Episode 7 – The Gospel of Luke – Chapter 3 Part 1
A Voice Cries Out
“Nothing is impossible with God.” Our lecture this week opens with this reassuring statement, taken from Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary. We recall from last week that Mary was the singular blessed woman of the New Testament who, through Jesus, fulfills the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, and crushes the head of Satan. Mary’s power against Satan is also present in the Rosary, whose mysteries are meditations on the life of Christ. Many popes and saints have attested to the power of the Rosary: as described by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the power of the Rosary is beyond description. At the famous Battle of Lepanto, victory against the invading Ottoman empire is attributed to the power of the Rosary.
Through her fiat, Mary displays her great humility, which stands in stark contrast to the pride of Satan. It is no surprise, then, that the lowly shepherds are the first to hear the angels’ announcement of the Messiah’s birth.
Last week, we learned of the head crushing women of the Bible, which raises the question: are there any head-crushing men in the Bible? This brings us to the story of David. We learn in 1 Samuel that through a miraculous conception, Hannah gives birth to Samuel, who she offers back to the Lord for service in the temple. The Israelites at that time clamor for a king and the Lord appeases them by having Samuel anoint Saul as the first king of Israel. Under the ineffective Saul, the Israelites are on the verge of being conquered by the Philistines. Samuel enters the picture once again, and at the Lord’s direction, anoints David. The spirit of the Lord comes upon the young David, who kills the Philistine giant Goliath with a single rock throw from his sling and then cuts off his head. The Philistines flee and Israel triumphs. Blessed be David, another head crusher of the enemy!
Before turning our attention to Luke’s genealogy of Jesus, we spend some time looking at Mary’s lineage. While scripture does not directly say that Mary was from the line of David, a number of clues are present that would lead us to believe she was. In response to the Roman census, Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem, which Luke calls the “City of David” indicating the birthplace of the famous king of Israel. Many of the Church fathers conclude that Mary is from David’s line, including Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr.
As we then move to the proclamation of John the Baptist, the new Elijah predicted in Malachi 4. John also fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” John preached a baptism of repentance, while Jesus baptizes into the trinity. John’s purpose was to glorify Jesus, who in turn glorifies the Father.
We then dig deeper into the genealogies of Luke and Matthew. How is it that they list different ancestors of Jesus? The answer is these genealogies are much theological as historical. Matthew is Jewish, speaks to a Jewish audience and stresses Jewish themes. He describes three separate groups of 14 generations leading to Jesus: Abraham to David, David to the Babylonian exile, the end of the exile to the birth of Jesus. In the Hebrew gematria, David corresponds to the number 14. In essence, by describing three groups of 14 generations, Matthew is proclaiming “David, David, David.” Jesus is the new David. Also, three groups of 14 generations gives a total of 42 generations, which is the number of Israel’s encampments as they leave Egypt for the promised land. Jesus is the new Moses.
In contrast, Luke is gentile by birth, writing to a more universal audience. He does not necessarily stress the Davidic line of Jesus nor does he begin with Abraham, the father of the Jewish faith. Rather, he traces Jesus’ lineage all the way to Adam, who Luke describes as the son of God. Jesus, the Son of God, is the New Adam. In addition, Luke lists 77 generations, which reminds us of the “seventy of sevens” or 490 years from Daniel to the arrival of Jesus, as predicted by the angel Gabriel in Daniel 9. Seventy-seven also reminds us of the need to forgive: Jesus tells his apostles that they must forgive their brother “seventy times seven” times.
Jesus is the New David, the New Moses, the New Adam. He is the perfection of forgiveness.
©2019 Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study
Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.
For more in this series, visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page.
“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more, go to www.seekingtruth.net