The shepherds tell others (Lk 2:17-2:17)

“When they saw this,

They made it known

What had been told them

About this child.”

 

ἰδόντες δὲ ἐγνώρισαν περὶ τοῦ ῥήματος τοῦ λαληθέντος αὐτοῖς περὶ τοῦ παιδίου τούτου.

 

Luke indicated that these shepherds, after they had seen the child in the manger (ἰδόντες δὲ), they made it known or proclaimed (ἐγνώρισαν) to others what had been told to them (περὶ τοῦ ῥήματος τοῦ λαληθέντος αὐτοῖς) about this child (περὶ τοῦ παιδίου τούτου).  These shepherds were the original apostles or prophets of Jesus, telling the message about the new born savior that they had received from the angel of the Lord.

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The future of this child (Lk 1:66-1:66)

“All who heard

These words

And actions

Pondered them

In their hearts.

They said.

‘What then

Will this child become?’

Indeed,

The hand

Of the Lord

Was with him.”

 

καὶ ἔθεντο πάντες οἱ ἀκούσαντες ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῶν, λέγοντες Τί ἄρα τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο ἔσται; καὶ γὰρ χεὶρ Κυρίου ἦν μετ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that there were great expectations about what was going to happen to his wonder child, John.  All the people were talking and listening (καὶ ἔθεντο πάντες οἱ ἀκούσαντες) to these words and activities.  They began to wonder in their hearts (ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῶν) what would become of this child (λέγοντες Τί ἄρα τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο ἔσται), since the hand of the Lord was on him (καὶ γὰρ χεὶρ Κυρίου ἦν μετ’ αὐτοῦ) in some special way.  Big things were in store for this baby John.

The throne of David (Lk 1:32-1:32)

“Jesus

Will be great.

He will be called

The Son

Of the Most High.

The Lord God

Will give him

The throne

Of his ancestor

David.”

 

οὗτος ἔσται μέγας καὶ Υἱὸς Ὑψίστου κληθήσεται, καὶ δώσει αὐτῷ Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς τὸν θρόνον Δαυεὶδ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ,

 

Now comes the kicker.  This child Jesus would be special, really special.  Luke said that the Angel Gabriel told Mary that her child Jesus would be great (οὗτος ἔσται μέγας).  He would be called the Son of the Most High (καὶ Υἱὸς Ὑψίστου κληθήσεται).  The Lord God (Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς) will give him (καὶ δώσει αὐτῷ) the throne of his ancestor David (τὸν θρόνον Δαυεὶδ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ).  This Most High indicated Elohim, one the Hebrew titles for God.  Jesus would have the Davidic throne because Joseph was a descendant of David.  This was really great news.

He will not drink strong drink (Lk 1:15-1:15)

“John will be great

In the sight

Of the Lord.

He must never

Drink wine,

Or any strong drink.

He will be filled

With the Holy Spirit,

Even before his birth,

From his mother’s womb.”

 

ἔσται γὰρ μέγας ἐνώπιον Κυρίου, καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ, καὶ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου πλησθήσεται ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ,

 

Now comes the jolt, as the role of this John would be made clear.  This angel, via Luke, pointed out that this child will not be just another Jewish kid, but someone special, befitting his special birth.  Luke had the angel continue that John would be great in the sight of the Lord (ἔσται γὰρ μέγας ἐνώπιον Κυρίου).  However, he must never drink wine, or any strong intoxicating drink (καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ), like a Nazirite, a person dedicated to God, as in Numbers, chapter 6:1-4.  Either a man or woman could take these Nazirite vows that made them closer to Yahweh.  In Hebrew the term “nazir” meant a vow, so that it was possible for a non-Levite to be a favorite of Yahweh also.  Vow taking in most religious groups sets those people apart, just as the religious vows of the medieval Catholic Church became popular, producing vowed monks and nuns.  A striking English comment would be that these are “Nazi rites.”  This Nazirite vow separates them from normal life, especially from wine and anything to do with grapes.  The Nazirite stayed away from grapes of any kind.  Thus, John was to be filled with the Holy Spirit (καὶ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου πλησθήσεται) even before his birth, from his mother’s womb (ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ).  John would be holy before he was born.  The Holy Spirit would play a major role in the works of Luke here and in Acts.  This special role of John is similar to Samuel in 1 Samuel, chapter 1:11, and Samson in Judges, chapter 13:4-7, in the Hebrew Bible.  Both were dedicated to be Nazirites before their birth.  John was to be a special dude.

 

Fulfillment of prophecy to come out of Egypt (Mt 2:15-2:15)

This was to fulfill

What had been spoken

By the Lord,

Through the prophet.

‘Out of Egypt,

I have called my son.’”

 

ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπὸ κυρίου διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος

Ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐκάλεσα τὸν υἱόν μου.

 

Matthew explained that the reason for this trip to Egypt was to fulfill (ἵνα πληρωθῇ) a divine prophecy.  The word of the Lord (τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπὸ κυρίου) had spoken this prophecy though the prophet Hosea, chapter 11:1 (διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος), although Hosea was not explicitly mentioned here.  Just as Yahweh, the Lord, had originally called his child Israel from Egypt as in Hosea, so too, the Lord, the Father, would again call his son, this child, from Egypt (Ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐκάλεσα τὸν υἱόν μου).  In other words, Matthew makes it sound like this expediency to get away from Herod was set up to fulfill the Lord’s prophecy in Hosea.