Heli: Paternal Grandfather of Jesus

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: August 31, 2017

Category: Daily Devotional

Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work. He was the son (as was thought) of Joseph, son of Heli … son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.
Luke 3:23

Since Dr. Negley and I began writing these devotionals on characters in the Bible, we have written some on people whose names we do not know. They are anonymous. We have written others on characters very familiar to us from our knowledge of the scriptures. Then we have written some (as I am doing today) on a rather obscure person.

Today we look at Heli. All we know of him is found in this one verse in the Gospel of Luke. He was the father of Joseph. (Luke 3:23)

We know much more about Heli’s son. We know that Joseph was related to King David. We know that Joseph had dreams and he obeyed the instructions that were given him. We know that Joseph was engaged to Mary and later married her after she bore a son which Joseph named, “Jesus.” (see Matthew 1:18-25) We know that Joseph heeded the dreams which would cause him to flee to Egypt with Mary and the Christ child for His protection. (see Matthew 2) We know that Joseph was a carpenter (see Matthew 13:55). We know a good bit about Joseph, but Heli, Joseph’s father and the paternal grandfather of Jesus, just gets mentioned.

In the genealogy of Jesus according to Luke, we find the familiar names: David, Abraham, Noah, Seth, and Adam. He also includes obscure relatives such as: Matthat, Esli, Arni, Perez, and Terah. He finally traces Jesus’ genealogy back to God.

As we examine the people in our family trees, we will find some who have become notable and others whose names are just mentioned. Our genealogies are that much like Jesus’ family tree! Once we are baptized we are declared to be children of God too! As we trace our heritage we may discover a famous or notable name or two and there may be many more names that are just mentioned and that are obscure.

There were a number of names on that family tree and Heli was but one, but he was listed between God and Jesus. We must admit that he could not have been in any better company. As we become part of God’s family through baptism … we become God’s children and Jesus is our elder brother. Whether we become famous or are merely mentioned in our respective genealogies, we too cannot be in any better company. Thanks be to God!


Loving God, we thank You for our families and for all who are a part of our family tree. Help us to love our families and to be good servants who honor and glorify You. In Christ’s name, we pray.