Monday, September 17, 2012



Beginning with the 26th verse in Luke chapter 1 the story moves from Elizabeth's pregnancy to Mary's. When Elizabeth was 6 months along in her pregnancy, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, announcing that she would be the chosen one of all women to give birth to the Messiah. According to Gabriel the Messiah would be called the 'Son of the Most High' and should be given the name of JESUS.
Naturally, Mary was eager to tell her family, so she visited Elizabeth who was pregnant with John. Both Elizabeth and Mary were overwhelmed with what God had done in both of them.

Elizabeth gave birth to her baby and when it was time to name him, the neighbors and relatives were shocked. You see, it was customary to name the baby after his father. But Elizabeth protested against doing that and said, "No! He is to be called John." When the people questioned this to Zechariah, he wrote out the name "John" on a tablet. Immediately when he wrote this, his mouth was opened so that he could speak.
He began to prophesy over his new born son and said, "And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."

In chapter 2 Luke explains the birth of Jesus. They were in Bethlehem for legal registration for the census and Mary gave birth. Since there was no guest room available at the local inns, she gave birth in a cattle stall--a cave.

From that obscure location, the ripple effect began in the fields of Bethlehem among the shepherds. An angel appeared to them saying: "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Luke is caught up in the motif of Jesus being the Savior of the world. He presents Jesus as the Savior in many ways: 1-Gabriel tells Mary to name him "Jesus" which means "YHWH saves" (1:31). 2-Mary exults in "God my Savior" (1:47). 3-The angels tell the shepherds "there has been born for you a Savior, He is the Messiah, the Lord" (2:11). 4-Simeon holds Jesus and prays, "My eyes have seen your salvation" (2:30). 5-Jesus describes his mission as coming to "seek and save that which is lost" (19:10).

Luke makes it clear that the real Jesus has not come as a spiritual guru to guide you into the self-realization of your identity or even divinity. He hasn't come to be your moral example, so you can try a little harder to be good. He has come to rescue you from your spiritual lostness. He came to be your Savior. He came to save you from your self and selfishness, from your self-centeredness and alienation from others and from your rebelliousness against your Creator-God. His name is JESUS. Listen to Him. Believe Him. Follow Him.



In Luke 1:5-25 is recorded the miraculous birth of John. His dad was a priest (Zechariah) and his mom (Elizabeth) was unable to conceive. Both were righteous before the Lord. Then, they were chosen to have a baby with a special mission of introducing the Messiah. An angel appeared to Zechariah while performing a sacrifice:  
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years." The angel said to him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time."
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people."

John came in the spirit of Elijah. What does this mean? Well, John came wearing a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist. So did Elijah. He was a hairy man with a leather girdle.

Maybe John the Baptist is a continuation of the stance of Moses. John confronted a king, stays in the area of Jordan and the wilderness. But listen to this. Elijah also confronted an evil king, spent a lot of time outside of Israel proper, called down plagues on the land as did Moses, called down fire and was supernaturally fed by angels in the wilderness. So, Moses and Elijah played similar roles representing God. Both their lives were ended near Jericho across the Jordan. Moses was buried there and Elijah was taken up into heaven in a firey chariot. Note that John the Baptist spent his time at the same location baptizing people in the Jordan River.

One more connection between Moses, Elijah and John occurs with their successors. Elijah was followed by Elisha and was granted a double portion of Elijah's spirit. At this point Elisha walked through the Jordan on dry ground. Centuries earlier Joshua walked through the Jordan on dry ground, leading the Israelites into the promised land to conquer Jericho (Josh 3:14-17; 6). Just as Elisha was Elijah's successor, Joshua was Moses' successor. Here in Luke's portrait we see Jesus as the highest successor of all, preceded by John.

This background gives a great meaning to John's baptism. Just as Joshua and the Israelites originally entered the promised land by baptism in the Jordan, now John is baptizing people in the same place. It wasn't a convenient place to go for the people, but they went. It was like people who came to be baptized by John in the Jordan were re-entering Israel. This time, they were entering the land, acknowledging their prior failure to keep the covenant and now looking for a second chance.

I like to think that we all come in the spirit of Elijah and John with the privilege of introducing Jesus to the world around us. We don't have to preach or prophesy nor do we have to be articulate witnesses. The thought of that is most intimidating to most of us.

You can operate in the spirit of Elijah and John by simply introducing Jesus to those who are interested. Your best approach? Check out what Jesus did and said and go do it! Just by your loving touch on the people around you, Jesus will show up. Don't forget the most powerful question of all, "What can I do to help?"


Over the next few weeks I want to walk through the Gospel of Luke. Remember, Luke is the Gospel that presents Jesus as the Son of Man. For those of you who are really doing your best to follow the person of Jesus in a new and fresh way will enjoy this picture of Son of Man.

The key verse seems to be in chapter 19 and verse 10: For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. As an educated physician and inspired historian Luke carries the message that Jesus is the Savior of the world.

Luke was probably a Greek and therefore was the only non-Jewish New Testament writer. Luke is the only gospel with a sequel--the book of Acts. The book of Luke is the longest gospel account and is more that 25% of the entire New Testament.

I think one of the most interesting things about this gospel is that there are 18 parables that are unique and not in the other gospels. We'll discover some amazing principles together within these parables.

Let's look at the first four verses of Luke's gospel: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

We don't know who this Theophilus is--probably a Roman official. By the way, his name means lover of God. Luke serves the fellowship of Jesus well with his detailed account of the facts of what Jesus said and did. Although we know and love Jesus personally and each a different experience with Him, it is great to have these facts to nail down our faith.

I am reminded of the statement: "The heart can only enjoy what the mind can accept." The key to knowing Jesus is to realize that everything about Jesus happened in real, space-time history. He really lived, really loved, really suffered and died, really resurrected from the dead and will some day really return. In the meantime, we live in the spirit of Acts 29--a continuation of Jesus really working among us today.

Let's make it our prayer to experience Jesus through the writings of Luke--REALLY.

Visit Our Website