Parallelism also abounds within the infancy narratives themselves. Many elements of both the divine announcement and prophetic speech are similar. In addition, whereas Matthew grounds his gospel in the Old Testament through the genealogy and flow of the story, Luke recaptures the well-known story of the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah through the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The ancient Simeon and Anna seemed lifted right out of the Old Testament and not only provide a linkage to the past, but a foretaste of the Pentecostal blessing when both old and young, men and women will share in the renewal of the prophetic spirit. Brown maintains that the rich pericopes of the birth stories "contains the essential theology of the Old and New Testaments" (Brown 1993:596). Further parallels between the birth of John/Jesus and the church are briefly listed in the following table.
THE BIRTH OF JOHN/JESUS AND THE CHURCH
The Birth of John/Jesus
The Birth of the Church
Zechariah is chosen by lot.
Matthias is chosen by lot.
Elizabeth remains in seclusion.
The church remains in seclusion.
Zechariah can't speak with his tongue.
The Church speaks in tongues.
Many, both men and women speak prophetically at the conception and birth of John and Jesus.
Many, both men and women speak prophetically at the conception and birth of the Church.
Promises of Messiah will be fulfilled.
Promises of Messiah have been fulfilled.
Anna stays in the temple continuously worshipping God.
The church stays in the temple continuously worshipping God.
According to several scholars, the overall purpose of this apparent parallelism was to bind the two books and the Old Testament together into the key concept of salvation (van Unnik 1973:340-373). This salvation did not begin with the birth of Jesus, but had its roots in the Old Testament promises of the Messiah. "One of the reasons why Luke has made considerable use of the OT is Christology, his desire to relate the Jesus-story and its sequel to the plan God begun in the OT and precisely Jesus' role in that plan" (Fitzmyer 1998:92).
Marshall finds in the theme of salvation "the key to the theology of Luke. Not salvation-history but salvation itself is the theme which occupied the mind of Luke in both parts and of