Infancy Narratives: Matthew & Luke VI

Mat 2:1-23

Two Response to Jesus

Gentile Magi seek Him

Herod tries to kill Him, massacre, exile, unable to return to Judea

Somber in tone, pointing to His death

Magi in Jewish thought tried to kill Daniel Dan 1:20, 2:2, 4:6-7 and were associated with idol worship. Unlikely group that would seek out Israel’s’ new king for worship. Probably from Persia, astrologers.[1]

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Hebrew House of Bread, known as city of David) of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”

Matthean theme, those unexpectedly follow Christ while those expected to follow Him actually try to kill Him.

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

Herod was not born King of the Jews, he was appointed by Rome, an Idumean, a worldly king vs JC a Divine King. Greatly paranoid, murdered most of his family, as political rivals. His killing of the newborn males, harkening to the male babies thrown in the Nile Moses salvation, is in keeping with Herod’s murderous tendencies. First Christian martyrs.

ANE Jews truly felt like exiles living in their own land. Both Temple & King corrupt.[2] Matthew declares the end of exile is at hand with a new king.

Contrasting the Gentile Magi actions, gifts indicate nations coming down before the king of Israel. King of both the world and Israel.

Practically, the gifts allow Joseph the means to provide for his family.

Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold (King) and frankincense (God) and myrrh (Passion). 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Egypt is outside of Herod’s rule but under Roman law. Jews where there since the days of Jacob (Gen 46-47). A common place of refuge.

When Herod dies, his son Archelaus is appointed ruler over Judea. Joseph prudently avoids the rule of Archelaus and takes his family to Nazareth a small, obscure village with 480 persons approx.

Nazareth, netser similar to Nazareth, branch. Though the Davidic line has been reduced to Jesse’s stump Is 11:1 (from the Babylonian exile 587 BC), a branch has spring which will fulfill the ancient promises. This branch will save his people from their sins (as told to the Annunciation of Joseph) Jer 23:5-6, Jer 33:14-16, Zech 3:8, Zec 6:11-13

The Messianic branch is being raised in a “branch” town.

Endearing charming points, babe in the manger feeding trough. Elegant how our Lord tells his story, tenderness, unwrapping of a present. Flowers strewn before us.

Matthew has 28 chapters

Luke has 24 chapters, read in an Advent, fullness of his life

  1. Luke

Mea Culpa- giving short work of Luke. Focus on some highlights. Please treat yourself and read the Gospel infancy narrative during Advent or Christmas season!

– companion book, Acts as such these two books round out the historical narrative reading of the Bible

Luke was probably a Gentile by birth, well educated in Greek culture, a physician by profession, a companion of Paul at various times from his second missionary journey to his final imprisonment in Rome, and a loyal friend who remained with the apostle after others had deserted him (2Ti 4:11).

Antioch (of Syria) and Philippi are among the places suggested as his hometown.[3]

Genre & Style

Ancient biography, similar  Justin Martyr 100’s AD is a memoirs of the apostles, written in excellent Greek reminiscent of classical Greek writing

Audience: To Theophilus, lover of God, Greek Gentile, message for the whole world

Purpose: Jesus as Son of God, Savior, Messiah, and Lord are introduced (1:35, 2:11)[4]

 Realize with certainty the teachings, katecheo, catechized received. V4

[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, Second Catholic Edition RSV (Ignatius Press: San Francisco 2000) 8

[2] Michael Dauphinais & Matthew Levering, Holy People, Holy Land: A Theological Introduction to the Bible (Brazos Press: Grand Rapids MI 2005) 137

[3]  accessed November 4, 2022

[4] Pablo T. Gadenz, The Gospel of Luke (Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI 2018) 20

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