Looking up quotations in their original is always an interesting experience even more so within scripture. It often transpires that the quotation is more interpretation than simple reference.
Luke 3:4-6 being an excellent example of this. In Isaiah the “highway” for God is “in the desert” something Luke leaves out; while Isaiah’s revelation of “the glory of the Lord” has become in Luke the “salvation of God”.
But when you study the text a bit better you find out that Luke might be quoting the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament from around 200 BCE) and just missing out the first half of the sentence as the Septuagint has both “the glory of the Lord” and “the salvation of God”.
Whatever text Luke had to quote from it is clear that he uses the quotation creatively. Just as in Isaiah he puts the text in the context of forgiven sins. He suggests that John is preparing the way for Jesus. He is also reminding his readers of the Exodus and the return from Exile. This is freedom that leads into the desert where an encounter with God is now, through Jesus, possible for all. Do we dare to go this way?
6 December 2015
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.
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