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Bible Discussion — Luke 1:39-2:40 : Bweinh!

Bible Discussion — Luke 1:39-2:40

December 24, 2007, 2:45 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, David, Steve  | 1 Comment

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next section of Luke, Luke 1:39-2:40.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: Luke 1:1-38

There is no surprise that Luke’s account of the nativity has become the standard for Christmas celebrations down through the ages. His writing is beautiful, and he himself was a gentile, a startled and awestruck outsider whose heart had not been hardened by religion.

Mary leaves on her fact-finding mission, only to find everything is as Gabriel has said. Elizabeth is pregnant and the babies in womb seem to know each other. So cool!

I didn’t think I would find one, and then I read v.80 — John the Baptist was “in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.” I knew he hung out in the wilderness, eating locusts and honey, but I didn’t remember it was a long-term lifestyle, preparing him for the ministry to come.

Mary was there three months, meaning she could have stayed through to help with the birth — even though it isn’t specifically mentioned. That could have prepared her for giving birth on her own later, as it turned out. I cannot imagine that she’d leave with the birth so imminent; maybe the written order isn’t as legalistic as it sounds.

Chloe: Heavenly Host
Steve: In the Deserts
Connie: Quirinius

I had a friend ask me if I believed the song that claimed that if Jesus came today, he would drive a Harley. I said no, it would be a moped — lime green with a basket and a white cracked vinyl seat. No one would be impressed with the outside.

His true importance would be hidden from the wise and revealed to some cowhands in Nebraska.

Mary’s proclamation is similar to Hannah’s song about Samuel, except that she’s going on faith, as her baby is not yet born and Samuel was flesh and blood. Both mothers made a sacrifice: Hannah wasn’t able to raise hers, and Mary’s had a destiny that would take him away from her as well.

A Bible professor who agreed with the theory that Luke was written to the Romans told me that Luke was trying to convey a particular message with the two songs in this section. Mary and Zechariah both sing of God lifting up the Jews and vanquishing their physical enemies; however, Jesus never fulfills that aspect of their songs.

Luke wanted to juxtapose the Jews’ expectation for Israel’s political messiah with the reality of Jesus as the world’s spiritual Messiah. Of course, this theory doesn’t take into account verse 67, which says that when Zechariah spoke, he was filled with the Holy Spirit, but it’s still an interesting point of view.

It doesn’t get any deeper. God is doing what He said He would in Isaiah, when He said because there was no man to save us, He would do it Himself. “The Lord hath bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations:”

Luke’s account of the shepherds is so strange. Why would a bunch of angels go to some no-name, graveyard-shift shepherds in some random field bordering Bethlehem, to tell them about the greatest birth ever in the history of the universe, then give them a heavenly concert, the likes of which have never been recorded? Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? “Good news of great joy that will be for all the people. . . a Savior has been born to you.”

Luke is saying that we are the anonymous shepherds, who have become some of the most important characters in the narrative.

Luke plugs the divine authority of his account in verse 20: “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” God has got a hand in this story, so don’t you go doubting its accuracy!

With Theophilus an elected official (1:3), Herod the king of Judea (1:5), Caesar Augustus reigning in Rome (2:1), Cyrenius governor of Syria, and the mention of a great taxation, Luke gives 5 verifiable historical events, with which to check the accuracy of just the first 77 verses of his Gospel. This kind of authentic, verifiable data is what separates the Bible from the books of the Apocrypha, where wild unverifiable claims abound.

I slept outside in a hammock last night (December 23) in the best swaddling cloths I could find, a sleeping bag rated to zero degrees. It was a night of 50 mph winds, and I woke several times to a disconcerting lack of sensation in my feet; I kept dreaming that I had gone inside and was telling people how cold my feet were.

That was an important part of my experience — the knowledge that I could go inside at any time and sleep on a couch or bed, in a warm, safe house. I may now understand, just a little more, the physical sensations of the manger, but I will probably never truly know what it’s like to face such dire conditions without any tangible safety net, as Mary and Joseph did with their miracle Baby.

David, Steve:
2:11 — “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

1:78-79 — “Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Whether angels can sing. It has been pointed out that they are always “saying” or “speaking,” never singing, as we always portray them.

Did Mary really understand exactly which Child she had given birth to?

Why would/did Mary go home before John’s birth — if she did?

God has thrust Himself into the affairs of men. It is the ultimate “Don’t make me come down there” threat, being made good on.

God’s greatest gifts are so simple, yet we can make them so complicated. Just believe His promises.

I’m amazed by the humble and noble reactions of the men and women God chose to use in His wondrous plan. Beautiful songs of worship and devotion to the Lord.

It is hard to read this section and not feel the love of God for His broken world — or fail to read the import of what is happening in the simple retelling.

Worship! Just like the shepherds did. Another Hal — le — lu — jah chorus!

Christ the Savior is born.


1 Comment to “Bible Discussion — Luke 1:39-2:40”

  1. Bible Discussion — Jonah 3-4 : Bweinh! on February 3rd, 2009 11:05 pm

    […] 8 (I) Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16 Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 1011 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 […]

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