Infancy Narratives: Matthew & Luke VII

Outline for Preface & Infancy (1:1-2:52)[1]

Preface (1:1-4)

Announcement to Zechariah of the Birth of John (1:5-25)

Announcement to Mary of the Birth of Jesus (1:26-38)

Mary’s Visitation to Elizabeth and Her Magnificat (1:39-56)

Birth of John and Zechariah’s Benedictus (1:57-80)

Birth of Jesus (2:1-20)

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (2:21-40)

Finding of Jesus in the Temple (2:21-40)

Luke firmly situates Jesus’ birth within a historical context, reign of Herod King of Judea

Zechariah & Elizabeth

Model Jews, righteous before God, observing all the commandments and ordinances blamelessly

Zechariah (YHWH has remembered) priestly division of Abijah (1 Chron 24:10)

Elizabeth (my God & oath) of a priestly family

Elizabeth barren both advanced in years> Abraham & Sarah (Gen 11:30; 18:11)

Zechariah duties drawn by lot to burn incense in the Holy Place at the ninth hour (three o’clock) crucifixion allusion

Angel of God appears, Gabriel, announces joyful/good news/euangelizo/evangelize news of the imminent birth of a son and directions on how to name and raise him

Zechariah doubts, he should have trusted knowing the story of Abraham & Sarah (Gen 17:17; 18:12)

He is struck mute/kophos/ which also can mean deaf Lk 7:22

As we know Jesus heals the deaf and mute as well as gives the priestly blessing Lk 24:50

Elizabeth conceives, The Lord has taken away my disgrace echoing Rachel’s exclamation (Gen 30:20)

>> God remembered Zechariah & Elizabeth!

Did Mary Doubt?

How can this be? is rendered more literally how will this be?

Luke clearly states the reason

Zechariah did not believe v1:20, wants proof

Mary believed v1:45, wants instructions

Mary is betrothed, would it not seem reasonable given the Pharisees insistence on progeny within marriage, for her to expect children UNLESS she had already decided on dedicating herself to God as a virgin. Some Essenes practiced celibacy. This is the view of Church Fathers Gregory of Nyssa & Augustine, Mary’s vow of virginity.

Some scholars posit Mary had an understanding of an imminent fulfillment, but Luke does not hint nor say such a thing

Question out of doubt or wonder. How or How? Simply to ask is not to doubt. Faith seeking understanding, how it is to be done.

Old covenant not sufficient, an element given on high, for people to understand, a new man. Spirit & life. His inability to have faith at the moment. God use lack of faith to demonstrate what is happening.

[1] Gadenz 24