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Sunday, February 10, 2013 

The Lukan Case For Life

My new great nephew!
At the congregation I attend I enjoy the opportunity to teach the adult Sunday school class and we are currently making our way through Luke's Gospel.

Normally, in most Lutheran congregations, it is the pastor who teaches an adult class. Since my pastor serves two parishes he has to leave shortly after our class starts and therefore he, by necessity, turns it over to myself or if I'm not there an elder. Our pastor always leaves notes and a series of questions for us to go over and I pretty much stick to what he wants us to cover while interjecting fun stuff from additional materials that I find in my theological library.

One of the best resources around concerning the Luke's Gospel account is Rev. Dr. Arthur A. Just Jr.'s two volume contribution to the Concordia Commentary Series over at Concordia Publishing House. This is a wonderful resource that can be used by lay persons and clergy persons alike (the textual notes are mostly for the clergy persons and those with a working understanding of both Hebrew and Greek). I can't recommend Dr. Just's commentary highly enough and it's my go to resource when I teach!

Which brings me back to the subject of the post...

We are steadily working our way the infancy narrative and I came across this marvelous textual note concerning the word “baby” in the verse from Luke 1:41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” Dr. Just writes:

41.
βρέφος—“Baby, infant” is used for babies both before and after birth, implying that an unborn child is a fully human person. The word occurs eight times in the NT, six of which are in Luke-Acts. It refers to John the Baptist while in his mother’s womb in Lk 1:41, 44; to Jesus after his birth in Lk 2:12, 16; to the young children brought to Jesus in Lk 18:15; and to newborn babies in Acts 7:19; 1 Pet 2:2. St. Paul describes Timothy as knowing the Scriptures ἀπὸ βρέφους, “from [the time he was an] infant” (2 Tim 3:15). The biblical usage of this term has important ramifications for human-life issues. It supports—even mandates—a concern for the sanctity of human life from conception onward and makes disregard for such life morally reprehensible.

It would be nice if our wicked culture understood what physicians knew two thousand years ago; that a infant hidden from our view by his or her mother's womb is still just that; an infant. Since infants deserve our love and protection after they are born, shouldn't infants who are not yet born deserve just as much love and protection against a culture that seems to celebrate their destruction in the name of choice, freedom, or whatever slick term the PR firm that organizations that brag that they terminate a life every ninety five seconds use? I think they should. Don't you?

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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