They went to Bethlehem to enroll in a census, and Jesus was born there in a manger. We know from the ancient historian Suetonius (The Twelve Caesars, “Life of Claudius,” 25) and from the Book of Acts (18:2) that the emperor Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome in A.D. 49, but neither Josephus nor the Roman historian Tacitus record this event. He said, “When I administered my thirteenth consulate [2 B.C. 1. and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing, because you obeyed my command.". The book is the third and final volume of the author's three-volume meditation on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Copyright © 2007--2015, Study Materials for the Gospel according to Luke, Comparing the Infancy Narratives of Matthew of Luke, Liturgical Resources for Advent and Christmas, 8th day: circumcision & naming of John the Baptist (incl. 79 to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's shadow, . Note: MANY more OT texts also parallel such common concepts as God's mercy, forgiveness, peace, and salvation. Josephus also failed to record Pontius Pilate’s decision to install golden shields in Jerusalem that angered the Jewish population so much that they petitioned Emperor Tiberius, who ordered Pilate to have them removed. Or it could refer to a lower administrative position like a procurator or a prefect. Ps 106:10 - He rescued them from hostile hands, freed them from the power of the enemy. Josephus tells us that during Herod’s reign, “all the people of the Jews gave assurance of their good-will to Caesar, and to the king’s government” (Antiquities 17.2.4) These loyalty oaths were not uncommon, and it could be this kind of civil registration to which Luke refers. 73 and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that, The Vatican Information Service provides further details about the third Jesus of Nazareth book by Pope Benedict XVI, The Infancy Narratives… Jesus is circumcised (Luke 2:21) and then presented in the Jerusalem temple (Luke 2:22-38). Themes of Luke's infancy narrative 1. The King James Version of the Bible renders the latter part of Luke 2:1, “there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.” But a better translation of the word rendered “taxed” (or apographesthai) is “registered.”, So what kind of registration could Luke be talking about? 74 rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship him And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David.”. Ps 44:20; 107:14). Jesus is the hope of Israel - the long awaited Messiah and fulfillment of the OT. It was instead a joyful surprise that confirmed where they were. However, new scholarship has emerged that challenges this view and places Herod’s death closer to 1 B.C. Mal 3:20 - But for you who fear my name, the sun of justice will arise with healing in its wings; First, the magi had to go to Jerusalem to ask Herod where the king would be born (Matthew 2:1-6). Specifically, no such empire-wide census ever took place, and, even if it had, Joseph would not have been required to travel to his place of ancestry for it. Simeon's “Nunc Dimittis”) 1. Although most Christians don’t dwell on the specifics of the nativity story, academic critics of the Faith have attacked its historical value for decades. While a census was taken in A.D. 6, it was limited to Judea in order to inaugurate the beginning of Roman rule in that region. Did Luke simply bungle this particular detail about Jesus’ life? (cf. Luke is no exception, and heightens the public use of such terms as ‘Lord”, ‘Son of God’, ‘Messiah’, ‘King’, and ‘Saviour’ (peculiar to Luke among the Synoptic Gospels). Joseph and Mary live as a betrothed couple in Nazareth when the angel Gabriel visits Mary (Luke 1:26-38). The magi have just told Herod that they have seen the star of the newborn king of the Jews and have come to bid him homage. Matthew 2:12 tells us that the magi were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they departed for their country by another way. The magi’s unexpected joy shows that the star’s appearance wasn’t necessary for their journey. The Holy Family travels to Bethlehem, where Mary gives birth to Jesus (Luke 2:1-20). Electronic New Testament Educational Resources But Matthew 2:1 says, “[W]hen Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem.” In other words, Matthew never says that the magi were present at Jesus’ birth. It is if you rely on less accurate translations of the Bible that speak of the star “guiding” or “leading” the magi (e.g., the NIV). 1, pp. Sometimes historians choose not to record an event even if it is particularly gruesome, and their reasons for doing so cannot always be determined. Aside from the Christmas tree, the most recognizable symbol of Christmas is the nativity scene. Ps 41:14 - Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from all eternity and forever. Herod sends them to find the child and, according to Matthew 2:9, “When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.”. Whether it’s a plastic scene set up in a public park or a group of elementary school students clothed in tunics and fake beards, the nativity is warm reminder of how God humbly entered our physical world. As a result, Herod slaughters the young male children of Bethlehem in order to ensure the child’s destruction. CHIASM=the middle is what is important! The Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke—Of History, Theology and Literature A review article of Raymond E. Brown’s monumental The Birth of the Messiah By M. Robert Mulholland Jr. Jesus’ birth and infancy are described in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, but are not even mentioned in … But the text never says or even implies this. Wis 9:3 - And to govern the world in holiness and righteousness, and to render judgment in integrity of heart: Isa 40:3 - A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! But because some details are omitted from either Matthew or Luke’s account does not mean the accounts aren’t accurate in what they do relate. This implies that much more time had passed between Jesus’ birth and the magi failing to return to Herod, thus motivating his plan to kill any child that could be the young king, even if he were nearly two years old. Jesus is the Davidic Messiah coming as the consolation of Israel. But before we begin that task, we must answer one objection that tries to undermine any attempt to defend the historical nature of the infancy narratives. Ps 23:4 - Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; that because you [Abraham] acted as you did In fact, Augustus described such an oath in a funeral inscription that was composed some time before his death. Are these accounts at odds with one another? Fortunately, Joseph is warned in a dream to flee to Egypt in order to avoid the massacre (Matthew 2:13-18). High Christology - clearly delineating the preexistence and deity of Jesus. This only means the star was in a providential and temporary position, not that it ceased its natural motion. Herod’s massacre would not have been the first historical event Josephus failed to record. Historical Jesus scholar and former Anglican bishop of Durham, N. T. Wright, agrees: [M]ost translations of Luke 2.2 read “this was the first [protos] census, when Quirinius was governor of Syria,” or something like that. The family later returned to Nazareth without making any trip to Egypt. This objection also assumes that the events in Matthew’s Gospel take place immediately after Jesus was born. I will bless you and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; Let’s examine those elements of the nativity story that Brown and other critics consider the most unbelievable. .” (The Birth of the Messiah, 36). One plausible explanation is that Luke is not describing an empire-wide census for tax purposes but a registration that took place before the A.D. 6 census. The magi leave and do not report back to Herod. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. says the LORD of hosts. Ps 72:18 - Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful deeds. Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives is a book written by Pope Benedict XVI, first published on November 21, 2012, by Image Books. Jesus is circumcised (Luke 2:21) and then presented in the Jerusalem temple (Luke 2:22-38). But in the Greek of the time, as the standard major Greek lexicons point out, the word protos came sometimes to be used to mean “before,” when followed (as this is) by the genitive case.
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