Communication! Isn’t it interesting how two people can see the same thing, experience the same thing, and hear the same thing- yet they can share two completely opposite stories?! This is how I feel when I read the Matthew and Luke accounts of Christ’s birth. They have the same core, yet they are very different.
In the book of Matthew he speaks brief and to the point. Before getting to the point of Christ’s birth he writes the list of who begat who. I used to think that this was rather annoying. Yet, as I’ve matured I’ve realized the importance of our familial lineage. If it were not for our ancestors we would not even be here. Christ is just like us, He came through a lineage. It is also interesting to look at the people in his ancestry. Many of them were sinners in a variety of ways. Yet, Christ came. In my opinion He came from such a messed up line because he was sent on earth to save. This fact that his ancestry was less than perfect reminds me that no matter what I do or how I may mess up, Christ was sent to save and He will if I let Him.
In contrast, Luke did not bring up lineage. Instead he started with the story of Zacharias and the birth of John the Baptist. As he writes this he is setting up for the grand moment of Christ’s birth by comparing it to that of his cousin John. He then ties the story into that of Mary. Instead of just stating her name like Matthew, Luke introduces her by her attributes- “favored among woman,” a panderer, young, etc. This explanation is important because the reader understands just what a miracle Christ’s birth really was. We see how Heavenly Father will take those who are less than adequate to fulfill His purposes. Mary than receives the information about her Son such as His name and holy calling. Luke than adds a very important part. He shows the doubt of Mary. She states, “How shall this be seeing I know not a man?” This question is familiar to us all. We all have times when we are told to do the impossible. To this impossible plea the angel told Mary, “For with God nothing is impossible.” Will our response be as humble as Mary’s was when she humbly accepted this answer and replied, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”
While Luke is using detail, Matthew begins with Mary being found with child. No Zacharias, no angel, no talk of doubt etc. He simply wrote the solid facts of her becoming pregnant, the issues with Joseph, him having a dream and the baby being born. I was shocked by the lack of detail. Yet, the basic facts were given. I much rather prefer the details which Luke writes in his narrative because it helps me to better understand Christ and His life, which in turn help me understand myself.