Luke may be my second-favorite Gospel writer, following closely after Mark. I was therefore excited to receive my copy of the latest from Brazos Press by one David Lyle Jeffrey. Marked by simplicity and carefully written, it is packed with helpful information regarding the interpretation of various Lukan passages by early Church Fathers, as well as more contemporary voices.
This commentary came in handy for me in my preparation for a Christmas sermon. Jeffrey has this to say about why the angel Gabriel caused fear in those he spoke to: “Gabriel’s presence was thought by Jewish teachers to indicate proximity of the Shekinah itself, the glory of God’s own presence” (p. 23). Jeffrey further writes, “Readers will remember that Gabriel appears a second time in Dan. 9:20-21 to further clarify the eschatological significance of Daniel’s vision, precisely when Daniel is praying in repentance for the sins of his people “about the time of the evening offering.” In Luke 1:11, Gabriel appears just as Zacharias is offering the evening sacrifice of incense; the reiteration is unmistakable. That the angel is standing “on the right side of the altar of incense” suggests that he stood nearest the entrance to the holy of holies, as if he had come directly from the presence of God” (p. 23). In other words, people in the Bible who encounter angels generally respond with fear because of who the angels represent (=God and God’s Presence).
This is a carefully written commentary that I commend for its simplicity, brevity, as well as its straightforward nature that is quite refreshing. Packed with great theological insight, as well as proving to be concise and clear, this is yet another great commentary in the Brazos Theological Commentary series.