More questions

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Today’s sermon by Rev Christopher Rao was on the Christmas narrative as he pondered with us Mary’s response to Angel Gabriel when he told her about her impending pregnancy and birth.

I reread and rethought the passage I have read so many times over. Looking back at my thoughts last year, I now have even more questions than answers.

Mary was greatly troubled
In Luke 1:28-29, the angel came and said to her, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But Mary was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting that might be.

Question 1: why did Mary become troubled? Wasn't those words of commendation in the first place? Was it a common thing that angels appear to human in those days? At what circumstances do they appear and how were they received? An angel appeared to Hagar (Gen 16:7-13). An angel spoke to Abraham as he was about to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:11-12). An angel even appeared to a donkey in Numbers 22! We see more angels in the OT, in the beginning and ending of Matthew and Luke, and in Acts. So why was Mary troubled?

The future tenses in the narrative
The tense used throughout is the future. Why?

v.31 … you will conceive … and (will) bear a son … and you will call his name Jesus
v.32 … he will be great … will be called the Son of the Most High … the Lord God will give to him the throne …
v.33 … he will reign … his kingdom will have no end
v.34 … how will this be …
v.35 … the Holy Spirit will come upon you … power of the Most High will overshadow you … the child to be born will be called holy
v.37 … nothing will be impossible with God.

Question 2: why did Mary understand it to mean that she will be pregnant without relations with a man? Isn’t it more likely to misunderstand like how the disciples, the other Mary and Martha did with what Jesus said later? Would it more probable that she understood it to be a promise given by God that she and Joseph will soon bear a son that is special as how the angel has described him to be? So how did she understand it so prematurely as I see it to be?

Question 3: why did the angel use the future tense for all the description of Jesus? The angel said he - “will be great” , “will be called the Son of the Most High”, “will give him the throne”, “his kingdom will have no end”, “will be called holy”. Isn’t he already is, since in John, in the beginning, the Word already was.

I am more perplexed than ever right now.

pearlie

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3 comment(s)

  1. yes. good questions.give me the answers when you have them.
    I just preached on this passage. did not ask those questions.great.

    - woonks ,tee-prog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Susan, Woon,
    But I don't have the answers yet!

    ReplyDelete