Starting with Luke

To engage with the Bible, one must read the Bible. The problem is that I have read passages multiple times. It takes work to stop assuming meaning and read the text for what it is saying in the context of the book as a whole and the Bible.

Luke 1 has been associated with Christmas forever in my mind, complete with sleigh bells and snow drifts.

But Luke is no sentimental sort. He jumps into the text as an orderly narrative of facts he has been tracking down for a while.

It has been hundreds of years. Where is God? Waiting for the right moment…and now He’s revealing His plan. Scene 1: He sends an angel to the temple and the devout but skeptical priest has to wait in silence rather than telling what is to come. Does God do the same with critical Christ-followers who do not speak His praise?

A girl learns she’s going to be pregnant. She is troubled by the news. She was normal, like any other girl, but she was willing to be used. It made her marvel and sing God’s praise. She didn’t complain. She did not worry. Mary focused on the gift to Israel. Messiah. Electricity, explosions, and anticipation. Israel would be a nation again.

And John prepares in the wilderness. Solitude. Loneliness. He would stand out in the culture like a sore thumb. How often do I chaff at the thought of standing out rather than aiming for it?

This is not a sentimental chapter. It pivots on high emotions of hopes and dreams finally starting to seem real. The waiting is in preparation rather than a view to the distant future. It is not always comfortable: they were stuck in silence, pregnant out of wedlock, or targeted as a special child, but the King was coming. A leader, a hero, someone you could follow without remorse. And Jesus promises the same today. We are in the last years of preparation. What does it take to follow?

I read the Bible Gateway’s ESV version of the text. What version do you read? Does it change the text through the different language?

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