Jesus of Nazareth


Where are you from?

John 19:9

Jesus’ answer - see John 8:23;

People’s answer - see John 6:42; Mk 6:3; John 1:45-46.

Which answer is right?

Jesus’ genealogy

Matt 1:1-17

Abraham and David - the main figures.

Abraham, blessing, all nations, and universality (Gen 18:18; Mt 28:19).

David, promise, eternal kingdom (2 Sam 7:16).

Four women - all foreigners - another universality trait.

The genealogy ends with Mary - the fifth woman.

Mary is a new beginning


Her child does not originate from any man, but is a new creation, conceived through the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20)

Jesus’ genealogy

Luke 3:23-38

At the beginning of Jesus’ mission - Matt’s genealogy at the beginning of the Gospel.

Names are different - Luke and Matthew used different sources.

Luke goes from Jesus all the way to Adam - “the son of God” (Lk 3:38).

There are 76 names, but . . . there were also versions of Luke’s Gospel that had 72 names (see Gen 10 LXX, Luke 10:1).

John’s prologue

John 1:1-14

Jesus' ‘flesh’ - his human existence - is the “dwelling” or “tent” of the Word.

Jesus’ humanity then becomes God’s temple (John 2:21).

Why did the Word become flesh?

1. in order to save us by reconciling us with God (1 John 4:10.14; 1 John 3:5);

What was our state before Christ’s coming?

We were so miserable and in unhappy situation (see next slide).

What were we longing for?

Before After
Sick and fallen; Healed and Raised up;
dead and lost the possession of the good; Rise again and Given back the good;,
closed in darkness and captives, Brought back to the light and liberated by the Savior,
prisoners and slaves. Set free and liberated

Why did the Word become flesh?

2. So that thus we might know God's love (1 John 4:9; John 3:16);

3. to be our model of holiness (Matt 11:29; John 14:6; Mk 9:7 - Deut 6:4-5; John 15:12 - Mark 8:34;

4. So that we can participate in divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

The Fathers of the Church comments on this point:

“For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God” (St. Irenaeus; see Gal 4:6; 1 John 3:2);

“For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” (St. Athanasius)

"The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” (St. Thomas Aquinas) (All three quotes taken from CCC 460)

Infancy Narratives

Family traditions (Luke 2:19; 2:51);

Probably made public after Mary’s death

John the Baptist - priest

Luke 1:5 - parents of John, both are old. Both cannot have children. What does it remind you of? What kind of story in the Old Testament?

1 Chron 24:7-19 - 24 divisions serving in the temple. Zechariah was from the eighth division (1 Chron 24:10; see Rev 5:8).

Lev 10:9 - Luke 1:15 - no strong drinks;

Filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15)

John the Baptist - Elijah

Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6

There is striking connection between John’s activity and that of Elijah.

Mark 1:5 - He preached at the Jordan near Jericho from where Elijah went up to heaven - see 2 Kings 2:8-11;

John 3:23 - this place is considered to be located where Elijah "threw his cloak around" Elisha - see 1 Kings 19:19;

John 1:28 - see 1 Kings 17:3-4

Zechariah - Mary

Priest - A Woman (unknown)

The temple - A town (unknown)

Liturgy - Ordinary time

Troubled and fear (Lk 1:12) - Troubled and pondering (no fear)

Doubt the possibility of the promise - Mary wants to know HOW the promise can be fufilled.


Luke 1:28 to Zeph 3:14-17 - the key word “rejoice”.

“Chara” - joy and “charis” - grace come from the same root in Greek.


The Lord is in your midst, the Lord shall be in your womb.

Mary - the daughter of Zion, the Temple, Ark of the Covenant.

The mystery of Trinity in the story

The Father acts;

The Son shall be born;

The Holy Spirit overshadows.

The description of the child

He will be great - see Luke 1:15 - JB - “great in the sight of the Lord”;

and will be called the Son of the Most High (see Introduction).

"The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33)- see 2 Sam 7:14-16

The entire universe awaits Mary’s answer

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux - Advent Homily

Mary as our model

She conceived Christ through her ear - hearing the message of the messenger and obediently accepting it.

We conceive the Word when we listen to the message - missionaries, our pastors - with obedient faith (Rom 1:5);

Then, we begin a process of learning about our faith that leads to baptism.

Left alone

The angel departs and Mary has to face the reality of that mystery.

Her mission begins and her problems as well.

She goes to Elizabeth her cousin - she had to talk with someone.

But Elizabeth surprises Mary - before she could even tell the news Elizabeth knew - “the mother of her Lord” came to visit her (Lk 1:42-45).

Premarital Crisis

Joseph finds out and he has two options:

1. Bring her to the court and make the whole thing public;

2. Write a private writ of divorce - (not much better) - but he decides to do this.


Just man - see Ps 1:1-6 and Jer 17:7;

Able to discern God’s will - he gets a message in a dream - like Joseph the dreamer;

Obedient - he does what the angel tells him to do.

Two things to consider - I

“He will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21)

1. Only God can forgive sins;

2. But who did really care about sin that time? Why not independence - freedom?

Mark 2:5 - what is more important forgiveness or healing?

When the problem of sin is solved, everything else falls into its own place.

Two things to consider - II

The proof text - Is 7:14 (dates from 733 BC);

It is one among those “stray” passages in the OT that awaited its fulfilment.

Neither Ahaz nor Isaiah, nor anybody that time knew who was that young woman - virgin or who was her son.

Final word

Is virgin birth a myth, a kind of theological virginity, or historical truth?

There are two moments in the story of Jesus when God intervenes DIRECTLY in the material world:

1. The virgin birth;

2. The resurrection from the tomb;

Both events are a scandal to the modern world.

The Birth in Bethlehem

Luke - a clash between the Roman Empire and the Kingdom of God, the Emperors - Augustus and Tiberius and Jesus (Luke 2:1; 3:1);

Matthew - presents Jesus as the long awaited prophet like Moses (Deut 18:15).

Luke 2:6 - John 1:11 - Matt 8:20;

There is this trait that there is no place for Jesus.

Jesus was born outside the city and was crucified outside the city (Hebr 13:12).

Imagine, for the One through whom everything was created (Col 1:16), there was no room in the world He created.

But after all a cave would be the best place to offer peace and quiet.

The first born Son (Lk 2:7)

Col 1:15 and 1:18;

Rom 8:29;

Fulfilling the Law (Lk 2:39)

Eight days after the birth, a celebration of boy’s circumcision took place (Lk 2:21).

“Mohel’ ‘circumciser - a man skilled in this procedure was called to circumcise the boy.

It symbolises the boy’s entering into the Covenant of Abraham (Gen 17:12).

Exodus 13:1-2; 13-15 - to consecrated, to redeem;

Lev 12:1-4 - forty days after giving birth Mary could go to the Temple (Lk 2:22).

1. The “purification” of Mary (Lk 3:15; Lk 2:24; Lev 12:8);

2. The “redemption of the first-born child Jesus through an offering prescribed by the law (Num 18:15-16).

3. The “presentation” of Jesus in the Temple.

Simeon Song

Lk 2:32

the light to enlighten the Gentiles (Is 42:6; 49:6);

Gives “Glory to your people Israel” (Is 46:13).

Luke 2:34-35

“Set for the fall and rising of many in Israel” (Is 8:14)

Pierced by the sword: Mary suffers with Jesus - com-passion [suffering with].

Angels’ Song

God’s Glory “in the highest”

Peace among people “on earth”.

The literal translation: peace to “men of good pleasure [= to men with whom he is pleased]”.

Which men enjoy God’s “good pleasure”? And why?


Peace of Augustus versus Peace of Christ;

Shepherds coming

Jesus born amon shepherds is the great Shepherd of humanity (1 Peter 2:25; Heb 13:20).

Magi from the “land of sunrise”

Bethlehem - David - the book of Ruth;

The prophecy (Gen 49:10; Num 24:17);


Who were those people? The Persian priestly caste?

The Magi and Scripture

Ps 72:10 and Is 60:1-3 - that is how the Church read this story.

“[The Magi] represent the journeying of humanity towards Christ” (Benedict XVI).

The star

In the year 7/6 - a rare conjecture of Jupiter, and Saturn; Even in the Chinese chronological tables this fact is recorded. In 4 BC “a bright star appeared and was visible for quite a long time”.

But, what kind of star actually travels along the sky?

Jupiter - the star of the highest Babylonian deity;

Saturn - the cosmic representative of the Jewish people.

Was Cosmos also speaking of Christ in this way?

Paul said that the law led to Christ (Gal 3:24);

The Fathers of the Church said that astrology led to Christ as well.

But, with Christ on the scene, both the law (Rom 10:4) and astrology came to an end.

The risen Christ has conquered all the powers and forces in the heavens, and he reigns over the entire universe (Eph 1:21-22; Col 2:15).

The king of the Jews

Matt 2:2 - a Jew would asked “the king of Israel”;

Mark 15:9; John 19:19-22 - again a Gentile sets this title.

Do we have here a shadow of the cross?

The mystery of the cross is inseparably linked with Jesus’ kingship.

Jerusalem’s reaction

Matt 2:3 - troubled. Why?

The biblical scholars know the answer (Micah 5:2); But why did they not go there themlseves?

How God works? Biblical pattern

“Greatness emerges from what seems in earthly terms small and insignificant, while worldly greatness collapses and falls” (Benedict XVI). (See 1 Sam 16:7; Lk 1:52, Fatima children, and so on).


No star in Jerusalem - only Scripture;

Back on the way, back is the star - creation and the Scriptures together;

Matt 2:11 - worshiping the child - “proskynesis” - they throw themselves onto the ground before the child.

Flight to Egypt

There is a motive of New Moses also in this story - Herod as new Pharaoh - children suffer.

Egypt - its symbolism in the Bible

Hosea 11:1 - a new beginning - Matthew interprets this passage in reference to Jesus;

Jesus goes into exile (Hosea 11:5) in order to lead us home from exile

Rachel’s weeping

Jer 31:15 - Matt 2:18;

Back from Egypt

Angel in a dream again (Matt 2:19-22);

Archelaus versus Antipas

Galilee of the nations (Is 9:1-2; Matt 4:14-16)

12 year old in the Temple

Preparation for Bar-Mitzva?

Bar-Mitzva means somebody who is obligated to observe the Law. The ceremony involved an examination by the teachers of the Torah knowledge of the young Bar-Mitzvah (Lk 2:46-47).

Three days without Jesus - a reference to the Cross;

Lk 2:49 - “in the things of the Father” - that summarises the meaning of Jesus’ life.

“your father - Joseph”; “my Father - God”.

Divine “must” (see Mk 8:31).

Luke 2:50-51 - lack of understanding;

Mediation of God’s word (Lk 2:19; 2:51).

Growth in maturity

Lk 2:51-52 - 1 Samuel 2:26 - this one together with Magnificat is another connection between the story of young Jesus and young Samuel.

Growing in “wisdom” points to the true nature of Jesus’ humanity; On the other hand, “being in the things of my Father” points to Jesus’ awareness of His own divine status.

From Joseph, Jesus learned the trade of “tekton” - a master builder. Nazareth was too small to offer work. Sepphoris - about one hour walk from Nazareth - offered more opportunities.

From then on we do not have any more information about Jesus’ life nor anything about Joseph.

Jesus of Nazareth - Galilee