I would like to quote two verses in the genealogy of Jesus Christ from the book of Matthew. We shall see in these the “Royal and Legal Line” through which Christ was born and that these indeed gave Him the right to be Israel’s king. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham…Abraham begot Isaac…Jesse begot David the king…And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of WHOM was born Jesus who is called Christ” (Matthew 1:1 & 16).

Most Bible students know that it was given to Matthew to write of Jesus Christ as the KING OF ISRAEL (Mark wrote of Him as the Perfect Servant; Luke as the Perfect Man, and John as the eternal Son of God). It is fitting then that Matthew begins by tracing Jesus’ lineage back to “David the king” to prove that He was in the “Royal Line” which qualified Him to sit on Israel’s throne as their long-awaited Messiah. But as you said (and rightly so), Joseph was NOT the “natural father” of Jesus and that is implied in the wording of verse 16, for it does not say that “Joseph begot Jesus.” Yet it does say that Joseph was “the HUSBAND of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.” By being “the husband of Mary” Joseph was Jesus’ “legal father” (see Luke 2:41 & 48) and thus Jesus had a “legal right” to rule on David’s throne since Joseph was a descendant of David through the “line of Solomon” (see Matthew 1:6). It should be noted that Jesus also had a “legal right” to the throne through Mary, for she was also a descendant of David through the “line of Nathan” (see Luke 3:31). In Luke 23:23-38 we have the genealogy of Jesus Christ through Mary. We conclude then that Jesus was in the Royal Line and the Legal Line, and He has the right to be Israel’s king and will one day sit on the “throne of David” (see 2nd Samuel 7:4-13).

It is beautiful to see that the Holy Spirit, who inspired Matthew to write the gospel, also guarded the precious truth of the Virgin Birth in this verse, for the emphasis on Jesus’ birth is on MARY “of WHOM was born Jesus.” The first “gospel message” recorded in Scripture speaks of this, for we read in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you (the Serpent) and the WOMAN, and between your seed, and HER SEED; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” The Lord Jesus is not only the KING OF ISRAEL; He is the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD (see John 4:39-42 and 1st John 4:14). In order to be the Savior of the world, He could NOT be born of two human parents, or He would have been “born in sin” (see Psalm 51:5 and John 3:6). And thus we read in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fulness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, BORN OF A WOMAN, born under the law, to REDEEM those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” So we see that He could not have had a “biological father” and yet this did not prevent Him from having the “legal right” to the throne of David.   (DO)  (528.5)