Saturday 01 January 2011

Bible Book:

"And he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." (v. 21)

Luke 2:15-21 Saturday 1 January 2011


Today many Christians commemorate the 'Naming of Jesus', tocoincide with his circumcision on the eighth day as recorded inLuke's Gospel. 

But our passage begins earlier, with Luke's account of theshepherds coming to Bethlehem to see the child lying in the manger,as the angels foretold (verse 16). It is characteristic of Luke (incontrast with Matthew) that the good news should be shared firstwith the humble and poor represented by the shepherds (cf Isaiah61); and also that they should go to Bethlehem the city ofDavid, who represents both the great king of Israel and a one-timeshepherd. 

Characteristic too is his observation that Mary "treasured allthese words" and "pondered them in her heart" (verse 19). We areaware from what comes later, when Mary meets with Simeon and Annafurther on in this chapter, that therewill be other words which will challenge, as well as comfort her,concerning the birth of her son. 

Jesus' circumcision follows on the eighth day (verse 21) inaccordance with the Jewish law. His name is the one which the angelgave to Mary along with the promise of his birth (Luke1:31). 'Jesus' is the Greek form of the common Hebrew name'Joshua' which means that 'God saves' (although Luke, unlike theother Gospel writers, does not draw out the meaning of his name).However, it may be significant that in Luke, even the naming ofJesus takes place in such a way as both to fulfil the Jewish lawand speak to a wider audience. 

To Ponder

Do you think of Christmas as 'good news for thepoor'? Why?

How far do our Christmas celebrations help tomake this real?

What's in a name? What do we make of the nameswhich we have been given - and the names we give to others?

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