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Summary: Though Matt and Mark give us info on the birth of Christ, I really like the way Luke describes it…Luke takes the approach of a NYC entertainment critic as he gets into the meat of the story

“Torched By an Angel” Dec 9, 2001

Though Matt and Mark give us info on the birth of Christ, I really like the way Luke describes it…Luke takes the approach of a NYC entertainment critic as he gets into the meat of the story

The way Luke tells it, events surrounding Jesus’ birth resembled a joy-filled musical. Characters crowded into the scene: a white-haired great-uncle, an astonished virgin, a tottery old prophetess. They all smiled broadly and, as likely as not, burst into song.

It’s the picture of celebration…celebration with purpose for there are some historical events taking place of the utmost importance for all of us. The author tells us (1:1-4) that he researched many accounts of Jesus’ life. He lets us know that many were writing the “unauthorized biography” and so it felt it important to give us the real story…or as Paul Harvey says...the rest of the story. Intimate details in these first two chapters show he relied heavily on eyewitnesses, for no other Gospel writer picked up so many facts. Careful attention to detail and an under-girding tone of joy characterize Luke’s book.

So we can rest assured that what we read in Luke 1 and 2 is correct, it took place and it would forever change the face of the world that we live in.

I’d like to break it down into 2 stories…2 accounts with similar activity…2 events that we have all become familiar with as we grew up. And we find two completely different results. The first part of this story had to take place before the 2nd part could…so we have to take note of what was going on and learn the life lessons that we can from what happened.

Today we look at the first part of our story…

Luke 1 begins with a man named Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth. They could represent and modern day church couple…

. 6Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.

We know Zacharias served in the temple and as was customary, he found himself one day in the temple, burning incense sacrificially as unto the Lord

1:9 It was one of the priest’s duties to keep the incense burning on the altar in front of the Most Holy Place. He supplied it with fresh incense before the morning sacrifice and again after the evening sacrifice (Ex 30:6-8). Ordinarily a priest would have this privilege very infrequently, and sometimes never, since duty assignments were determined by lot. chosen by lot.

So we have a good man, a godly man, doing his duty in the temple.

Suddenly, without warning, an angel.. arrives on the scene…standing on the right side of the altar…startled him so bad that he was scared by the very appearance. One translation says “fear fell upon him”

I think there are times today when we are going about our business for God, praying for things to happen to us and through us…. and suddenly life changes and we have an angelic moment….we’re shocked that God would actually respond to that which we have been seeking. It’s that WOW, I can’t believe this is happening to me moment!

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