Friday

Luke 2:15-21 Friday 1 January 2016

Psalm: Psalm 8


Background

Mary is central to the account in the first two chapters ofLuke's Gospel. She brings together the stories of Jesus and John,which no one else does. We could say, though we don't know, thatthe whole story comes from her. We read that she visited Elizabethfor three months (Luke 1:56), so she must surely have beenpresent at the birth of John, though the narrative takes no noticeof her. Thus, she is bearer of 'the word' in two senses. She isalso prophetic and possibly a preacher, sharing the message withhearers after the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Given the dramatic events we read here - angels appearing andannouncing Jesus' birth - followed by the shepherds spreading theword, it is odd that things are quiet for the next 30 years. Ofcourse in the story we do not have long gaps, we go from thereactions of Simeon (Luke2:25-35) and Anna (Luke2:36-38), through Jesus' encounter in the temple (Luke2:41-52, see Sunday's notes too) to the appearance of John the Baptist (weare out of sequence this week). The momentum is maintained, eventhough we do not know what happened in between.

How did other people react? Presumably the news of the shepherdsadded to the general fervour of Messianic expectation in thepopulation, who then waited 30 years for some fulfilment by whichtime they had forgotten the story of angels and a miraculous birth,nor was Jesus that kind of Messiah.

Mary, however, ponders, making sense of it all. We can pondertoo over how much she may have influenced the style and approach ofthe Gospel writer.


To Ponder

  • How important is Mary to you? Do you agree with her centralimportance? Why?
  • How does the announcement of Jesus' birth fit with the 30-yearwait for the start of his ministry? 
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