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The Unjust Steward.
The Unjust Judge and the Importunate Widow. Other Discourses. His First Discourse in the Syuagogue
With the Disciples going to Emmaus. Miscellaneous Facts and Events.
Parentage and Birth of John the Baptist.
into Jerusalem, and Christ's weeping over the City.
LUKE'S PREFACE. “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the word ; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed.”
Notes. Many:-refers to the various oral versions of the Gospel narrative, and has no reference to written accounts,—the only ones existing at the time Luke wrote his Gospel being Matthew's and Mark's, which could not be called many.
To set forth in order = to narrate.
Having had perfect understanding of=having accurately traced down.
From the very first. Luke's Gospel begins with the announcement of the birth of John,– the very earliest event in connection with the New Dispensation.
In order = chronologically. Luke here declares his intention to write a narrative of events in the order in which they occurred. Accordingly, we find that the arrangement of his materials is most regular,—the only deviation from his plan being the finishing the account of John's life and ministry, (as far as he relates them), before mentioning even Christ's baptism; but this is done for the sake of giving an unbroken life of our Lord, and is, therefore, not a fault, but an excellence:
Theophilus: - probably some distinguished convert at Nero's court.
Wherein thou hast been instructed. Theophilus had re. ceived, as all young converts were accustomed to receive, catechetical instruction on the Gospel narrative: Luke now gives him fuller apd certain information, to confirm him in the faith.
PERIOD I. FROM THE APPEARANCE OF GABRIEL TO
ZACHARIAS, UNTIL THE COMMENCEMENT OF John's
(P.C. 6—A.D. 26,—31 Years).
(AT JERUSALEM). “ There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judæa, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they were both now well stricken in years.
And it came to pass, that, while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias; for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken
And the angel answering, said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house."
Herod :-surnamed the Great, because of his talents in war and government, and the magnificent buildings he raised, -chief among which was the Temple.
An Idumaan,-became a Jewish proselyte.
His father, Antipater, made him Governor of Galilee. He was then appointed King of Judæa under the second triumvirate, and confirmed in the office by Augustus, when the latter became emperor.
He was exceedingly cruel and tyrannical; but was in great favour with the Jews in consequence of his restoring the Temple.
He had reigned thirty-six years at the birth of Christ, and died at Jericho, B.c. 3.
Zacharias:-should be, Zechariah.
In God's address to Moses at the Burning Bush, He declared His 'memorial' to be His name as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
His oath' was that made to Abraham in reference to his being the progenitor of the Messiah.
Thus, in the very names of John's parents, (given, doubtless, by Divine prompting), there was a clear intimation that the promise made to the patriarchs was about to be fulfilled.
Abia:-should be, Abijah.
The course of Abijah. The priests had, in David's reign, become so numerous, that they could not all minister at once; he, accordingly, divided them into twenty-four courses, each in succession to officiate a week at a time. Of these courses, that of A bijah was the eighth in order.
Only four of these courses returned from the captivity. They were, however, again divided as before.
Daughters :-female descendants.
The Temple. This was the third_Temple,—built by Herod to ingratiate himself with the Jews.
He did not have the second Temple, which was in a sadly decayed state, taken down all at once; but removed and rebuilt it piece-meal.
The Temple itself was on the highest point in the N.W. of the structure, and was surrounded by courts, falling in terraces below one another. These were 1. THE COURT OF THE PRIESTS :- :- surrounding the
Temple. 2. THE COURT OF THE ISRAELITES :- lower on the W. 3. THE COURT OF THE WOMEN :-level with the above
on the E. 4. THE OUTER COURT, or COURT OF THE GENTILES. The whole buildings formed a square,—the side of which measured a furlong,—and was surrounded by a high wall.
The foundations consisted of huge blocks of marble,the “goodly stones” mentioned by the Evangelists.
The “Holy of Holies” contained nothing but a stone, on which the High Priest placed his censer.
The building was begun B.C. 21, and the Temple itself finished in one and a half years; but the rest of the structure took eight years more to complete, and, in fact, building operations were always going on till nearly the date of its destruction, which took place A.D. 70, on the same day of the same month that the First Temple was destroyed.
Without :-in the Courts. When the priest entered the Holy Place to burn incense, a small bell was rung as a signal to the worshippers to pray.
The Altar of Incense, or Golden Altar:-made of shittimwood, -square, each side measuring one cubit,-had horns at the corners.
The top and sides overlaid with pure gold—a cornice of gold round the top—had gold rings under the cornice at opposite corners, through which staves of shittim-wood, overlaid with gold, were passed to carry it by.
Use:—to burn incense on, morning and evening.