There appear, almost from the pages of the OT, characters like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna, who are the final representatives of the piety of Israel, while Mary recites a hymn that vocalizes the aspirations of the remnant . . . .The voices of these figures form a chorus to hail the new era marked by the advent of JBap and of Jesus (1993:242).
In the same way, Acts 1-2 stresses the continuity between the group of disciples which Jesus founded and the community of believers which the Spirit would lead in order to accomplish the mission of the church. Stronstad would agree with Brown by saying that "in the structure of Luke-Acts, the Pentecost narrative stands in the same relationship to Acts as the infancy-inauguration narratives do to the Gospel" (1984:49). Brown goes beyond Stronstad in emphasizing the overt parallelism between the opening of Luke and Acts, especially in the activity of the prophetic spirit.
The outpouring of the prophetic spirit which moves people to act and speak (Luke 1:15,41,67,80; 2:25-27) is not well attested in the ministry but resembles very closely the pentecostal and post-pentecostal outpouring of the prophetic spirit in Acts 2:17: 'I shall pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters will prophesy' (1993:243).
This illustrates perhaps the greatest difference between how the infancy narratives are handled in Matthew and Luke-Acts. In Matthew the opening stories are lined up serially, one right after the other, in order to illustrate that Jesus is the New Moses and the fulfillment of Israel's history surrounding the Exodus. In Luke 1-2 the opening stories are paralleled with the events of Acts 1-2 in order to accomplish Luke's purpose of showing the continuity between the Old Testament's era's manifestation of the Sprit in Israel and the New Testament's manifestation of the Spirit in the Church.
As such the birth narratives, (contra Franklin), can be seen as complimentary and not competing claims based on the different communities they were writing to and their overall theological purpose. By extension, it might also be posited that since the birth narratives in both gospels anticipate the subject matter and theology which follow, the rest of the gospels might be complimentary as well. David Bosch sees such a harmony in the two missionary commissions of Matthew and Luke.
Bosch reports that Luke's commission found in 4:16-21 which stresses compassion for the poor has, "for all practical purposes, replaced Matthew's 'Great Commission' as the key text not only for understanding Christ's own mission but also that of the church . . . . especially in conciliar and liberation theology circles" (1991:84).