Infancy Narratives and the New Testament

Infancy Narratives and the New Testament
- The Infancy Narratives are the birth stories of Jesus. They are found in Matthew's
Gospel and Luke's Gospel.
- Gospel means "Good News," and refers to the 4 accounts in the New Testament
about Jesus teachings and messages.
- The 4 Gospels are in the order Matthew, Mark, Luke, then John, although
chronologically Mark was written first, then most likely Matthew and Luke were written
around similar times with John written last.
- The Gospels are not biographies; they don't tell us the story of Jesus' entire life. They
do tell us the most important messages he lived out and taught.
The Infancy Narratives – Birth Stories of Jesus
Matthew Chapters 1-2, Luke Chapters 1-2:38
Historical Context and Background
The Roman Empire takes over and occupies Israel in the year 63 BC. Israel had been
its own Jewish state before. Jesus is born somewhere between 7 BC and the year 0.
The Romans take a laid back approach and gave the Jews autonomy, meaning as
long as they followed Roman laws, kept the peace and paid tribute to the government
they were free to govern themselves.
Many Jews were very unhappy with Roman rule and wanted independence.
Many wanted to return to the old days of King David where Israel was very powerful,
wealthy and prosperous.
For many years in their Scriptures, the Jewish people believed that God would send
them a savior. People had many different expectations as to who the savior was
supposed to be and what he was supposed to do.
Every so many years, the Romans would institute a census where they would take
count of everyone in the Empire. In order to do this, all families had to report back to
the birth city of the father of the family.
Society in Israel was Patriarchal – male dominated. Men with high status and land had
most of the power. There were relatively few rights for women.
Question: How do you think these different groups of people would react to the coming
of the Savior?
- Romans
- Jewish leaders/Upper Class
- Lower Class Jews