Thursday, February 05, 2015

Luke 2:8-40

Let's not miss the irony between the generalism and hubris of the Roman announcement ("all the inhabited earth") in 2:1, and the particularism and greatness of 2:14, "and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."  There would be two things that might make us miss this: first, an anachronism which the ASV mg saves us from in 2:11, "Savior, who is anointed Lord."  On the on hand, earlier described was "Caesar Augustus," Latin for the august king, the Romans thinking of him as Lord over everything inhabited, but "in those days" (2:1), born in an out-of-the-way corner of the empire "a Savior who is [the] Anointed Lord." We'd miss that if we think of Christ as merely part of His name.

The second anachronism is to worry about election in the theologically disputed sense when reading 2:14.  To counteract that, we can ask ourselves the question: which had greater scope, the reign of Caesar Augustus over all the inhabited earth so-thought, or the "news of great joy which will be for all the people ... glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased..."?  Who's in the highest?  Caesar counting his subjects, or the Savior come among those same subjects?  Which had greater scope at the time?  the pax Romana over the "inhabited" portion, or the peace that the angels invoked "on earth"?  Which had greater glory upon it?  Caesar's glory, or the "glory to God"?

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