Summary: This is a message that shows the importance of the birth of John the Baptist.
“A GREAT MIRACLE THAT PREFACED THE GREATEST MIRACLE OF THEM ALL”
TEXT: Luke 1:1-25 W. Max Alderman
INTRODUCTION: The writer of the third Gospel is writing something that would normally not be believed. Luke begins this beloved Gospel by establishing that what he writes is credible. In this first chapter, he will be telling of two great miracles. The first miracle pertains to the birth of John the Baptist and the next greater miracle to the birth of Jesus. In this study, we will be giving emphasis to miracle number one.
I. THE CREDIBILITY OF THE WITNESS (LUKE 1:1-3)
As we read the Gospel of Luke, we do so recognizing that it is part of the Canon of Truth. When the writer originally wrote, he had to establish that what he was saying was credible. He was going to describe within the span of one chapter in very few words two great miracles. The first miracle involved the reproach of not being able to have children and reaching old age in that condition. This miracle meant that an old man and woman were going to give birth to John the Baptist. The second miracle that we will later consider involves a virgin giving birth to the Messiah. For this reason Dr. Luke begins this treatise with proof from those who were eye-witnesses of what he was writing. In Acts 1:1-3, Luke also establishes that what he is writing can be supported with evidence. Apparently there were inaccurate and exaggerated accounts of what he was writing being circulated and he was writing under the inspiration of the Spirit for the purpose of setting the record straight. Here is what Luke says in Acts 1:1-3 to Theophilus:
“1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” Acts 1:1-3
A. Luke Wanted to Clarify What Had Been Declared by Others. (V. 1)
We all know how truth can be distorted with the passing of time. Such must have been the case here. Much time had elapsed, since the birth of Christ, and surely because of this there were those who were “time removed” from the factual account of what happened. Yet, Luke is able to say that he had a good understanding of what had happened and could therefore tell with certainty what had taken place. He was only clarifying what had been said by others…
B. Luke Wanted to Clarify What Had Been Delivered by Others. (V. 2)
Luke was a medical Doctor and God used his background and training to prepare him for the writing of this Gospel. We, who are saved, believe in the inspiration of Scriptures and we also believe in confluent inspiration. This means that God uses the personality and experiences of the writer to deliver Inspired Truth. Everything that Luke wrote was inspired and providentially allowed to be a part of the Canon of Truth. Thus, what Luke wrote, God said. What he wrote superseded anything that anyone else had written or said. He is making this clear in his opening salutation to Theophilus.
II. THE CERTAINTY OF THE WORD. (V. 4)
Luke was letting Theophilus know that what he wrote could be believed with certainty. May I remind you what the Scriptures say about itself…? “16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Tim 3:16-17
I am not suggesting that Luke knew as he was writing the letter to Theophilus that he was writing the inspired Word of God. God may not have let him know His Divine intentions. Yet, in either case, God superintended every word that was being written. Not one word was erroneously written, so Luke was indeed giving the Truth with all certainty. I am giving special emphasis to this Truth, because we constantly need to remind ourselves that we have the preserved, infallible, inspired, and precious Word of God. This is so, if you have the King James Bible. Notice what Barnes says about this thought: “We see the nature of Luke’s inspiration. It was consistent with his using his natural faculties or his own powers of mind in investigating the truth. God, by his Holy Spirit, presided over his faculties, directed them, and kept him from error.” —Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament