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Infancy Narratives

- the accounts of Jesus birth and early childhood


- not primarily biographical but are theological statements about the human beginnings of Jesus
- found only in Matthew and Luke
- full of references to the Old Testament in order to establish that Jesus is the fulfilment of the
expectations of Israel
- exquisite portrayal of Gods shaping of history begun in Israel and completed in Christ and the
Church
INFANCY NARRATIVES
Little is known about the infancy of Jesus.
It was not of primordial interest to the early Christians.
It is important to know the evangelists:
1. were not eye-witnesses of Christs birth
2. their accounts were written after the resurrection
3. the stories were written in the light of their faith in the risen and glorified Christ
The infancy narratives are attempts to describe Jesus Christ through an imaginative story
regarding his origins (Midrash)
Thus, the stories of Christs birth were not written to tell us the exact chronology of events,
or the actual events that took place. Rather, the authors wrote the infancy narratives to tell
us who Christ is.


MATTHEW LUKE
Figure of Joseph who comes from the tribe of
David
Mary who is always shown as pivotal in the scenes
Manifest independent sources and tradition

MATTHEW
Serve as preparation for the main narrative of Jesus public ministry
4 parts:
o Genealogy of Jesus
o Announcement to Joseph and the birth of Jesus
o Episode of the Magi, with the portent of the star and their encounter with Herod
o Flight from Massacre
Grounds in the Old Testament passages to demonstrate Christs continuity with Israels
past and fulfilment of Gods promises

LUKE
Highlighting:
o the parallelism between John and Jesus
o angelic pre-announcement of the birth
o a hymn celebrates the event
o birth happened by the hand of God
gives the Roman imperial census as context for the journey to Bethlehem
at the angels binding (not a star), it was the shepherds (not magi) who visited the new born
child
there is no flight in Egypt
no massacre
Peculiar scenes:
o Jesus circumcision
o Presentation at the temple
o Adolescent Jesus finding at the temple


CRUCIAL COMMON POINTS
Joseph and Mary were his known parents
An angel announced Jesus birth
(to Joseph, according to Matthew; to Mary, according to Luke)
He was virginally conceived through the Holy Spirit
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea
Jesus grew up in Nazareth

Jesus Hidden Years
- Brought about the sanctification of
family life
work
ordinary life
(Matthew)
Temporary sojourn in Egypt
Eventual settlement in Nazareth in Galilee

Consists of growing up in a family:
Where he learned to love and obey his parents
Where he learned to exercise a craft and trade
Where he learned the Word of God
The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary
events of daily life.
Pope Paul VI home of Nazareth school of Gospel, home of the Carpenters Son
POINTS OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO ACCOUNTS
Jesus parents are Mary and Joseph
Mary and Jesus are engaged but not married at the time of Jesus conception
Joseph is of the Davidic line
Mary conceives through the Holy Spirit
An angel directs that the child should be named Jesus
The angel says that Jesus is to be a savior
Jesus is born in Bethlehem at the time of Herod the Great
Jesus is raised in Nazareth

2 Distinct Stories:
1. Matthew
2. Luke
MATTHEW
- Presents Jesus as the New Moses
- The fulfilment of the promised Messiah
- Used Old Testament of the promised Messiah
KEY FEATURES OF MATTHEWS INFANCY NARRATIVE
1. Genealogy of Jesus
- Matthews account begins with a genealogy to attest to this fact: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
David, the beginning of new creation
2. The Announcement to Joseph
- The Angel appears to Joseph in a dream (perhaps evoking the memory of Joseph, the Dreamer)
3. Birth in a house in Bethlehem
- Mary and Joseph live in Bethlehem
- Child was born in a house, because he is a king
- Jesus has to be born in Bethlehem (Davids city)
4. The Star
- Numbers 2:17
Star person Messiah who leads to himself all those who seek Him with a pure and sincere
heart
5. The Visitation of the Magi
- Jesus is the Son of God = frankincense
- Jesus is the Messianic King = gold
- Jesus is the Suffering Servant = myrrh
6. The Massacre of Infants
- How Jesus was rejected by Jewish power accepted by the Gentiles (nonJews)
7. The Flight into Egypt
- Symbolic fashion how in Jesus the people achieved Exodus
8. The Return to Nazareth
- The Kingdom of God is at last open


LUKES INFANCY NARRATIVES
- For the Gentiles
- Jesus is a man who came for all

1. The Announcement to Mary
- The Annunciation
- Mary lowly of Israel (arawim)
- Eagerly awaited the coming of the Messiah
2. Visitation
- (Mary) poor not merely beneficiaries of Good News but bearers of Good News
- Marys Magnificat song of Hannah in the Old Testament
Gods preferential option/love for the lowly and the poor