Important people during the Infancy of Jesus

Important people during the Infancy of Jesus
King Herod – Matthew portrays not only Herod, the King of the Jews, but all of Jerusalem being
disturbed by Jesus’ birth. This portrayal is also a reflection of Matthew’s lived experience. In
Matthew’s time, most Jews rejected Jesus. Matthew claims that this was happening even at
Jesus’ birth. King Herod saw Jesus as a threat.
Joseph – Whereas in Luke’s Gospel Mary is the principal character, Joseph is the prime
character in Matthew’s Gospel. According to Matthew, Joseph is the recipient of all the divine
communications. Joseph initially intends to divorce Mary.
Shepherds – Whereas Matthew shows wise men greeting the infant Jesus, Luke has shepherds
greeting Jesus. Shepherds were a poor, ignorant, and despised class of people. The occupation
of a shepherd did not allow time for obeying all of the Jewish laws ( for instance, the proper
time for prayer or the ritual washing of hands); therefore shepherds were considered to be
sinners. By showing that the 1st visitors were shepherds, Luke is saying that Jesus has come for
all people, the poor and sinful included.
 Analyze the Infancy Narratives (similarities & differences)
o Similarities
– Joseph is a descendant of David and Jesus is brought up in Nazareth.
o Differences
– Matthew’s Gospel tells of the visitation of the wise men.
– Luke’s Gospel adds that Mary and Joseph were going to Bethlehem
for the census.
 The Infancy Narratives profess Jesus as the incarnation of God (God made
 Matthew’s Intentions: Three Themes
 Matthew presents his genealogy from Abraham to Jesus.
 Jesus is the Messiah – (Matthew 1:1) – “the son of David, the sons of
Throughout Jewish history, the people had expected the Messiah to descend from
David, and David’s hometown was Bethlehem.
 Jesus was accepted by Gentiles, rejected by Jews – The story of the
These were non-Jewish men known for their understanding of astrology.
This story shows that Jesus was accepted by Gentiles as the Messiah though many Jews
rejected him.
Jesus is “the new Moses” – The holy family flees to Egypt, and then
an angel calls them out of Egypt to Israel after the death of Herod.
The Israelites were also led out of their bondage in Egypt by Moses.
Jesus was “the new Moses” who fulfilled the Law and was the Messiah who would lead
the people to salvation.
 Luke’s Intentions: The Good News is for Everyone
 Luke presents his genealogy from Jesus back to Adam. Adam, as the
first man, is the father of all people.
 Luke’s Gospel stresses that the Good News is for everyone, especially
those who are poor and downtrodden.
– Luke includes the shepherds in his story, indicating that the poor
would be the first to recognize and respond to Jesus.