Mark, Interpreter for Peter

Mark’s Gospel seems like the fairy tale style stepchild of the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus of Nazareth. Shortest of the four and probably the least quoted by Christians and skeptics alike, that does not mean the Gospel is less than credible or authentic.

Assessing the merit and authenticity of Mark can be approached in two ways – historical and uniqueness. How far back in history can the source of Mark’s Gospel be traced? What information in Mark does not appear in any of the other three Gospels?

Experts date the writing of Mark to around 60 AD possibly making it the oldest Gospel written, although there is debate that Matthew preceded it.[1] One key reason for the date is no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.[2] In fact, Mark 13:2 refers to the destruction of the Temple in future tense suggesting it had not yet happened.[3]

Origins of the Gospel’s author can be traced outside the Bible back to some of the original Disciples – first generation sources. Papias, an astute man born in 70 AD, said:

“For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.” [4]

A direct reference was made to books already written just a few years after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, quite possibly the Gospels themselves. Setting aside books as a primary source of information, Papias made it his personal mission to seek out the actual elders of the early church to ascertain the truth from them directly:

“If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings,-what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord’s disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say.”

Identified by name as sources, Aristion and the presbyter John both personally knew seven of the Disciples.[5] At the conclusion of his investigation, Papias provided a matter-of-fact report, saying in part:[6]

“And the presbyter said this. Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered.  It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them.  For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements.”

Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp who himself was personally mentored by the Disciple John.[7] Like Papias, Irenaeus identified Mark as the author of the Gospel, the traveling interpreter for the Disciple Peter:[8]

“…Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.”

“…Mark, the interpreter and follower of Peter, does thus commence his Gospel narrative…”

Several times in the New Testament Mark is mentioned. Peter referred to Mark as “my son.”[9] The Book of Acts written by the author of Luke makes three mentions, 12:12-14, 25 and 15:37, identifying John called Mark.

Apostle Paul made several references to Mark. In Colossians 4:10, the Apostle identified Mark as the cousin of Barnabas. Paul called out by name Mark and Luke twice – in Philemon: “Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers” and in 2 Timothy 4:11: “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.”[10]

Not just casual acquaintances, Luke and Mark were part of Paul’s ministry, yet neither were eyewitnesses to the life and times of Jesus.[11] Mark’s Gospel reflects the knowledge gained during his years spent traveling with Peter and Paul, his interactions with the other Disciples and listening to eyewitness accounts.

Some differences between Mark and the other Gospels are readily apparent. Mark begins by immediately declaring Jesus to be the Son of God, then ties an Isaiah prophecy to his introduction of John the Baptist.[12] Matthew has 28 chapters and Luke 24 whereas Mark has only 16 chapters. Mark, unlike Matthew and Luke, did not provide any genealogical details of Jesus.

Miracles by Jesus solely reported in Mark are two, the healing of the deaf mute and healing the blind man at Bethsaida.[13] One parable by Jesus, the seed growing in secret, is exclusive to Mark and perhaps another (or was it an analogy?) about the householder.[14]

Mark is the only Gospel reporting activity the night before the Resurrection event. He named three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, who purchased and prepared aromatic spices and anointing oils for the following morning.[15]

Both Mark and Luke pick up the Resurrection story at the tomb after the stone had been rolled away. Mark reveals a very specific detail not described in the other Gospels: “Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right.” Further, he reports the witnessing women trembled, were amazed and afraid – details not reported in the other three Gospels.

Digging deeper reveals more differences. Nearly 8% of Mark, 51 verses, is unique content.[16] Writing analysis strongly suggests Mark had the special ability to interpret both Aramaic and the Roman Greek.[17]

In the world of investigators, identical or nearly identical statements can be a clear indication of collusive deception as are alleged by some Gospel critics.[18] Are the differences in Mark enough to say it is not identical to the other Gospels? If Mark did reference Matthew or vice versa, in their era of history it was common and acceptable practice to copy information from other sources without any formal references.[19]

With charges of collusion, deception or plagiarism unfounded, what remains is believability – does Mark’s Gospel about Jesus of Nazareth bear the marks of credibility and authenticity?

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Ryrie. Charles C., ed.  Ryrie Study Bible. New American Standard Trans. 1978. “Introduction to the Book of Matthew;” “Introduction to the Book of Mark; “Introduction to the Book of Luke.”  “New Testament – Historical Books.” “New Testament.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11498-new-testament> “The Four Gospels.” ReligionFacts.com. 2019. <http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/texts/gospels.htm>
Gloag, Paton J. Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels. 1895. pp 45, 204. <https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=yale.39002051125079&view=1up&seq=9>
[2] “Mark, the Gospel According to.” Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary. 3rd Edition. n.d.  <http://www.ccel.org/e/easton/ebd/ebd/T0002400.html#T0002421> Ryrie. Ryrie Study Bible. “Introduction to the Book of Mark.”
[3] “New Testament.” Jewish Encyclopedia. “The Four Gospels.” ReligionFacts.com. Gloag. Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels. pp 45, 204.
[4] Papias. “Papias.” Fragment I. “From the exposition of the oracles of the Lord.”  2005. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.vii.ii.i.html>
[5] Schaff. Ante-Nicene Fathers. “Introductory Note to the Fragments of Papias.”  <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.vii.ii.i.html>  Papias. Fragment I, footnote #1739.  Papias. Fragment VI, footnote #1755. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.vii.ii.vi.html>
[6] Papias.  Fragments I & VI. Swete, Henry Barclay. The Gospel According to St. Mark, The Greek Text with Notes and Indices. 1902. pp LX – LXI. <https://books.google.com/books?id=WcYUAAAAQAAJ&lpg=PA127&ots=f_TER300kY&dq=Seneca%20centurio%20supplicio%20pr%C3%A6positus&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false>
[7] Schaff, Philip. “Introduction – The General Character of His Work.” Ante-Nicene Fathers. Volume I. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.xi.i.i.html>  Schaff, Philip. “Introductory Note to the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians.” Ante-Nicene Fathers. Volume I.  n.d. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. 13 July 2005. http://m.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.iv.i.html>  Gloag, The Synoptic Gospels. p11.
[8] Irenaeus. Against Heresies. Book III, Chapters I.1, X.5, XIV.1. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.html> CR Acts 12:12.
[9] 1 Peter 5:13.
[10] NKJV.
[11] Swete. The Gospel According to St. Mark, The Greek Text with Notes and Indices. pp XV – XXI. Irenaeus, Against Heresies. Book III, Chapter XV.3.
[12] Mark 1:1-4. NLT, NASB.
[13] Mark 7:31-37; 8:22-26.  Aune, Eilif Osten. “Synoptic Gospels.” Bible Basics. 2013. <https://web.archive.org/web/20171214110423/http://www.bible-basics-layers-of-understanding.com/Synoptic-Gospels.html>  “Luke, the Gospel According to.” Easton’s Bible Dictionary. 3rd Edition. n.d. <http://www.ccel.org/e/easton/ebd/ebd/T0002300.html#T0002331> Ryrie. “The Miracles of Jesus.”
[14] Mark 4:26. Sween, Don and Nancy. “Parable.” BibleReferenceGuide.com. n.d. <http://www.biblereferenceguide.com/keywords/parable.html>  Ryrie. “The Parables of Jesus.” Aune. “Synoptic Gospels.”
[15] Mark 16:1.
[16] “Mark, the Gospel According to.” Easton’s Bible Dictionary. 3rd Edition.  Swete. The Gospel According to St. Mark, The Greek Text with Notes and Indices. pp XIX, LXXIV.
[17] MacRory, Joseph. “Gospel of Saint Mark.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. 1910. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09674b.htm>  “Miscellaneous Notes and Queries.” 1895. History, Folk-Lore, Mathematics, Mysticism, Art, Science, Etc. Volume 13. p21. <https://books.google.com/books?id=diwAAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=what+language+did+Mark+interpret+for+Peter?&source=bl&ots=AnNyDYHoXC&sig=ACfU3U1nG49JG00-xpncw9xnrUbYIAs6ng&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwipo6-qwdjjAhUInawKHRHOA8U4ChDoATADegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=what%20language%20did%20Mark%20interpret%20for%20Peter%3F&f=false>
[18] Vick, Tristan D. “Dating the Gospels: Looking at the Historical Framework.” Advocatus Atheist. 2010.  <http://advocatusatheist.blogspot.com/2010/01/dating-gospels-looking-at-historical.html>  “New Testament.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011.  Etinger, Judah. Foolish Faith. Chapter 6. 2019. FoolishFaith.com. <http://www.foolishfaith.com/book_chap6_history.asp>  Shamoun, Sam. “The New Testament Documents and the Historicity of the Resurrection.” Answering-Islam.org. 2013. <http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/documents.htm>  Sapir Avinoam. LSI Laboratory for Scientific Interrogation. Language analysis courses.  <http://www.lsiscan.com/id37.htm>
[19] Reed, Annette Yoshiko.  Pseudepigraphy, Authorship, and ‘The Bible’ in Late Antiquity. pp 478 & 489. 2008. Academia.edu. <http://www.academia.edu/1610659/_Pseudepigraphy_Authorship_and_the_Reception_of_the_Bible_in_Late_Antiquity> Chase, Jeffrey S. “The Gutenberg Printing Press.” Duke University|Department of Computer Science. n.d.  <http://www.cs.duke.edu/~chase/cps49s/press-summary.html>  Fausset, Andrew R.  “New Testament.” Fausset Bible Dictionary. 1878. <http://classic.studylight.org/dic/fbd> “Custom Cheating and Plagiarism essay paper writing service.” ExclusivePapers.com. 2019.  <http://exclusivepapers.com/essays/Informative/cheating-and-plagiarism.php> Cummings, Michael J. “Did Shakespeare Plagiarize?” Cummings Study Guides. 2003 <http://cummingsstudyguides.net/xPlagiarism.html> Pearse, Roger, ed.  “Tacitus and his manuscripts.” The Tertullian Project. 2008. <http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/tacitus>

Joseph’s Dilemma With Mary

Joseph’s behavior played a key role in the Nativity story, much more than it may seem. His reactions to incomprehensible circumstances reveal truths about Mary’s pregnancy and a message from God about her baby who would be known as Jesus of Nazareth.

Most likely Joseph knew Mary through community interactions in Nazareth such as during harvest or through their Synagogue.[1] He would have been familiar with her family’s reputation and had full confidence that she was a marriageable virgin, a very important factor in their conservative Jewish society.[2]

Betrothals typically lasted for a year during which time Joseph would be very busy.[3] As a bridegroom, in addition to paying the traditional bride-price, he had to hold a job to meet other financial obligations such as preparing their new home and a 3-day wedding feast for the guests.[4]

Mary, on the other hand, had less commitment pressures to prepare for the wedding. A betrothed girl subject to Judaic Law was under strict supervision of her family and the watchful eye of the community. She was not allowed to be alone at any time with an adult male, not even a male family member.[5]

Gabriel, the angel, in his secret appearance to Mary informed her that Elizabeth, her cousin, was 6 months pregnant. It seemed to be a good opportunity at this point to visit Elizabeth who lived in a village days away near Jerusalem.[6] Mary would be gone for 3 months. No phones, texts or emails…keeping in touch with Joseph would be very limited.[7]

Joseph would not become aware of Mary’s pregnancy until sometime after her return to Nazareth. It is unclear exactly when he discovered that she was pregnant, but it is clear from Matthew‘s use of the Greek word heurisko meaning “to hit upon…to find (by chance)” that it was a big surprise when he did find out![8] Overwhelming emotions would be expected – hurt and anger to begin with, then resentment, embarrassment, doubt, uncertainty, temptations of vengefulness and other mixed feelings. Then the big question – what to do next?

What would be the expected natural reaction of a man who was absolutely certain that he was not the father of his pregnant betrothal’s child vs. the expected reaction of a man who might have reason to believe he was the father?

Moving forward with the marriage would be the expected behavior of a man who believed himself to be the father of his betrothal’s baby. Frowned upon by the Rabbis, accidental pregnancies during betrothals were a reality, even in those days. As such, these things were dealt with by allowing the couple to move up their wedding date and get on with life as a married couple.[9]

Not being the father of Mary’s baby was a whole different set of circumstances. Why would a bridegroom want to marry his bride-to-be who was carrying the child conceived by someone else? If Joseph stayed with his pregnant betrothal, their community of family, friends and neighbors would assume the pregnancy was a result of his own doing.

Knowing he was innocent of premarital sex, Joseph would have to pay the undeserving price of facing public scorn and humiliation while swallowing his pride and overcoming his personal feelings. It would take a big man. Few men would do it.

Indeed, Joseph was contemplating the divorce option, the expected reaction of a man who knew he was not the father of his betrothal’s child. It serves as the most telling evidence of a truth that Joseph was not the father of Mary’s child.

Consequences of a divorce weighed heavily on Joseph. Not only would it taint her reputation and cause financial loss to Mary and her family, a public accusation of infidelity would carry a charge of adultery – stoning would not have been out of the question.[10]

Attesting to another truth was Joseph’s honorable character. Rising above any negative feelings, he sought to quietly settle the divorce which would, in effect, minimize embarrassment to Mary, her family and avoid the public charge of adultery.[11]

Unexpectedly, Joseph suddenly changed his mind – he inexplicably decided to continue with his marriage. Why? What could have led to this sudden change of heart and willingness to pay the huge personal price of staying with Mary?

Matthew reports the game-changing moment came from a visit by “an angel of the Lord.” He delivered a message from God telling Joseph that Mary had conceived of the Holy Spirit and her child, a boy, was to be named Jesus.[12]

Was Joseph really visited by an angel? The old adage that actions speak louder than words speaks volumes in this case. Something very unusual and significant happened. Joseph suddenly set aside all his negative emotions and feelings to honor his marriage commitment to Mary knowing he was not the father of her child while willingly accepting the consequences that would come with it.[13]

Do Joseph’s actions demonstrate he was not the biological father of Jesus; that he received a message from God confirming Matthew’s Gospel which says the virgin birth of Jesus was a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14?

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Brayer, Menachem M. The Jewish Woman in Rabbinic Literature. 1986. pp 68-69. <http://books.google.com/books?id=GhPxFOCdQj4C&pg=PA143&lpg=PA143&dq=sex+betrothal+jewish&source=web&ots=G4jLlub8y9&sig=gnkOuPI8xLKvYl57J9PR9VY3kVg#PPA143,M1>
[2] Brayer. The Jewish Woman in Rabbinic Literature. pp 57, 59, 61. “Marriage Laws.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10435-marriage-laws>
[3] “Betrothal.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3229-betrothal> Brayer.  The Jewish Woman in Rabbinic Literature. p 62.  Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 1883. Book II, Chapter 4.  https://philologos.org/__eb-lat/book204.htm> Thompson, James C.  Women in the Ancient World. July 2010.  “Women in Ancient Israel” > “Women and the Law in Ancient Israel.” <http://www.womenintheancientworld.com/women%20and%20the%20law%20in%20ancient%20israel.htm>
[4] Missler, Chuck. “The Wedding Model.” Koinonia House, Inc. 2018. <http://www.khouse.org/articles/2003/449/#notes>  Brayer. The Jewish Woman in Rabbinic Literature. p 70.
[5] Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Kethuboth 12a, 12b, 13a, 13b. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/kethuboth/index.html> “Adultery.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/865-adultery> Brayer. The Jewish Woman in Rabbinic Literature. pp 142-143.
[6] Luke 1.  “Map of Israel in the Time of Jesus.”  Bible History Online. n.d.<https://www.bible-history.com/maps/palestine_nt_times.html>
[7] Luke 1.
[8] Matthew 1:18. Net.bible.org. Greek text. “heurisko <2147>.” Lexicondorance.com. <http://lexiconcordance.com/greek/2147.html>
[9] Brayer. The Jewish Woman in Rabbinic Literature. pp 143-144, 146-147.  Lamm, Maurice. The Jewish Way in Love & Marriage. 2018. Section “Celebrating the Marriage Covenant” > Chapter “Jewish Betrothal Blessing;” Section “The Structure of The Marriage Covenant” > Chapter “The Jewish Marriage Ceremony.”  <http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/465140/jewish/The-Jewish-Way-in-Love-Marriage.htm>   Edersheim. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 4, footnote #27.  “Ḳiddushin.”’ Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/9310-kiddushin>
[10] John 8:2-7.  “Adultery.” Jewish Encyclopedia.  “Marriage Laws.” Jewish Encyclopedia.  “Marriage Ceremonies.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10434-marriage-ceremonies> Josephus, Flavius. Against Apion. Book II, #25. Trans. and commentary William Whitson. The Complete Works of Josephus. 1850. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false>  Thompson,“Women in the Ancient World.”  Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 4.
[11] Matthew 1:19.  Schneerson; Menachem M. “The Betrothed.” Chabad org. 2018. <http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/296931/jewish/The-Betrothed.htm>  “Marriage Ceremonies” & “Adultery.” Jewish Encyclopedia.
[12] Matthew 1.
[13] Edersheim. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 4.

What Happens When God Names Someone?

When God names someone the few times in Hebrew history, it is associated with greatness and long-term blessings.[1] What does that say about Jesus of Nazareth?

As a 75-year old man, God told Abram to move with his family to the land of Canaan promising “…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[2] Faithfully, Abram complied and eventually settled near the city of Salem and the mounts of Moriah.

Abram and his wife, Sarai, decided that due to their old age, the only way for him to have a son was to father a child with Sarai’s servant, an Egyptian named Hagar.[3] Once Hagar became pregnant, both women despised each other placing Hagar in difficult position.

Sarai blamed Abram of creating the situation by making Hagar pregnant. Abram told Sarai that since Hagar was her servant, she could do with Hagar as she wished. Hagar was treated harshly to the point she ran away. God sent an angel to Hagar telling her to return and obey Saria, then she would be blessed through her son whom God named Ishmael:

Gen. 16:11-13 “And the Angel of the LORD said to her: ‘Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction…Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand… I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.’”(NKJV) [4]

Hagar gave birth to Ishmael when Abram was 86 years old.[5] The boy lived with his mother as part of Abram’s family for more than 13 years until the time came for the next chapter in Abram’s life. Ishmael went on to get married to an Egyptian girl and was blessed with 12 sons who would become princes of their tribes.[6]

At the age of 99, God appeared to Abram confirming His promise 24 years earlier. Adding to the promise, the message from God was 3-fold:

Gen. 17:5-6 “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.” (NASB)

Gen. 17: 15-16 “…As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

Gen. 17:19 “…Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”

Renamed by God, descendants of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac included the kingdom of the House of David from whom the Messiah would come according to several future prophecies.[7] God included the names of Abraham and Isaac in His introduction when he spoke to the Hebrew nation. Perhaps the greatest recognition of greatness came about 1300 years later when God called Abraham His friend in present tense:

Is 41:8 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.” (NKJV)

Isaac would marry Rebekah to whom was born twins, Esau and Jacob. A famine came upon the land and God warned Isaac not to go to Egypt as his father had once done to escape a famine meanwhile assuring Isaac of His blessing:

Gen. 26:3 “Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

Living in exile for 20 years hiding from Esau who wanted to kill him for stealing his firstborn birthright blessing, Jacob decided to go back home. Before entering the land of Abraham, Jacob’s family camped at a place called Bethel.[8] That night, Jacob wrestled with a Man who, at the end of the night, said:

Gen. 32:28 “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”(NKJV)[9]

At peace with Esau, Jacob settled and built a house in the land of Canaan. God later sent Jacob back to Bethel instructing him to build an altar. Returning home, he received another message from God:

Gen. 35: 10-12 “God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” … “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you. The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”(NRSV)

Gabriel, the archangel known in Biblical history as the messenger of God, appeared to Daniel to interpret visions. In both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Gabriel reappeared first to Mary, then to Joseph.[10]

Mary was informed she would miraculously conceive a baby by God to be named “Jesus” who would be the promised Messiah. Joseph, Mary’s betrothal, received a similar message from Gabriel telling him that Mary’s surprise pregnancy was by the hand of God and the baby was to be named “Jesus”:

LK 1:26-33 “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ … ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.’ And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’” (NASB)

MT 1:20-21 “…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (NASB)

In two independent appearances by Gabriel months apart, first to Mary, then to Joseph, neither knew about each other’s message from God. Circumstances of the separate announcements met the standard of Jewish Law requiring two witnesses to confirm a fact – God named Mary’s baby, “Jesus.”[11] What does this say about the fulfillment of God’s promises and the blessings to be associated with the babe God named Jesus?

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 1883. Book II, Chapter 4.  <http://philologos.org/__eb-lat/default.htm>
[2] Genesis 12 ; Genesis 12:3. NASB, NKJV, NRSV.
[3] Genesis 25.
[4] CR Genesis 17, 21.
[5] Genesis 16.
[6] Genesis 16, 25; I Chronicles 1. “The 12 Tribes of Ishmael.” Nabatea.net. n.d. <http://nabataea.net/12tribes.html>
[7] “Abraham.”  BBC | Religion. 2009. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/history/abraham_1.shtml>  “Analysis: Story of Abraham and His Relevance to Islam, Judaism and Christianity.” NPR. 2018. <https://www.npr.org/programs/totn/transcripts/2002/sep/020924.feiler.html>
[8] Genesis 35.
[9] CR Genesis 35.
[10] Luke 1; Daniel 8, 9. “Uriel.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14606-uriel>  “Gabriel (Archangel).” New World Encyclopedia. 2017. <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Gabriel_(Archangel)>
[11] Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15; Numbers 35:30. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin 9a. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_9.html> Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin 30a. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_30.html>