BibleOnly Blog - insights by Ted Noel (general)
-November 15, 2015-
Remez. This is one of Doug Greenwold's favorite words. And as the class studies through Luke, it keeps jumping out at us. Remez isn't like the big quotations Paul uses a lot or the "Is it not written…" that Jesus uses. Instead, it's the atmosphere that makes up the way that Luke writes. The little expressions and the way he builds a phrase or sentence carry just as much meaning if we will let them.
Luke compiled an accurate history (1:1-3), steeped in Jewish culture so his readers would get the true story. Zacharias and Elizabeth were "righteous [and] blameless" (1:6), words that bring us to Noah (Gen 6:9), who was the man through whom God saved mankind through the Flood. In the next verse we learn that Elizabeth is "barren and advanced in years." This echoes the situation of Sarai and Abram (Gen 17:16-19), who became the parents of the Israelites. Even Zechariah's question in 1:18, "How?", echoes Abram. As we move on, Mary "finds favor" with God (1:30), the same language used to describe Noah.
Sometimes the remez isn't in the language, but in the picture. Lee Gugliotto points out that the "manger" Jesus was laid in (2:7) was a feed trough hollowed out of soft limestone in a sheltered part of a sheep or cattle pen. It would look like a ossuary (bone box) in a tomb, but without a lid. Further, he was wrapped in the burial cloth that every Jew carried while traveling, just in case of a catastrophe. Thus, when the angels hail the Savior, the picture is of a king who was born to die.
Perhaps the best-kept secret remez is the image when Jesus was baptized. In 3:22 the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus in the form of a dove while a voice from heaven says, "This is my beloved son…"
For four hundred years after the return from Babylon there were no prophets in Israel. The people were waiting for the "prophet like Moses," (Deut 34:10). In the meantime, the voice of God's spirit was present in "soft" forms we'd call nudges and impressions. This form of speaking was called the "daughter voice" and was said to be like the cooing of a dove.
Now cue the scene to the Jordan and Jesus. Need I say more?
Until next time,
- BibleOnly Blog - insights by Ted Noel - bibleprobe, 11.15.2015 (general)