The Rejected Servant

Not surprisingly, the rejection of Jesus in Luke 4 (beginning in verse 16) is often mistaken as being the same event as the one written about in Matthew 13:54-58 and Mark 6:1-6. Both the Luke event and the one in Matthew and Mark took place in His home town of Nazareth. But the one in Luke took place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

Recall that the rejection written about by Matthew and Mark occurred after Jesus had explained the parables to his disciples (Matthew 13:36-52). It should not be surprising to us that Jesus would go back there, much less that he would be trying to teach them when he did. That second rejection was fairly uneventful, relatively speaking. This first rejection in Nazareth, however, resulted in a mob attempting to kill him.

After his temptations in the wilderness, Jesus returned  to Galilee, and the word was spreading about him. He taught in the synagogues, and verse 15 says He was “being glorified by all.”  Then we find Jesus in Nazareth in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Luke says that this was His custom, which is, of course, what we would expect.  He stood up to read, and the scroll of Isaiah was given to Him.  He quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2, which is part of what is known as the fifth “servant song” in Isaiah. This one would seem to speak to those returning from exile at the time Isaiah wrote it. And at first (although all eyes were on Him after reading it), many of those in the synagogue appeared not to “get it” at first.

Then, as understanding began to come to them, some reminded others that He was Joseph’s son. Jesus perceived the way they were headed, telling them that “no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.” He then cites 1 Kings 17:9, where Elijah (during the famine) was sent to the Gentile widow in Sidon. Next, He refers to 2 Kings 5:1-14, where (though there were plenty of lepers in Israel in Elisha’s time), only Naaman of Syria was cleansed.  The point of referring to these incidents was to underscore the unbelief that was widespread in Israel at the time, and the contrasting faith shown by these Gentiles.

Filled with rage, the people drove Him out to the edge of the hill on which the town was built, intending to throw Him down. It was the same murderous rage that nearly got Paul killed in Acts 22:17-22, as he also referred to Gentiles. But this was not the time for Jesus to be murdered, and so verse 30 says that He went away, “passing through their midst.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Gabriel Appears To Mary

Gabriel making the Annunciation to the Virgin ...

Gabriel making the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. Painting by El Greco, 1575 (Museo del Prado, Madrid). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verse 26 of Luke chapter one begins ” in the sixth month,” which refers to the time following Elizabeth’s conception of John the Baptist. Note that the description of Nazareth’s location by Luke is further evidence of his intended Gentile audience. Any Jew would know very well where Nazareth was. The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a virgin named Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph, of the house of David. Betrothal in those days was nothing like the sense in which we imagine such a term. Rather, it was a negotiated agreement that was binding upon both the bride and the groom to the extent that they were legally and religiously married in all respects – except that of living together.

Gabriel told Mary, who did not “know a man,”  that she would bear a son by the power of the Holy Spirit and the “Most High” (verse 35), and name Him Jesus. This  reference to God as “Most High” (Elyon, used seven times in Luke) is seen first in Genesis 14:18-20 when Abram met Melchizedek, and was used quite often thereafter – seen often in the Psalms, Numbers 24:16, and Daniel 3:26, and 4:24,34. He also told her some very important things about Jesus: 1) that He will be called holy – the Son of God, 2) that God will give Him the throne of David, his father, from which He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and 3) that of His kingdom there shall be no end. Before he left, Gabriel told Mary of the pregnancy of her elderly relative, Elizabeth, which was his offering of a sign for Mary’s encouragement in what he had told her.

John the baptist Church in Ein Karem Jerusalem...

John the baptist Church in Ein Karem Jerusalem, Israel, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mary went to see her relative, and when she arrived, we are told that Elizabeth’s baby (who was filled with the holy Spirit) leaped for joy in her womb at the presence of the Lord – providing yet another affirmation for the Christian of the sanctity of life in the womb. Mary stayed with her for about three months before returning home. Verses 47-55 contain Mary’s song – a psalm of praise to God that has come to be known at the “Magnificat” – a title which comes from the Latin translation.

Side note: In verse 39, when Mary went to see Elizabeth, the text says that she went “into the hill country to a town in Judah.” We do not really know where in that area it actually was, but traditional belief widely held is that the home of John the Baptist was in Ein Karem, about 5 miles west of Jerusalem. There is an interesting article with some pictures of the area in this feature at Ferrell’s Travel Blog.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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Luke 2 – The Birth of Jesus Christ

Verses 1-20 deal with the miraculous birth of Jesus.   The circumstances of His birth, the lack of great wealth on the part of His parents, and even the people who this scripture places with Him all point to a King that was not just for the favored few.

The Roman emperor Caesar Augustus was born about 62 BC, and reigned from about 32 BC until his death in about 14 AD.  Joseph and Mary had gone to Bethlehem (the city of David, of whose lineage Joseph was descended) from Nazareth because of a decree by Caesar Augustus that all subjects of the Roman Empire must be registered for the purpose of taxation.    Of course, had there been no such decree, something else would have brought them there anyway because God’s prophets had already told us that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2).  Verse 7 says that Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”  Those were the signs that the angel of the Lord, who appeared to some shepherds, told them to look for when they went to see for themselves (verses 8-13).

Stone manger from Bible times, perhaps similar to the one that cradled the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The manger held food for animals.

At the end of eight days, he was circumcised (according to God’s commandment to Abraham in Genesis 17:12); and named Jesus – just as Mary had been told before He was conceived (Luke 1:31-32).  Verse 22 would be 33 days later in which they would have journeyed to Jerusalem (Leviticus 12:3-8) to make their sacrifice according to the Law given to Moses.  Joseph and Mary would not have the means to offer a lamb, but would obey the Law of the Lord.  We do not know anything else about the man Simeon in verses 25-35.  The scripture says that the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would see the Christ before he died, so he had obviously found favor with God.  As he held the savior in his arms, his words affirm that verse 10’s reference to “all people” means Jews and Gentiles alike as, in verse 32, he calls Jesus “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”  Verses 36-38 recount more of God’s revelations about Jesus to his humblest of servants.  The family then returned to Nazareth, where verse 40 tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom and “the favor of God was upon him.”

Naturally, as verse 41 says, his parents returned to Jerusalem every year to observe the Feast of the Passover.  On the occasion of verse 42, he was 12 years old.  This may be about 7 AD, as the best estimates (contrary to what many people might assume), are that He was born about 5 BC.   It seems more than a bit strange to us that Joseph and Mary did not notice he had remained behind in Jerusalem until they well on their way back to Nazareth (verses 43-44), but we must remember that such a journey during an important festival would have had them traveling with a large group of family and friends that trusted and cared for one another.  When they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him, they finally found Him in the Temple – and as verses 46-47 say, amazing the teachers there.  He demonstrates that He already knows He is the Son of God, as He says in verse 49 “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.