Day 4 (Fri, Aug 8, 2014)

46 verses total: Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-38

Brief description of action taking place or point being made

8. Angel visits Joseph in a dream in Matthew 1:18-25.
9. Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem in Luke 2:1-7
10. Shepherds visit Jesus in Luke 2:8-20
11. Circumcision of Jesus in Luke 2:21
12. Jesus presented in the Temple in Luke 2:22-38

Questions

1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?

After Completing the Bible Reading

Broader outline of each section of passage

Matthew 1:18-25. Mary was engaged to Joseph, and when Joseph found out that she was pregnant, he was going to break off the engagement. Mary could have been stoned to death for having a child without being married, so Joseph, wanting to protect her from that, was at least going to not make it into a big deal. But God sent an angel to speak to Joseph in a dream to assure him that the child was from God. Joseph believes the angel, and does as the Lord wanted.

Luke 2:1-7. Caesar order a census while Mary was pregnant, which in the Jewish world required males to report to the ancestral home. Joseph therefore traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and Mary went with him. Soon after they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus, in a sort of barn where animals lived, since the town was overflowing with people for the census, and there was no place else to stay.

An interesting question of when Joseph and Mary were married

In Luke 2:5, it says that they were in Bethlehem, and referred to Mary’s status as “betrothed” (ESV) or pledged to be married. So does that mean they were not married? And if not, when, if ever, did they get married? One answer that has been suggested is that they got married once they got to Bethlehem. But I think the answer I prefer is the one that said that they were already technically married (see Matthew 1:24-25), but because they had not consummated the marriage, it was also accurate to say that they were not completely married.

Luke 2:8-20. An angel announces to shepherds the birth of the Savior, and then a large number of angels appear all at once to them, praising God. When the angels went up to heaven, the shepherds went into Bethlehem to see if what they heard was true. And when they found Jesus, the told everyone what they had witnessed. Thanks, Kim, for the excellent question!

Luke 2:21. Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, in accordance with the Law, and was officially given his name.

Luke 2:22-38. In accordance with the Law, Jesus, as the first born, had to be presented in the temple with a sacrificial offering. While in the temple, two holy and prophetic individuals, Simeon and Anna, independently find Jesus with his parents and pronounce special words proclaiming who he is.

My favorite passage and other random thoughts

There is so much to like in each story in this chapter. I could have picked a number of verses, but I settled on Luke 2:36-37, which says “And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day” (ESV). I really admire this lady, who was sold out for God. She spent most of her life — probably 60 years or more — continuously in the Temple, worshiping God. I would like to have that kind of devotion if I were single, but don’t know that I could even come close.

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