May 9, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Luke 1-2
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Author: Luke, a Gentile physician who traveled with Paul
Date Written: Approximately AD 70
Context: Unlike the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke presents a chronological order of events, starting months before Jesus' birth. Luke begins his story with the foretelling of the birth of John the Baptist. John's birth was also foretold by the angel Gabriel and was also miraculous, as his parents were old and never expected to have children. What a wonderful event it was for them! Six months after Elizabeth becomes pregnant, the birth of Jesus is foretold to Mary. John, the new Elijah, was to prepare the way for Jesus. John was to show the people of Israel that they were not acting as God's children. Rituals were not the means to salvation. There was no checklist for salvation; salvation was, and still is, a way of life. Both births were joyous occasions. Elizabeth was surrounded by friends and family, while Mary was with only Joseph, on their way to register for the census. Shepherds came to worship the baby Jesus after an angel told them of His birth. Even though Jesus was the Son of God, his earthly parents ascribed to all Jewish laws and traditions after His birth. At a young age, Jesus demonstrated His amazing understanding of His Father's word. He also knew that His Father was the Lord God.
World History: Luke was not an apostle of Jesus Christ. As evident by his writings, Luke was well-educated and carefully researched this book, gathering first-hand accounts for this book. Luke also wrote the book of Acts. Luke was writing to a Gentile audience, likely a wealthy Gentile audience. Luke probably wrote this book shortly after the fall of Jerusalem. Shepherds came to worship Jesus after His birth. Jesus is often referred to as the Great Shepherd. But when He lived being a shepherd was not the honorable occupation it was during the time of David. Shepherds, during Jesus' time, were considered the lowest part of society. They were viewed as completely untrustworthy, frequently being accused of thievery. Yet, God saw a different side of them. He saw the way they cared for their sheep, carrying those who were weak or tired, standing guard over them all night, going after one who wandered away, building protection for them at night, and constantly counting them to assure that none were missing. Learn to look as God does, beyond what society tells us to see.