Hello church family! We continue to walk through the gospel of Luke together just a few chapters at a time. Personal bias here but I *love* Luke. I adore Luke's gospel. Everything about it is a masterpiece in articulation and symbolism. I think it the perfect balance between the historically accuracy of the other synoptic gospels with the symbolism of John's gospel. There are 2 really significant things in this section, specifically Anna's title and Luke's version of the genealogy. I'll share a little more on that below.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this reveal to me about Jesus?
What does this reveal about Luke's audience?
Luke skips time from 12 - 30 years old by simply saying "Jesus grew in these things" what do you imagine his young adult life was like? What influences did he face?
- Context (and a little of my thoughts cause I can't resist leave me alone) -
Luke's gospel has two very significant "additions" that the other synoptic gospels don't have, the magnification of women and their role in Jesus ministry and the extended genealogy. So far you've read Mary's magnificat whose words reveal that Mary was not just a vessel for God's plan but would play a core part in Jesus' life. Mary's magnificat is the origin of why the Catholic church holds Mary in such high regard. Coming into this section of the text we come across Anna and Simeon, workers at the temple. What I (and actual scholars) find so fascinating about them is their roles. Simeon is not given a job title; he is only described as being a faithful and devout Jew and that the Holy Spirit was with him (interesting that Luke talks about this before anyone really knows what this is.) Anna on the other hand is recognized as a prophet which I find so wonderful. Many point to Paul's writings later on that say "women shall not teach men" as evidence that women cannot be preachers. But, the Gospel of Luke seems to say otherwise. Anna is a prophet and in verse 38b it says "she talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting for the Messiah." The author of Luke's gospel chose that word very carefully. It was not Anna taught the women in the court of the women. Anna taught "everyone". As we go through the gospel of Luke you'll notice a number examples of the gender equality that is wildly different from the other gospels. It's so different that scholars throughout the last century have speculated that this anonymous author could have been a woman. (We have no idea whether the author was a man or a woman and likely never will.) The following excerpt gives a good and short summary of the 'evidence' for the theory.
"Ways that Luke Could be a Woman
So why might Luke be a woman. A few brief reasons that I’m going to mention and then I’ll leave the rest to you to read yourself.
1. There are more female characters in Luke (and when I say this I include Acts because of the similarities) than any other gospel. And it’s disproportionate – not just a couple. (e.g. the extended scenes with Mary and Elizabeth in chapter 1).
2. Luke speaks on multiple occasions of things that only concern women (menstruation, pregnancy, etc.) and seems to understand and compare events to the pain and beauty of childbirth.
3. Woman have active and important roles for main events throughout the story, being the first to see Jesus, care for him, talk to him, etc. after key happenings. Women also believe in Jesus more often than men. (e.g. the poor widow in 21:1-4 whose offering is more important than anyone else’s; 24:10 when the women believe in and share the resurrection and the apostles don’t believe at first)."
If this is something that interests you I highly recommend skimming this article from Gail Wallace who writes about some of the genius literary techniques the author does to show equality. https://juniaproject.com/male-female-equality-gospel-of-luke/
Finally I have another Bible Project vide for you all that's very specific to this reading for today. The first of a 5 part video series on Luke.
Praying the Hymns
Our prayer for today is inspired by 268 in our United Methodist Hymnal which is a traditional prayer inspired by Lent.
O God our deliverer, you led your people of old through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide now the people of your church, that, following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.