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Introduction to Christianity with Luke
Chapter 2

Watch Hi, welcome to my Introduction to Christianity with Luke. I’m Brent Clark. In chapter two, we learn about:

  • Jesus’ birth
  • The patriarchs of Israel - Jesus’ ancestors
  • Christianity as the fulfilment of prophecy

Watch Luke 2:1-7: Jesus’ birth

Nativity scene

Watch Jesus’ birth date isn’t stated in the gospels.  The year is even uncertain.  The 25th of December probably isn’t it, but Christians had been celebrating then at least decades before the Romans moved Solar Invictus to that date to distract from the growth of this new religion. wiki/ Date_of_birth_of_Jesus

Sometimes, the 25th of December coincides with the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which remembers the Maccabees overthrowing the Greek occupation around 200BC and cleansing the temple from defilement.  This is recorded in the Book of Maccabees, which has been included as extra reading (Apocrypha) in various Bibles.

Watch It’d take 33 hours to walk around 157km from Nazareth to Bethlehem, so probably about 4 days.

Google map of walking from Narareth to Bethlehem

Watch Luke 2:8-20: The news is announced to shepherds

The news is announced to shepherds

Watch King David, Jesus’ ancestor, was a shepherd.  The Bible often presents God as a shepherd.  The word pastor, which we use for church leaders comes from the French and Latin word for shepherd – one who cares for the flock.

Note that the classic nativity scene is just all the actors from the play bowing at the end of the Christmas production.  The angels and Magi (kings) weren’t at Jesus’ birthplace, and no stable is mentioned, nor a donkey, nor a T-rex, but that kid sure looked cute 😊.

The Magi came probably two years later – according to Julius Africanus’ account around 200AD The text is available under this PDF file from page 128 (p134 of the pdf)

I picture an insignificant village, that was overrun with King David’s descendants who had to be there for the census.  There really wasn’t any room anywhere, so many camped out in the village square like refugees.  In this crowded scene, the new parents did their best to make a cradle out of an animal feed trough.

Watch Luke 2:21-24: Religious laws fulfilled

Watch As with John, Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day.

When Jesus was 40 days old, Mary’s ritual uncleanness from Leviticus 12:2-8 was over, and they popped over the hill to Jerusalem to present him at the temple.

The temple in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus

The ritual required a lamb to be sacrificed and a pigeon or dove.  But poor people would offer two pigeons or doves.

Watch Luke 2:25-35: Simeon’s prophecy

Watch Simeon was an old guy who had a personal relationship with God.  He was delighted to meet the baby Jesus. He’d studied the prophecies all his life and was told by God that he’d see the one who would fulfill his ancient promises.

Simeon prophecies over baby Jesus

Watch Luke 2:36-40: Anna’s prophecy

Watch God’s quite happy to appoint women as ministers.  Being a minister isn’t about being a boss but being a servant and mediator between God and the people.

Anna was from the tribe of Asher, who was one of the 12 sons of Jacob whom God renamed Israel.

Israel’s family tree

Watch These guys lived around 2000-1500BC. You can read about them in Genesis 12-50.

Jesus was a descendant of Judah’s son Perez, from whom the Kings descended.

Watch Luke 2:41-52: Jesus is 12, hangs out in the temple

Young Jesus discusses with rabbis at the temple

Watch Even as a boy, Jesus understood his mission and relationship to God.  It seems strange that his parents didn’t notice he wasn’t with them, but they would have been travelling with a crowd of relatives, feeling secure that he’s hanging out with his cousins and being looked after by other aunts and uncles.

Watch The full story of Jesus’ birth and childhood

Matthew writes a very different, complementary story about Jesus’ birth, while John provides a more mystical introduction of Jesus’ eternal origins.

John 1:1-5, 14 Jesus created all things and came to live among us
Luke 1:5-25 Gabriel announces John’s birth to Zechariah
Luke 1:26-38 Gabriel announces Jesus’ birth to Mary
Matthew 1:18-24 An angel reassures Joseph in a dream
Luke 1:39-56 Mary visits Elizabeth
Luke 1:57-67 John is born and circumcised
Luke 2:1-7 Jesus is born
Luke 2:8-20 An angel announces Jesus’ birth to shepherds
Luke 2:21-24 Jesus is circumcised then presented at the temple
Matthew 2:1-12 Wise men (Magi) visit and worship Jesus
Matthew 2:13-18 They escape to Egypt before Herod kills all the little boys
Matthew 2:19-23 Jesus returns to settle in Nazareth
Luke 2:41-52 Jesus stays behind at the temple, aged 12
Picture references to the story of Jesus’ childhood

Watch Prophecy fulfilled

Christianity is all about the fulfillment of ancient prophecies.

Way back in the garden of Eden, God promised in Genesis 3:15 that the woman’s child would crush the serpent’s head as the serpent bruises his heal. God’s saying, “the woman’s child”, infers the virgin’s birth. When Jesus was executed on the cross, the wickedness of this world pierced his heal as its power was being crushed by Jesus’ sacrifice.

Watch God’s promise of this savior, which we transliterate from Hebrew’s מָשִׁיחַ (Mashiach) as Messiah, or Greek’s Χριστός (Christós) as Christ, weaves a thread through the Jewish scriptures, which we call the Old Testament. He was to be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and King David.

Abraham Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse. Through you every family on earth will be blessed
Isaac Genesis 17:19 God replied, “No! Your wife Sarah will give you a son, and you will name him Isaac [He Laughs]. I will make an everlasting promise to him and his descendants.
Jacob Genesis 28:14 Your descendants will be like the dust on the earth. You will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. Through you and through your descendant every family on earth will be blessed.
Judah Genesis 49:10 A scepter will never depart from Judah nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet until Shiloh comes and the people obey him.
David 2 Samuel 7:12 When the time comes for you to lie down in death with your ancestors, I will send one of your descendants, [one] who will come from you. I will establish his kingdom. 13He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Timeline of Jesus’ ancestors

Watch He would be born of a virgin and called Immanuel, which means “God is with us”. He’d be born in Bethlehem, come out of Egypt, and grow up in Nazareth.

Born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14 So the Lord himself will give you this sign: A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel [God Is With Us].
Born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, are too small to be included among Judah’s cities. Yet, from you Israel’s future ruler will come for me. His origins go back to the distant past, to days long ago.
Come out of Egypt Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt.
Grow up in Nazareth Isaiah 11:1 Then a shoot will come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from its roots will bear fruit.
(branch = נזר = nzr)
Map of distance from Bethlehem to Alexandria and Nazareth

Watch Blessing

I pray that God would richly bless you as you continue to learn to understand what Christianity is all about.

I pray that you’ll be blessed this week

Shalom. We’ll see ya later.

Table of Messianic ancestry Table of Messianic origins