Summary: Luke reveals that God knows and controls much more than we may realize. A thoughtful look at the birth stories of John and Jesus reveal the amazing extent of God's sovereign will and foreknowledge.
Read Luke 1:5-2:7
Luke’s account of the coming of Jesus is where we learn of how close he and John the Baptist’s families were. We would not know their relationship or that John was of Aaronic descent were in not for Luke.
Luke gives us historic markers like Herod, Ceasar Augustus calling for a census, Quirinius as governor of Syria. These help set the story in history so that you know this is not just a bedtime story for children. Luke is giving us information that assures his readers that he has done his homework before recording these events.
Luke reveals that Jesus and John were cousins. Luke 1:36, Gabriel says that even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age.
Look at what Gabriel says about John to Zachariah back in verses 14-17.
He will be a joy and delight to you.
Many will rejoice in his birth.
He will be great in the sight of the Lord.
He will never drink wine or fermented drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb.
He will bring back many in Israel to the Lord their God.
He will go on before the Lord in the Spirit and Power of Elijah.
Now, just a minute. Doesn’t this baby have a choice? Doesn’t he have to decide whether he will be faithful or not? Doesn’t he have to grow up and go through a rebellious, disobedient phase and then turn back and become faithful?
Is that the way it has to go?
It looks to me like John’s life is pretty well planned out for him even before he is conceived.
I wonder how many of us would want that for ourselves and our children? How many would want our kids to have a preplanned, mapped out course of life even before they are conceived?
Did Jesus have that kind of life too? Was Jesus sent here with a life plan that he fulfilled by living it out according to a preexisting purpose? Did Jesus really ever have a choice of whether or not to follow the will of His Father and fulfill the Father’s plan?
Those questions probably did not enter Luke’s mind. He simply recorded what his research revealed and what the Holy Spirit inspired him to write.
Gabriel’s words to Zachariah were strong. You will not be able to speak until the day this happens. Why? Because you did not believe my words, WHICH WILL COME TRUE AT THEIR PROPER TIME.
What if Zachariah walked out of there and left Elizabeth? What if he died on his way home from the temple? What if… what if… Don’t we do that with God’s word sometimes? Did Zachariah have a choice? Was there ANYTHING he could have done to stop Gabriel’s words from being fulfilled?
One of the things we see from Luke’s account is that God is more in control that it may appear to us. We may look around at our world and see the Herods and Ceasars of our times and be tempted to think that they are calling the shots. We can look with the eyes of flesh and begin to doubt that God is still on the throne and still accomplishing what He purposes on this planet. We can forget that when God choses to interrupt history He is free to do so and able to do so. God certainly allows things to go on that do not reflect His holiness. God gives us free will. I would argue that God chose Zachariah and Elizabeth in part because God knew they would obey Him. Even if Zachariah had a moment of weakness in unbelief, God still knew he would rejoice in the gift of this baby named John. God also knew that John would be the kind of man he became even before he was conceived. Just as God knew Jesus would go to the cross even before the foundation of the world. God knows you. God knows where you will spend eternity. He already knows. If He chose to do so, God could reveal your life to you and you would perform it exactly as He revealed it.
God’s foreknowledge and sovereignty are absolute. God does not drag us to heaven or predestine us to hell. The scriptures reveal to us that God protects our free will even while he fully knows the very course of our lives and future.
This is a matter of faith for us. I pray that God will take full control of my life and that I will give myself up to His will completely. I pray that for this church as well. I do not want to spend a moment without God’s direction over my life. It doesn’t matter where that takes me, just as long as it takes me to Him.