"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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Birth of Jesus
Luke 1:5-13, [14-25] 57-80 Commentary
by Elisabeth Johnson
The first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel are a richly woven tapestry of interlacing stories replete with allusions to the Old Testament.
Of the four Gospels, only Luke begins with the story of the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah and Elizabeth—the story of a couple getting on in years, the wife thought to be barren, any hope of having children all but gone. Then comes the incredible promise of a child to be born to them. If this plot sounds familiar, it should, for it is very similar to the beginning of the story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis.
From the very beginning of his Gospel, Luke reminds us of an even earlier beginning, the beginning of the story of God's relationship with God’s people Israel. Luke places his story within this larger story of faith—the story that began when God called Abraham and Sarah to leave their homeland and go to the place that God would show them, when God promised them a child and many descendants.
From the outset, the biblical story is one of God choosing unlikely candidates and unexpected ways to accomplish God’s purposes. Both Abraham and Sarah laughed ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 386: Zechariah's Song
December 22, 2019
Podcast on the Narrative Lectionary readings for Dec. 22, 2019, (Zechariah's Song) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.