The Poor Mans Commentary-Book of Luke
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As in , the reference to the people ultimately is broad, encompassing both Jew and Gentile, as verse 32 makes clear. In fact, Jesus is light phos , an image that recalls the description of the Davidic son as the dayspring or bright morning star in But Jesus serves as light in two distinct ways. For Gentiles he is a revelation. This term refers to his opening up the way of salvation to the nations in a way unknown before his coming.
But for Israel, God's people, Jesus is glory-- that is, his activity represents the realization of promises made by God and thus shows Israel's special place in his heart Is The remarks in this verse recall Isaiah , which in turn recall imagery surrounding the promised Servant of the Lord. Though the church today associates the Servant figure with the suffering of Jesus, Luke prefers here to highlight those aspects of the Servant's work that mean hope and vindication.
Once again, the parents marveled at the prophecy. Luke's reader is to identify with their response and sense of wonder.
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But Simeon is not done. There is a note of foreboding he must leave with Mary. Jesus will be the cause of division: This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel. The imagery of this verse comes from Isaiah and Jesus will divide the nation in two. Some will respond and others will oppose. That means that he will be a sign that will be spoken against.
People will contend against and about Jesus. The road to promise-fulfillment is not smooth. To identify with Jesus will bring pain, because many will reject him. This rejection explains Simeon's reference to a sword piercing through Mary's soul. She will feel a mother's pain as she watches her son go his own way and suffer rejection, but the sword also reflects the pain anyone who identifies with Jesus feels as the world rejects what Jesus has to offer. Simeon's remark to Mary is an aside, but an important one, since it shows that identifying with Jesus has painful personal consequences.
The division Jesus brings reveals the thoughts of many hearts. Jesus is God's litmus test for where a person is. Do I sense a need to depend on God and come to him to walk in light, or do I not? My response to Jesus is the test, and the answer comes from my heart. Each person's response to him reveals where he or she is before God, just as one day Jesus will reveal where everyone's heart is Acts Anna's Prophecy Though no details of Anna's prophecy are given, this section completes the cycle of male and female witnesses.
Again, Anna's piety is underlined by references to her old age, her faithful widowhood and her regular ministry at the temple.
She is full of thanksgiving at the arrival of the child who will complete God's promise, and she speaks about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Her teaching would have been heard by all who frequented the temple. Her hope, like Simeon's, looks to the completion of what God is starting. There Jesus grows in strength and wisdom, receiving the favor of God. There he awaits the ministry that will fulfill what Mary, Zechariah, the angels, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna have proclaimed.
God will fulfill his word and perform his plan.
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Previous commentary: The Birth of Jesus. Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. You can cancel anytime during the trial period. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below. To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings. Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account.
Try it free for 30 days. Bible Gateway Recommends. View more titles. Click the button below to continue. Close this window. Such people are not open to hearing the call of God and, as will become quite evident in the rest of the Gospel, are particularly resistant to hearing Jesus proclaim the Kingdom of God.
Thus, their social invulnerability has created in them a similar spiritual invulnerability. What are we to make of the fact that Mary declares that these things have already happened? Anyone could see 2, years ago that the rich and powerful were still quite rich and quite powerful, and that the lowly and hungry were no better off than before.
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According to some scholars, the original Greek uses the past tense here to indicate habitual action, so that Mary is describing a God who routinely upsets the rich and powerful while raising up the lowly. Other scholars argue that the past tense here means what it often does when used by biblical prophets, to indicate a future event that has been firmly declared by God. In that sense, it is as good as done. While one does not have to choose either of these options, the Magnificat clearly refers to an eschatological reversal, that is, to one that will occur in the coming age.
In his Sermon on the Plain , Jesus proclaims these four blessings or beatitudes :. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.
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Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. Poor, hungry, mourning and hated people receive from Jesus a great consolation: One day things will be different. The poor and hungry of the world are not blessed because they are poor and hungry—poverty is not held up here as a good thing—but because what they do not have now, they will one day have in the Kingdom of God, which is already theirs! Even those who experience rejection because of Jesus should consider themselves fortunate, not because being hated is a good thing but because their fidelity to the Son of Man in the face of opposition assures them a place in heaven.
Hatred, poverty, mourning and hunger are social evils that are not acceptable to God, and never have been, as the prophets relentlessly insisted. Blessing lies not in being poor or in being hated, but in the fact that in the world to come, the poor and the hated know that their fortunes will be reversed. What is a consolation to the lowly in this world is disturbing news for the comfortable, whom Jesus informs what they can expect:. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.
Each of the earlier blessings has been matched by a corresponding woe. The rich will have no need of consolation in the coming age; they have it now. The well-fed, the carefree and even the socially admired of this world will not experience consolation in the coming age. Like his mother before him, Jesus makes the disturbing announcement that the fullness of the Kingdom of God might be less than enjoyable for some people.
At this point, we might ask: What is wrong with being wealthy, well-fed or highly thought of? It is easy to see why Jesus would assure the poor and hungry that one day their situation will be remedied, but why should the rich and well-fed be punished in the coming age for their current prosperity?
Is there something wrong with being prosperous or with enjoying the good things in life? The answer is no; there is not.
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But social and economic security can blind us to certain realities and make us deaf to others, making us unable to respond to the ethical and the spiritual demands of the Kingdom of God. Later in the Gospel, Jesus tells a story demonstrating that social invulnerability can be spiritually dangerous. There once was a rich man, Jesus tells his disciples , who used to dress in expensive clothes and dine well every day.
At his gate there was a very poor man named Lazarus, who instead of being covered with fine linen was covered with sores. After both men die, the rich man finds himself in fiery torment in the netherworld, while Lazarus is comfortably beside Abraham and all the righteous. On seeing this, the rich man orders Abraham to send Lazarus with water to quench his thirst. Abraham refuses, noting that the rich man had been very comfortable in life.
Still refusing, Abraham reminds the man that his brothers have all the warnings they need in the teachings of Moses and the prophets. Once again, we have the Great Reversal, this time written in the lives of two individuals. Their situations in this life and the next can perhaps be understood to represent those of the poor and the rich in general. We can be quite happy for Lazarus, who surely deserved to receive great comfort with Abraham after such a miserable life. But what of the rich man?
cdn.learnit.world/84.php What was his crime that he should deserve such torment? Jesus makes it clear that it was not his wealth that was the problem. He is not condemned simply for being rich and well-fed; he is condemned because his good fortune blinded him to the moral responsibility he had toward Lazarus.