Just bring a Bible and a Friend!
Sunday Mornings at 9:30 in Room 116
We're studying the Gospel of Luke.
Our Bible Study of Luke is underway. The announcement of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus are closely paralleled yet different. Last week in the measurement of the 490 days from the conception of John to barren Elizabeth until Jesus is presented in the temple we explained the "70 times 7". In the virgin birth we find the creedal "very God of very God" born of the virgin Mary and "incarnate by the Holy Spirit" in the womb of Mary. Mary is the model of faith who replaces barren Israel. The analogy of Mary as mother of God is drawn with the church as mother that begets every believer through the WORD of God (RE: Revelation 12).
Mary is therefore mother of the Son of God and the sons of God. Mary truly lived the liturgy - the Lord is with you! Jesus is called Immanuel - God with us so we now say in the liturgy - "The Lord be with you" RE: Ruth 2:4. Mary is also the first catechumen and her teacher is the angel Gabriel. Her response to the miraculous promise is YES as the ideal disciple who follows Christ from conception to crucifixion to ascension. She is the eschatological Sinai, Ark of the Covenant, and Temple of the Lord as locus of the Divine Presence. Where Adam and Eve tried to create life without God - Mary as model of humility and obedience creates life with GOD.
In Mary we see the covenant relationship of interaction of human life with Divine Will. The same Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis and brought forth creation comes upon her and by the power of the Holy Spirit is the incarnate presence of God. It should not be lost on us that the real presence was united with the flesh of Mary by the Word of God. So in Holy Communion are we united with the flesh of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar effected through the Words of Institution. With God nothing is impossible.
So Mary rejoices as the one favored to be the flesh and blood home of the incarnate Son of God. The Lord is with her indeed! Mary says little about herself. She calls herself the servant of the Lord who responds in faith created by the WORD of God. Her self designation (servant) as female slave is the feminine form of the same word proudly adopted by Saint Paul as his self designation. RE: Romans 1:1
Our Sunday School Lesson is from Luke 3. The mercy of God preserved NOAH and His family from the flood while HE drowned Pharaoh in the Red Sea and lead HIS people Israel on dry land. In the Flood Prayer, Luther said these Old Testament acts prefigured our bath of baptism and by the baptism of our LORD consecrated and set apart the Jordan River and all baptismal water as a salutary flood and rich and full washing away of sins. As the SPIRIT hovered over the waters in GENESIS 1 and again with Noah after the flood, so the HOLY SPIRIT in bodily form comes to our LORD in HIS baptism. NOAH warned of a coming flood of judgment whereas the baptism of Christ sets in motion a flood of GRACE. In baptism we are born again into the family of GOD and so LUKE places the genealogy of our LORD next to His baptism. In HIS baptism, Jesus takes HIS place alongside sinners even though HE commits no sin. The presence of the Holy Trinity at HIS baptism affirms HE is the Son of GOD and chosen Messiah beloved for the task of substitute sinner and HIS redemptive atonement. Our baptism now includes all the redemptive acts of CHRIST. It includes water with the SPIRIT and fire with the bloody baptism of the cross. Baptism places us in union with CHRIST and gives the HOLY SPIRIT. Baptism is Trinitarian and what the Father said to Jesus - He says to us in baptism: This is MY beloved child!
The genealogy of JESUS affirms HIS divine and human natures. HE is the shoot from the stump of JESSE and HIS second coming is compared to NOAH. The genealogy of LUKE is based on the number seven (7) and JUDE 14 reports that ENOCH was in the seventh generation from ADAM. Luke uses a structure of eleven lists of seven names whereas Matthew uses three groups of fourteen names. The number seven = 3 +4 where GOD works in the lives of man in perfect fulfillment of HIS promises. The genealogy includes JUDAH instead of Joseph or Benjamin. Judah sold his brother into slavery, conceived a child with his daughter-in-law Tamar - yet receives the blessing in GENESIS 49 because our membership in the family of GOD is by GRACE not works. The last name in the genealogy is GOD and JESUS is 77 (how many times must we forgive?). Jesus begins the restoration of what ADAM lost. There are eleven generations leading up to HIS FIRST COMING and only one =12 leading up to HIS SECOND COMING. The last generation begins at the birth of the CHURCH at Pentecost. This is the last generation descended from our LORD who gives birth to us in BAPTISM and FAITH. Membership is no longer by covenant genealogy but by WATER, WORD, and SPIRIT by our BAPTISM into JESUS who is the beginning and the end - first and last - of salvation history who REDEEMS the humanity HE bears in HIS own flesh.
The pattern of Jesus life is similar to MOSES - baptism and temptation - and recalls the temptation of Adam and Eve. At the very beginning of HIS ministry our LORD overcomes the evil one who attempts to oppose the work of the kingdom of GOD. The three temptations are a dialog and the only words spoken by our LORD are OT SCRIPTURE. Adam and Eve found out that SATAN cannot deliver authority since his authority is limited to a fallen world. JESUS shows us that authority and glory are to worship and serve GOD NOT to want to be like GOD or usurp HIS authority. Where ADAM yielded and ISRAEL failed JESUS stands firm. The basis of the SHEMA elicits love and obedience to GOD based upon HIS redemption, election, and love. JESUS alone is faithful and CHRISTUS VICTOR. According to SATAN there should be no martyrs. Our LORD shows us that we are preserved through death NOT from death. Authority and glory for our LORD comes through service, obedience, suffering, and death. The authority and glory of man are to worship and serve the true GOD. Our LORD rejects the lie that betrayed Adam and Eve. GOD the FATHER is the LORD of life and death for the CHRIST.
The HOLY SPIRIT empowers Jesus for Galilean ministry. The Holy Spirit is present only in WORD and SACRAMENT and JESUS is the LIVING WORD and only teacher in the GOSPELS. HIS ministry extends until HE is betrayed by HIS followers. HE teaches not theoretical or about what people must do - HE proclaims what GOD is doing! HIS ministry is from Sabbath meal to Sabbath meal and liturgy to liturgy. Hence the major controversies leading to HIS betrayal involve the Pharisees, the Sabbath, and eating. Our LORD starts in Galilee - a populated area independent of Jerusalem and Judea - absent of Pharisee influence which provided the opportunity to get HIS message to the people. The CHRISTOLOGY of LUKE is not abstract but as LIVING WORD among people sent by GOD as SON and man. HE is like all the prophets who speak for GOD and suffer rejection. We learn about GOD by reading the Gospels about the life of JESUS. We learn about JESUS by reading the prophets, HIS life, and the lives of the APOSTLES. The Prophet and divine GOD is rejected which is the "stumbling block" that even His disciples did not grasp in the Gospel. The plan of salvation requires the death of an innocent and righteous prophet and man. Divine vindication is the point of the resurrection narrative.