Luke 1–2: Mercy & Joy

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 19: Saturday

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished
among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”

Luke 1:1–4

Saturday’s Bible reading of Luke 1–2, begins Luke’s carefully researched and written gospel. In these opening verses Luke tells Theophilus exactly why he is writing and exactly how he has compiled his account. As you read, watch for the names of rulers, places and events that tie this record down in time and location. Their inclusion is significant as it underscores Luke’s care in being precise about when and where these events unfolded.

These chapters contain the announcement to Zecharias of the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, the announcement to Mary of the forthcoming birth of Jesus, and the announce- ment to the shepherds of the birth of Jesus. Luke 2 is the well-known Christmas narration, and this chapter also records two significant visits of Jesus to the temple: the first occurs when, as the firstborn son, the infant Jesus is presented to the Lord; the second occurs at the Passover when Jesus was twelve, when He astounds the Temple teachers with His understanding and answers.

Look for the words mercy and joy (and synony- mous phrases) in these chapters. Who uses these words? What is their context and significance?

Notice also the repetitive ending Luke uses at the close of each section in these chapters. After the birth of John the Baptist, Luke writes:

“And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.”
Luke 1:80

After the birth of Jesus and His presentation in the Temple:

“The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”
Luke 2:40

After Jesus’ visit to the Temple when He was twelve:

“And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
Luke 2:52

With those words, Luke finishes his record of the significant and miraculous events he wanted Theophilus to know regarding the birth of John the Baptist and the birth and childhood of Jesus Christ. In chapter three, he will turns to their lives as adults, as he writes of the ministry of John the Baptist.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (La présentation de Jésus au Temple), James Tissot:
No known copyright restrictions.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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