you were born in the state or country that you were born in? The truth is that God is in control of everything and has a reason for what he does. In this lesson we hope to show this spiritual truth and give better insight into the fact that God really is in control.

Prophesies about the birth of Jesus Christ:

1)  Jesus’ birth would be a miraculous birth (Genesis 3:15)

  • Note the verse says the seed of the woman. The woman has no seed, in reproduction the seed comes from the man. Therefore, we see something spectacular will happen concerning this prophesy.

2)  Jesus would be virgin born (Isaiah 7:14)

  • This verse is self explanatory.

3)  Jesus would be a king and a ruler (Isaiah 9:6-7)

  • Note in this passage a son is given (God gives his son) and a child is born (Jesus is born). In this we see that he was with God in the beginning but also became flesh and blood by being virgin born.

4)  The king would come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10)

  • This prophesy identifies which tribe of Israel would bring forth the king.

5)  Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:3)

  • Here we learn exactly where Jesus would be born.

All of these prophesies are important to Jesus’ birth, but they also connect with the Joseph and Mary.

Joseph’s genealogy (Matthew 1:1-16)

In this passage the bible gives us the genealogy of Joseph. Note that he goes back to Abraham through David. Joseph is of the tribe of Judah and is a descendant of David through Solomon (verse 6).

Mary’s genealogy (Luke 3:23-38)

In this passage the bible gives us the genealogy of Mary. In verse 23 Joseph is said to be the son of Heli. Many get confused here, but what is happening is that Heli is really Joseph’s father-in-law. In verse 31 we see that Mary goes back to David through Nathan. This also shows us that this is her genealogy and not Joseph’s because Joseph goes back to David through Solomon. Mary goes back to David through Nathan.

Both Joseph and Mary go back to David, therefore Jesus is plainly from the tribe of Judah as the prophesies said he would be.

The problem with Joseph’s genealogy:

Joseph could not have been Jesus’ physical father because Mary was a virgin as it was prophesied in the Old Testament. In Luke 1:34 Mary told the angel that she had not known a man. This is the reason why Joseph was going to put her away privately (Matthew 1:19). Mary had conceived by the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:35) which fulfilled the prophesies Jesus being born of a virgin.

There is also another problem with Joseph being the physical father of Jesus. In Joseph’s genealogy the bible shows that he is a descendant of Jechonias (Matthew 1:11).  When we compare 2 Chronicles 36 :1-11 with Jeremiah 22:24-30 we find that this Jechonias is Jehoiachin who God calls Coniah in Jeremiah 22:24.

The problem with being a descendant of this man is that in Jeremiah 22:30 God says to write this man childless and that no seed of his will prosper sitting on the throne of David. Therefore, if Jesus had been the son of Joseph he would not be able to prosper as a king sitting upon the throne of David.

We must remember that Jesus goes back to David through Mary also, who does not go through Jeconiah. Therefore, Jesus has a right to the throne of his father David, and it will be a successful reign. God was very careful when he picked the parents for his son, and in the process didn’t contradict any of the prophesies from the Old Testament.

The place where Jesus was born: (Luke 2:1-7)

What is interesting about Joseph is that even though he is of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of David he is living in Nazareth. God used a Roman ruler (Caesar Augustus) to put out a tax that required everyone to be taxed in the city of their heritage. This causes Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem and while they were there, Jesus was born. Think also about the timing of this tax. It was in the last part of her pregnancy. Once again we see how that God worked behind the scenes to bring about his plan.

The Lesson for us:

We must remember that God is in control. He used a pagan ruler and a tax to get his child born in Bethlehem. Even though the trip was probably a hardship for Mary and Joseph it was the will of God for them to go to Bethlehem.

God allows us to be born when, where, and to whom he does for a purpose. He also allows great hardships to come upon us sometimes in order to accomplish his purpose in our lives. A great verse for this truth is Romans 8:28. We would do well to memorize this verse.

Joseph and Mary, Picked by God (Matthew 1:1-16 ; Luke 3:23-38)


1)  List some prophesies concerning the birth of Jesus and show what they are connected with.

2)  Which passage gives us the genealogy of Joseph?

3)  Which passage gives us the genealogy of Mary?

4)  What is significant about these genealogies in regards to Jesus Being the king of the Jews?

5)  What is wrong with Joseph’s genealogy and why is this important?

6)  What are some key things that God did to have Jesus born in Bethlehem?

7)  What is the spiritual lesson for us from these things?