Summary: Redemption, salvation, forgivenss, covenant
Luke 1: 67-79 (p724) December 11, 2011
Last week we began our look…or better yet, our listen…into the songs of Christmas…and our first song came from Mary’s lips…A Song that celebrated God’s plan…A song that worships the god who keeps His promises.
If you remember Mary has received the message of God’s plan through Gabriel, an angelic messenger…and part of the information he delivers is that Mary’s relative, Elizabeth is also pregnant…even though she’s “in her old age” and “was said to be barren” (Luke 1:36) She’s already 6 months along…
Mary goes to stay with Elizabeth…she spends 3 months with Zechariah and Elizabeth before she returns home. 6+3 =9
Our elderly parents welcome, mentor, love and protect Mary for 3 months. It’s probably through this period of time Joseph finds out about Mary’s circumstances, considers “divorcing” her privately….(so she won’t be stoned to death) and then….God speaks
Matt 1: 18-25 (p 681)
God is at work in the lives of Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah and Joseph…
I personally think Joseph must have been an amazing godly man…He will be the most important step-father in all created history. We don’t know much about him….except for the way he handles the situation with Mary before Gabriel’s visit... (That says a lot!)…
But think of Joseph’s faith…it’s a dream…Mary’s visit wasn’t a dream…dreams can be questioned and doubted…but Joseph answers God’s call of faith….Marry’s Mary…doesn’t sleep with her until after Jesus is born…and cares for this family at least until Jesus is 12 (that’s the last we see him in scripture) including taking them to Egypt for protection and the temple in obedience.
Zechariah also is in a miraculous circumstance…He’s older, more set in his ways…He’s used to traditions…He’s a priest…As Dr. Luke begins his presentation of the gospel…He begins with….”a priest named Zechariah…Look with me as…
I A SONG BEGINS IN A MAN WHO CANNOT SING
Luke 1: 5-25 (p 723)
Not only is Zechariah a priest…He’s been a priest for a long, long time…He’s a Levite, a descendant of Aaron through the line of Abijah. He and Elizabeth have no children…both he, and his culture view this as a curse…no one to care for them in the old age and no one to leave their estate to…no one to carry one his “name” Elizabeth is barren…Many understood this pain…but its especially acute in this culture.
Abraham’s blessing was that his descendants would number like the “Sand of the Set” This is the blessing all Jewish people longed for…being barren in this culture was looked upon as a curse…as if God was saying, “Your unfit to reproduce.”
But in god’s sight Elizabeth and Zachariah are righteous. They deserve the Lords commands and regulations blamelessly…Zechariah is in Jerusalem on duty as a priest because his tribe is in the rotation…He’s chosen from his tribe to deliver the incense in the temple…He’s alone and serving God when Gabriel shows up…in person.
Zechariah is startled….He’s terrified… (remember it’s a Holy place…when you know you’re alone…you’re not expecting anyone else to be there)…It’s the rarest a privileges to be chosen to burn the incense at the altar…while all the worshippers wait outside you enter the Holy place…Unless you are the High priest on the day of atonement…this is as close as you’ll get to the Holy of Holies…The Holy place has the altar…the table for the show board, the candlesticks, and the altar of Incense…Zechariah would be…let’s say…”Excitedly on edge”
Then an angel of the Lord appears to Him, Standing at the right side of the altar of incense Zechariah is gripped with fear but the angle says…”Don’t be afraid Zechariah. Your prayer has been heard…your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you are to give him the name John” (Luke 1:13)
[ 1) He will be a joy and delight to you 2) Mary will rejoice because of his birth 3) He will be great in the sight of the Lord 4) He will not drink wine or fermented drink 5) He’ll bring many of the people of Israel back to God 6) He’ll go before the Lord in the Spirit of Elijah turning the hearts of the father’s to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous 7) He will make ready a people prepared for the Lord.]
Jesus would say that John the Baptist would be the greatest person born of woman…Zechariah got his son’s resume’ even before he was born. And for a righteous Jewish man…married to a righteous Jewish woman…both have reached an age where children were an impossibility…this promise was hard to accept.
“How can I be sure of this…what kind of sign can you give me….I’m old…my wife’s old.”
Gabriel…get’s real with Zechariah for a moment…
“I’m Gabriel…I stand in God’s Presence He sent me to speak to you…To tell you this Good News…So because you didn’t believe these words I promise will come true in due time…You will be silent…you will not be able to speak until this happens!”