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What do we learn about Luke's intentions from the birth and infancy narratives?

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Introduction

What do we learn about Luke's intentions from the birth and infancy narratives? Before answering this question, we need to find out what this question actually means. To do this, I feel that we need to find out why the birth and infancy narratives are important. First of all, theses narratives can only be found in the Gospels written by Mathew and Luke. They do not feature in Mark and John's accounts, or Paul's letters to different people. Mark's Gospel and Paul's letters were written much earlier than the gospels in question. This seems to suggest that the birth and infancy narratives are a late addition to the accounts. The evidence that we can find to support this, is by cross-referencing the first chapter in Luke, with the third one. In the latter, the chapter looks like the introduction to the orderly account promised in the prologue, found in the first chapter of the gospel. When looking at this Gospel, and particularly these narratives, I think that it is helpful to keep in mind the following Quote from Morna Hooker, which tells us the narratives 'are the keys to the gospels'. In the essay, I will also look to how we can understand Luke's intentions, and to understand them, we need to understand the man that the author was. ...read more.

Middle

The other story occurs in the first book of Samuel, where Hannah and her husband Elkana, finally have the child that God had promised. The other minor characters would have also reminded Jewish people of books in the Old Testament. Simeon's 'Nunc Dimittis' for example, quotes Isaiah 49:6 which says that God has sent a 'light to the Gentiles' and is fulfilling his old promises. Anna backs up Simeon's praise and is also a woman. This theme of involving women in his writings goes on throughout the gospel and also through his second book, Acts of the Apostles. When Luke was writing his gospel, there was no specific of the term 'Messiah'. There were two different types of messiah seen by different groups around this time, the first being priestly and the second being kingly. A priestly messiah is a saviour who takes on the role of priest. A kingly messiah is one that is omnipotent and takes the role of a supreme ruler. One of Luke's main intentions, when writing the gospel, was to link Jesus to the 'Messiah' prophesied about in the Old Testament. The first way he tries to do this, is when we are told that Jesus' birthplace is Bethlehem. This fulfils the prophecy in Micah 5:2 which says, 'for you, Bethlehem, will come a king for me ... ...read more.

Conclusion

Luke also writes that John the Baptist will be 'the Lord's forerunner' and the one to 'prepare his way'. This refers to the book of Malachi 3:1, which says 'I am about to send my messenger to clear a path before me'. The point we need to establish, is who the reader was before we can answer the question. Luke, I feel, wanted everyone to be a recipient of Luke's account of Jesus' ministry. He aimed his account at lots of different people. We know the book was for the Gentiles, because Luke, when describing Jesus' birth, puts the date in perspective by using a Greek emperor, rather than King Herod, which Mathew uses. We also know that Luke was writing to the Jews, because he shows Jesus as a kingly and a priestly messiah by using different examples. This is something aimed at a Jewish audience as only they would no of it. Not even all would no of this concept, however, as it was developed by a religious group, known as the Essenes. The main recipients of Jesus' ministry were the outcasts of society, women, and the poorer people. This is shown in the birth story, as Angel Gabriel comes to visit Mary before Joseph and also, shepherds come to visit Jesus, whereas in the Gospel according to Mathew, wise and powerful men came to visit the baby born of a virgin. 1 Josh Bradshaw ...read more.

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