The Gospel Study
reported by John-Peter Gernaat
The report on the Gospel Study in the October newsletter introduced the study of a Christian eight-fold path that will be discovered in the Gospel of Luke from chapter 4 onward, after the Temptation in the desert. This month focused on chapters 2 and 3 of Luke’s Gospel.
These chapters in themselves are interesting as the story they tell is unique to Luke’s Gospel. There are three angels only in all of Christian scripture whose names are revealed. In the Book of Tobit (relegated to the Apocrypha by Protestant churches) the angel Raphael is named. The angel Michael is named in the Old Testament and in the Book of Revelation, and Luke names the angel Gabriel. Other angels appear in scripture but they are not given a name. Raphael identifies himself as one of the seven great angels who attend the court of God.
The first chapters of Luke were written in the tradition of the Old Testament. There is a lot written about the fulfilment of the law in the course of the events described. The Song of Praise by Mary is very reminiscent of the Song of Hannah in the first Book of Samuel. Luke’s story speaks of the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament in two births: the birth of John as the great prophet and the birth of Jesus as the bearer of the Christ. When we encounter Holy Spirit in Luke’s Gospel the Greek is written without a definite article. Holy Spirit is thus an aspect of the Divine.
Light is a strong theme in Luke’s Gospel. A full revelation in light, is to become enlightened. Up to that point in time the greatest example of enlightenment had been the Buddha. With the birth of Jesus a new world begins that exists beyond the enlightenment of the Buddha. Thus we can experience the lights that appear in the heavens around the angel who announces the birth to the shepherds as the light that has led up to the enlightenment of the Buddha. We read that his birth is the birth of the one who can make the human being whole.
Luke is the only Gospel writer who writes about the presentation of the baby in the temple and the encounter with Simeon and Anna the Prophetess. The encounter with Simeon was a private encounter and he spoke his praise and words of foresight to Mary and Joseph. Anna, in contrast, spoke her words to all who were willing to hear. This is representative of the duality encountered in Luke’s Gospel.
Luke alone says anything about the twelve year old Jesus accompanying his parents to Jerusalem at the age of his bar mitzvah. The description given by Luke makes it clear that something extraordinary occurred while they were in Jerusalem. We discussed in detail the insight that Rudolf Steiner was able to shed on this and that this insight had already existed in Christian traditions.
Luke presents the genealogy of Jesus only after the baptism in the River Jordan, unlike Matthew who presents it as the precursor to the birth of Jesus. A study of the genealogies reveals that from King David to Joseph these lines of descent are very different. Luke describes his genealogy from Jesus going backwards to Adam. This contrasts with Matthew who starts at Abraham and is interested in whom each father brings into life, as a son. The tradition related to the Gospel of Luke is that Jesus bears a relationship to Adam and this tradition is rooted in the traditions of a Twin, which was the constellation to which the earth’s axis was directed at the time that humanity became conscious. This tradition is that Adam had a twin (humanity had a twin) Adam was the earthly twin, the twin who ventured onto the path of earthly incarnations while the other twin remained in the spiritual world (an aspect of humanity that did not undergo earthly incarnations). It was the twin of Adam who was represented in the birth of Jesus. It was this innocence that became wise at the age of twelve that shocked his parents.
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