LUKE CHAPTER 1
The opening to the gospel features an intelligent and researched blend of miracles and history regarding how this whole Jesus thing started out. It’s the kind of narrative that can cause the skeptic to either sneer at how silly it all is or be convinced in some way because of how Luke approaches everything. If you already bear doubts about the validity of Jesus’ story beforehand, then he could come across as arrogant, but it’s hard to deny the sincerity and thoroughness of Luke’s writing.
Luke addresses his audience head on, who is likely a person of high stature and wealth. After giving his reasoning for composing this account, Luke takes a gamble in verse 5 and lists a series of proper nouns to validate the story’s time period, location, and the presented characters’ lineage. Luke lays it all on the line, challenging his readers to take a look at the history themselves, risking being made a fool if he’s wrong. I’m not certain if Luke knew the weight of his account of Jesus when he wrote it, that billions of people would eventually read these words for generations, but it’s hard to deny how risky this move is.
A few strange things happen throughout this rather large chapter. In verse 20, after encountering an angel that tells him his wife would finally be blessed with a child and questioning the possibility, God forcefully shuts up Zechariah until the child is born. Why would God do this? My best guess would be to demonstrate that those who hear from God need to simply believe instead of yapping and criticizing. How many times have I spoken contrary to the truths laid out in the Word, knowing what the Lord has said and deciding that my idea or reasoning is superior? Christians sometimes just need to shut up.
The scene immediately thereafter (v. 22) must have been quite amusing – a grown man of high reputation only able to make hand gestures upon exiting the temple.
At the baby’s circumcision ceremony, everyone is gabbing about what the child should be named, since Zechariah can’t speak for himself. Elizabeth pipes up, speaking on behalf of her mute husband; Zechariah should be the one with the final say on the kid’s name, yet a woman ends up doing the talking.
Of course, there’s the landmark impregnation of Mary via the Holy Spirit. And I’m sure enough commentary and criticism has been made about this event – I’ll leave that one alone.
We can’t help but wonder what God was thinking, beginning His Son’s story in a secluded location using some strange means to deliver the child into the world, and miraculous yet bizarre conception and birth scenes to bring His Son’s herald, so to speak, to be and to lead the way. Absurd, yet in the way that Luke tells it, I’m oddly convinced.