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Visual Commentary

Luke 1:57-80

John’s birth reflects the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah. A couple that is advanced in years is able to conceive. John’s birth often gets left out of the Christmas story, but it was equally important to Luke’s telling of the Gospel.

Luke 2:1-20

This is one of the most well known stories of the Bible, thanks to the classic 1964 Peanuts Christmas TV Special. It is hard for Americans to not hear these words spoken in the voice of Linus Van Pelt, the Peanuts character.

While the sentimentality of that story is nice, it does not necessarily reflect the tone of the story in Luke. Mary and Joseph were forced from their home by an Imperial edict that was designed to catalog them like cattle so that they could be even more oppressed through taxation. 

This is a story of contrasting kingdoms and values. Read the commentary below for a verse-by-verse analysis of this passage.

Luke 2:21-52

Jesus’ preparation story ends with two significant scenes that take place within the Temple. It is not an accident that these scenes happen inside the Temple. One of Luke’s main themes is that Jesus’ ministry redefines the purpose and the boundaries of the Temple. He is the fulfillment and the expansion of God’s incarnate presence within the temple. By the end of Acts the people of God are the Temple and the dwelling place of God’s Spirit incarnate in the world.

Simeon and Anna prophecy over Jesus and proclaim the Good News. They serve as transitional characters. They are the old guard holding out hope for the coming Messiah. They see the fulfillment of God’s promise in this child and they are able to move on.

Twelve years later Jesus’ family makes the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover. Jeus is almost ready to be bar-mitvahed (age 13). Perhaps he thinks it is time for him to begin his ministry. Mary frantically searches for her son. She’s not ready. Jesus isn’t ready.

There is a moment of conflict. Mary has one idea for her son. Jesus has another idea. Finally, both Mary and Jesus realize that they are not in control of the timeline. This is God’s story. They both release themselves to the natural process and let the story unfold in God’s timing. 

word nerd moment: It is interesting to note that Jesus does not actually say “in my father’s house.” The literal translation says, “Did you not know that in the of my father it is necessary for me to be?” 

In the what of his father? It seems that Luke left out a direct object. This missing word has led some translators to write, “I must be about my father’s business.”

 

It will be another eighteen years before Jesus is ready to begin his public ministry. He still needs to grow and mature before he can take on that burden.

Other Online Resources to Study Luke

Enjoy the Luke-Acts series from The Bible Project

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