Summary: Jesus is Coming again. We need to be a voice crying in the wilderness because this time He isn’t coming as a baby in a manger but as the King of Kings to bring judgment and deliverance!
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Pastor James May
PREPARING FOR JESUS’ COMING
Sunday, December 08, 2002 AM
Luke 1:5-17, "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
We are entering the time of year when Christians around the world will observe and commemorate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the small village of Bethlehem, in Judea. As we enter into this holiday season, I want us to begin to examine the events that led to the birth of Jesus for in those events we can see a parallel to the events of our present time when we are, once again, waiting for the coming of Jesus to end the oppression and sin upon His chosen nation.
As we begin this message I want to remind you that the first coming of Jesus as a baby in that manger came at a time when Israel was going through the motions of worshipping God in the Temple ceremonies but there had been no prophet, no word from the Lord God Jehovah for 400 years. There was a spiritual darkness that covered the land as a result of judgment against Israel for their idolatry.
The mighty Legions of Rome under the iron fist of Caesar had a stranglehold on the land of Israel and the chosen people of God were given only a limited ability to worship the true God as they pleased. Rome had little use for their religion as they considered any nation who was conquered to have weaker god’s than their own. The Romans had a multitude of gods that they served.
Mars (the god of war) was among them, and Caesar himself was looked upon as god also. (Perhaps that part of Rome’s religious belief system has been the most influential factor in combining the exaltation of a man, such as the Pope, into the position of the Vicar of Christ, as is prevalent in the Roman Catholic Church.)
Naturally, because the Roman Legions had conquered Israel, their assumption was that Caesar, Mars and their other gods were far more powerful than the God of Israel. Little did they know that they were actually pawns in the eternal plan of the God of Heaven to bring about the birth of Jesus, God’s only Son, and bring the way of deliverance to all mankind, including these heathens of Rome.