"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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A Voice in the Wilderness
Luke 2:8-20 Commentary
by Ruth Anne Reese
In Luke 2:1-7, Mary has just given birth to Jesus, wrapped him in strips of cloth, and laid him in a feeding trough.1
In Luke 2:8-20, we meet the first people to receive the announcement of Jesus’ birth, a group of shepherds tending their flocks at night in the fields not too far from Bethlehem.
This is the third time in the opening chapters of Luke that we encounter the angel of the Lord.
First Gabriel speaks to Zachariah and gives him the promise of a son. This promise was made and fulfilled in Luke 1 and resulted in wonder and fear for those who saw it. Then, Gabriel spoke with Mary and promised her a son -- a promise now come to pass. On the same night when Mary’s promise comes to pass, the messenger appears a third time. By this time, we have come to trust that words spoken by angels are the message of God and are worthy of trusting response.
This third visit is similar as once again people find themselves afraid in the presence of one sent from God, but it is also different. The messenger appears with the Lord’s glory that shines around the shepherds. And their response is terror. ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL298: Shepherds Visit
December 25, 2017
This is the podcast for Luke 2:8-20, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Dec. 25, 2017, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Karoline Lewis. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.