A wise man knows his own father.
"Let there be Light"
As we get ready for the Christmas season with its annual over-the-top birthday party for the Messiah or the Christ it's worth pausing to consider the pertinent point: Who was his real father? There are three candidates.
Here is the ancestral male line of Jesus' genealogy according to Matthew ch. 1 v. 1-16: Abraham - Isaac - Jacob - Judah - Perez - Hezron - Ram - Amminadab - Nahson - Salmon - Boaz - Obed - Jesse - David - Solomon - Rehoboam - Abijah - Asa - Jehoshaphat - Jehoram - Uzziah - Jotham - Ahaz - Hezekiah - Manasseh - Amon - Josiah - Jeconiah - Shealtiel - Zerubbabel - Abiud - Eliakim - Azor - Zadok - Akim - Eliud - Eleazar - Matthan - Jacob - Joseph - Jesus.
Beginning in Luke ch. 3 v. 23 there is a second male line genealogy for Jesus. Note that this one is very different from that given in Matthew ch. 1. Luke takes the trouble to prove to his readership that Jesus is the son of God. Here is how he does it.
God - Adam - Seth - Enosh - Kenan - Mahalalel - Jared - Enoch - Methuselah - Lamech - Noah - Shem - Arphaxad - Cainan - Shelah - Eber - Peleg - Reu - Serug - Nahor - Terah - Abraham - Isaac - Jacob - Judah - Perez - Hezron - Ram - Amminadab - Nahshon - Salmon - Boaz - Obed - Jesse - David - Nathan - Mattatha - Menna - Melea - Eliakim - Jonam - Joseph - Judah - Simeon - Levi - Matthat - Jorim - Eliezer - Joshua - Er - Elmadam - Cosam - Melki - Neri - Shealtiel - Zerubbabel - Rhesa - Joanan - Joda - Josech - Semein - Mattathias - Maath - Naggai - Esli - Nahum - Amos - Mattathias - Joseph - Jannai - Melki - Levi - Matthat - Heli - Joseph - Jesus.
It's as clear as day that Matthew's Joseph and Luke's Joseph are not the same person.
The Joseph referred to in Matthew is the son of Jacob. The Joseph referred to in Luke is the son of Heli. Both these Josephs can trace their ancestors back to King David. But by different routes. That's 40 generations of difference. Matthew's Joseph springs from the line of David's son Solomon. Luke's Joseph from the line of David's son Nathan. And therein lies a Christmas conundrum.
Now we must ask the obvious questions. Was Mary in some way confused? Did she have a problem choosing between her two suitors - the two Josephs? Were both of them graced with her favours? Did she perhaps play one against the other? Which Joseph did she marry eventually?
So then, who was Jesus' real father? Here is a list of the three candidates:
X Joseph (of Matthew's Gospel)
X Joseph (of Luke's Gospel)
You may pick your own cross.