Investigation – Lk. 2:8-20

1. “. . . when a boy was born [in the Jewish culture of that time], the local musicians congregated at the house to greet him with simple music. Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem and therefore that ceremony could not be carried out. It is a lovely thought that the minstrelsy of heaven took the place of the minstrelsy of earth, and angels sang the songs for Jesus that the earthly singers could not sing.” (Barclay 23)

2. “. . . the shepherds . . . belong to the story not only because they serve to tie Jesus to the shepherd king, David (2 Sam. 7:8), but also because they belong on Luke’s guest list for the kingdom of God: the poor, the maimed, the blind, the lame (14:13,21). And so the shepherds go to the city of David. The shepherds and the scene are described with some of Luke’s favorite words, words he has used before: wondering, pondering in the heart, making known the revelation, praising and glorifying God. The stable is bare, but the glory of God floods the story.” (Craddock 36)

3. “His first worshippers, the shepherds, despised by the orthodox because their occupation made them neglectful of religious observance (Shek., vii,4; Bab K., vii,7,80a), are the forerunners of the multitude of humble folk who were to throng him in his public ministry.” (Caird 61)

4. “December 25th cannot be traced higher than the fourth century, and it seems to have been adopted first in the West. We must be content to remain in ignorance as to the date of the birth of Christ.” (Plummer 55)

5. “The combination (“Christ the Lord”) occurs nowhere else in the NT, and the precise meaning is uncertain. Either ‘Messiah, Lord’ or ‘Anointed Lord,’ or ‘the Messiah, the Lord,’ or ‘an anointed one, a Lord.'” (Plummer 56)

6. “The angelic song is in effect a proclamation of the results of the birth of Jesus rather than a hymn of praise directly addressed to God.” (Marshall 111)

7. ”The material is thoroughly Jewish, but at the same time it is difficult to deny that a first-century Hellenistic reader would find in the configuration created by good news (vs.10) concerning the birth of one who is to be a savior and bringer of peace (vs. 14) an echo of the language in which Augustus had been honored.” (Nolland 1:107)

8. “The juxtaposition of the Roman census in Luke 2:1-7 (mentioned 4 times in the space of 7 verses) with the coming of Jesus, together with the giving of titles to Jesus used elsewhere in Luke’s world for the emperor (e.g., “Savior” and “Lord” – cf. Luke 2:1,11), emphasizes the opposition of Jesus’ arrival to the status quo of the Roman empire.” (Green 34)

9. “This is the first occurrence of the adv. [“today”], which will figure prominently in the rest of the Lucan Gospel (4:21; 5:26; 12:28; 13:32-33; 19:5,9; 22:34,61; 23:43). It often has the nuance of the inaugurated eschaton, and is to be so understood proleptically here.” (Fitzmyer 409)

10. “The song of the multitude of the heavenly host is difficult to translate (vs.14). The difficulty is with the word ‘pleased.’ Does it refer to a disposition of men toward God which is pleasing to him? Or to a disposition of God toward men? Recently discovered parallels in the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that the expression means ‘men of God’s favor.’ Hence, there is glory to God and peace among men on earth, because it pleased God, in his grace, to send his Son into the world. The peace is not political peace, nor sentimental good will . . . rather the peace of a right relationship to God, through the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 1:77)” (Miller 36-37)

11. “The sign by which the shepherds are to recognize the Christ-child is a paradoxical one and probably signals the humility of the divine condescension: God allows his Christ to be without outward splendor.” (Nolland 1:112)

12. “The motif of praise fittingly closes several pericopes in Luke (especially 24:53).” (Marshall 114)

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