Last week Luke introduced us to his book by introducing us to Jesus.
This book takes us back to the beginning. Right back to the birth of the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist.
Today we see the announcement of John's birth.
1/. A Godly couple. 5 - 7.
Before we meet John we will meet Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. They both came from priestly families. They were pious characters. They were upright in the sight of God. They were careful to keep all of the Lord's commandments. They weren't sinless but they were blameless. They were determined to keep God's laws.
Do we implement the preached word of God. How do we respond to preaching? We need to learn the word but we must also live the word and love it.
God observed this couple's living and loving His Word.
At this time things were difficult in the country. It was the time of Herod.
This was a time of Roman rule and dictatorship. It was a time of persecution for Christians.
It was also very difficult for them personally. They were unable to have children and were getting on in years.
Even in their difficult situation they were still faithful to God
2/. A gospel announcement. 8 - 17.
We have already seen Zechariah was a priest. Each priest served for 2 weeks in the temple. He leaves Elizabeth and goes to do his duty. He was chosen by lot to go into the temple and burn incense in honour of The Lord. This was a great privelige to be asked to do. It was a unique once in a lifetime task. He would have entered into the holy place with 2 others. They would have had burning coals which they placed on the altar. The other 2 would have left and Zechariah would have sprinkled the incense. He would then have prayed to God
At this moment an angel appeared. Zechariah is terrified. The angel calms Zechariah and tells him not to be afraid. The angel tells him his prayer has been heard. We don't know exactly what he prayed.
The angel told him Elizabeth would bear a son he will bring joy to Israel. He will be great in the sight of The Lord. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit Ben before birth. He will be set apart. He'll turn God's people back to Him. The people had strayed from God. There would be conviction and conversion.
This was prophesied at the very end of the OT. John would be the fulfilment of that prophecy.
How did Zechariah respond. How would we have responded. Verse 18 tells us he responded with unbelief. He asks for a sign and expressed his doubts. How could they have a son. They were both getting on in years.
What God promises He will fulfill
3/. A gracious fulfilment. 18 - 25.
Have you heard the good news but maybe still haven't believed.
Even we deny the truth it doesn't make it any less true. Even Zechariah doubts doesn't stop God fulfilling His promise.
Zechariah didn't believe so God silenced him. He would no longer be able to speak his words of unbelief until John would be born.
He eventually emerges from the inner
Sanctuary and cannot utter a word. He arrives home to Elizabeth and still can't speak. But God fulfilled his promise and Elizabeth became pregnant. Zechariah was still silent but Elizabeth spoke. How kind The Lord is she exclaimed. He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.
What can we learn from this.
Luke's Jesus is the fulfilment of God's promises. The coming of John is the first evidence.
This proves the credibility of the whole bible. This should strengthen our faith in our unbelief.
This fulfilment demands a response from us. Do we believe or not. Do we accept the Bible is true. Do we accept Jesus came to save the people from their sins.
Do we believe God can forgive us our sins through Jesus' finished work on that cross at Calvary.
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