Gilgal: Remember God's Faithfulness: Joshua 4

Gilgal: Remember God’s Faithfulness
Joshua 4

1. The Presence and God’s Faithfulness
1   When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, 2  “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3  and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Joshua 4:1-3 (ESV)

16  Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV)

2. The Unity and God’s Faithfulness
4  Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5  And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, Joshua 4:4-5 (ESV)

5  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:5 (ESV)

3. The Memorial of God’s Faithfulness
6  that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7  then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” Joshua 4:6-7 (ESV)

4. The Warning and God’s Faithfulness
8  And the people of Israel did just as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, just as the LORD told Joshua. And they carried them over with them to the place where they lodged and laid them down there. 9  And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day. Joshua 4:8-9 (ESV)

10  For the priests bearing the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. The people passed over in haste. Joshua 4:10 (ESV)

9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 (ESV)

5. The Mission and God’s Faithfulness
22  then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23  For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, 24  so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4:22-24 (ESV)

19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)

The Ministry of Jesus: Luke 4:31-44

The Ministry of Jesus
Luke 4:31-44

1. The teaching of Jesus
31  And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 32  and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. Luke 4:31-32 (ESV)

Jesus’ authority in teaching probably relates to His direct explanation of a text as opposed to the endless quotes and allusions to other men by the teachers of the day.

15  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

2. The works of Jesus
33  And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34  “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 35  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36  And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37  And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region. 38  And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 39  And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them. 40  Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41  And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. Luke 4:33-41 (ESV)

There is an overarching conflict between the idea of the demonic “unclean” spirit and Jesus who is anointed by the “Holy” Spirit.

8   . . . The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 (ESV)

Jesus also had authority to rebuke sickness, a connection to sin and the corruption that comes from sin in general.

24   . . . And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. Luke 8:24 (ESV)

Jesus’ touch probably reveals personal care, a sign of blessing, a connection between Jesus and the one healed, and a sign of re-creation.

3. The commission of Jesus
42  And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43  but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44  And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. Luke 4:42-44 (ESV)

Jesus’ commission is to spread the good news of the kingdom. Isaiah 9:6-7

Hometown Prophet: Luke 4:22-30

Hometown Prophet
Luke 4:22-30

1. The rejection of Jesus by His hometown
22  And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23  And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” 24  And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.” Luke 4:22-24 (ESV)

We never see Jesus performing miracles in response to coercion or manipulation.

22  For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 1 Corinthians 1:22 (ESV)

2. The message of Jesus to His hometown
25  “…But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26  and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27  And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” Luke 4:25-27 (ESV)

13  And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14  For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’” 1 Kings 17:13-14 (ESV)

11  But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.” 2 Kings 5:11 (ESV)

Both of Jesus’ stories involved individuals who were outside of Israel, or Gentiles, and both stories involved individuals who had to believe God’s word before the miracle occurred.

3. The persecution of Jesus by His hometown
28  When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29  And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30  But passing through their midst, he went away. Luke 4:28-30 (ESV)

Jesus often eluded the authorities or a hostile crowd simply because it was not God’s time, which reminds us that God is in control.

11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. John 1:11 (ESV)

Homecoming: Luke 4:14-21

Luke 4:14-21

1. The empowerment of Jesus’ Worship
14  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15  And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. Luke 4:14-15 (ESV)

The secret of our Savior’s success directly relates to the power of the Spirit.

2. The consistency of Jesus’ Worship
16  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. Luke 4:16 (ESV)

 “As was His custom” informs us that Jesus obediently and consistently worshiped on the Sabbath.

25  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)

3. The message of Jesus’ Worship
17  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:17-19 (ESV)

1  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2  to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; Isaiah 61:1-2 (ESV)

6  “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Isaiah 58:6 (ESV)

Kent Hughes: Jesus was obviously saying two things. First, the consolation of Israel promised long before by Isaiah found its ultimate expression in Jesus and his message. And second, while "the day of vengeance of our God" would come (Isaiah 61:2b), it was not being fulfilled on that day. What was being fulfilled that day was "the year [i.e., the season] of the Lord's favor." Matthew 5:3

Jesus used the idea of blindness to sight to help explain His plans for the Apostle Paul. Acts 26:17-18

10  And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. Leviticus 25:10 (ESV)

4. The application of Jesus’ Worship
20  And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21  And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:20-21 (ESV)

The people of Nazareth did not see any prisoners gain their freedom or any blind people recover their sight, but they did hear Jesus preach the gospel, and when they heard it, Isaiah’s prophecy came true. 2 Corinthians 8:9

Jesus' Temptation: Part 2 (The Battle from a Specific Perspective): Luke 4:3-12

Jesus’ Temptation: Part 2
(The Battle from a Specific Perspective)
Luke 4:3-12

1. The Devil wanted Jesus to Doubt God’s Provision (Appetites and Abilities)
3  The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4  And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” Luke 4:3-4 (ESV)

25  I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. Psalm 37:25 (ESV)

The devil was casting doubt on what God said, as he loves to do. And if Jesus was the Son of God, then why was he on the verge of starvation? How could this be God’s will for his life? 1 Corinthians 10:31; John 4:34; Matthew 6:25-26

3  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV)

2. The Devil wanted Jesus to Doubt God’s Plan (Ambition and Authority)
5  And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6  and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7  If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8  And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” Luke 4:5-8 (ESV); Psalm 2:7-8

God’s pattern: We start with suffering and then end with glory.

25  And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Luke 24:25-26 (ESV); 1 Peter 5:10

Satan’s pattern is that we start with glory and end with suffering.

13  It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. Deuteronomy 6:13 (ESV)

3. The Devil wanted Jesus to Doubt God’s Promises (Attentiveness and Ability)
9  And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10  for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’
11  and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 12  And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Luke 4:9-12 (ESV)

11  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12  On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12 (ESV)

The temptation made by Satan was to, in essence, force God into a corner so that He has to act.

16  “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. 17  You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. Deuteronomy 6:16-17 (ESV)

Jesus' Temptation: Part 1 (The Battle from a General Perspective): Luke 4:1-2

Jesus’ Temptation: Part 1
(The Battle from a General Perspective)
Luke 4:1-2

1. Jesus overcame temptation in the worst of all possible conditions
1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. Luke 4:1-2 (ESV)

MacArthur: Adam faced temptation in the best possible surroundings, the garden of Eden. Jesus faced temptation in the worst imaginable setting—the wasteland of the Judean desert.

2. Jesus fought many and varied temptations consistently with the same weaponry
3  The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4  And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5  And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6  and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.
7  If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8  And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
9  And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10  for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ 11  and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 12  And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Luke 4:3-12 (ESV)

Jesus was anchored in the Father’s love to endure the battle
22   . . . “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22 (ESV); 1 John 4:10

Jesus was filled with the empowerment of the Spirit during the battle
1  And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness Luke 4:1 (ESV); Ephesians 5:15-18

Jesus’ wielded the sword of God’s Word offensively in the battle
17  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, Ephesians 6:12-17 (ESV)

Jesus prayed in preparation for the battle
21  Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, Luke 3:21 (ESV); Ephesians 6:18

3. Jesus’ battle against the spiritual forces of darkness had only just begun
13  And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. Luke 4:13 (ESV); Matthew 16:23; James 4:7; James 1:13

Adam, though created perfect, gave in to temptation, and passed sin onto the whole human race. Jesus, by contrast, resisted Satan.

Jesus, who could not sin, endured temptation in greater fashion than we can even imagine. Why was Jesus tempted? The simple answer . . . for us!

18  For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18 (ESV)

Son of Man, Son of God: Luke's Genealogy: Luke 3:23-38

Son of Man, Son of God: Luke’s Genealogy
Luke 3:23-38

1. What is the general significance of the genealogy in Luke’s gospel?

Genealogy gives us a humble perspective of where we fit into the panorama of history.

2. How do we answer the technical issues of the genealogy in Luke’s gospel?

23  Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24  the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25  the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26  the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27  the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28  the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29  the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30  the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31  the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32  the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33  the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34  the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35  the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36  the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37  the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38  the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. Luke 3:23-38 (ESV)

Matthew traces Jesus through Joseph (his legal father) to David’s son, Solomon the king, by whom Christ rightfully inherited the throne of David. Luke’s purpose, on the other hand, is to show Christ as an actual human.

Jeconiah: 30  Thus says the LORD: “Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days, for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah.” Jeremiah 22:30 (ESV)

MacArthur: Jesus could be legitimately Israel’s king despite being the descendent of Jeconiah (Matt 1:11). Jesus was the legal, but not physical, descendant of Jeconiah through Joseph. That avoided the curse that the Lord pronounced on Jeconiah, that none of his descendants would ever be king.

3. How do we better understand Jesus and His ministry from the genealogy in Luke’s gospel?

23  Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,  . . . 38  the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. Luke 3:23, 38 (ESV)

Arthur A. Just: “Jesus now embraces in himself every generation from Adam, the beginning of humanity. As such he now proceeds in his work as Messiah to redeem the humanity he bears in his own flesh. He is both son of Adam and Son of God, both true God and true man, with these two natures in one person.”

17  Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17 (ESV)

John’s Baptism of Jesus: Luke 3:21-22

John’s Baptism of Jesus
Luke 3:21-22

1. The Son’s Baptism
21  Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying . . .  Luke 3:21 (ESV); John 1:33-34

13  Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14  John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15  But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. Matthew 3:13-15 (ESV)

3 fold role of Jesus’ choice to partake in John’s Baptism

1.      Jesus’ baptism represents an endorsement of John’s ministry and message

2.      Jesus’ baptism shows how Jesus identified himself with people as he began his ministry: the baptism is like an inauguration, a call to begin the mission for which Jesus was always headed.

50  I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Luke 12:50 (ESV)

3.      In the anointing of the Spirit, Jesus emerges as the coming one to whom John pointed and who brings the greater baptism. Luke 3:16

2. The Spirit’s Anointing
21   . . . the heavens were opened, 22  and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove . . .  Luke 3:21-22 (ESV)

The Spirit’s descending symbolized the Spiritual empowerment, leading, and confirming of Jesus upon His life and ministry. Isaiah 11:1-2; Isaiah 42:1

1  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)

3. The Father’s Testimony
22   . . .  and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22 (ESV)

37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, John 5:37 (ESV); 1 John 5:9-11

There are three parts of the Father’s testimony:

A reference to the Son
7  I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Psalm 2:7 (ESV)

It also echoes God’s declaration of Jesus, Israel’s king and ultimately to Israel’s Messiah.

A reference to the Beloved
8  But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; Isaiah 41:8 (ESV)

A reference to God’s being pleased with the Son
The Father was pleased with the Son’s obedience.

1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. Isaiah 42:1 (ESV)

Gospel Boldness: Luke 3:18-20

Gospel Boldness
Luke 3:18-20

1. Bold Communication
18  So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. Luke 3:18 (ESV)

The use of “other” indicates that John preached about much more than simply what Luke recorded.

John’s preaching was not only about turning from sin through repentance, but it also included a turning to God’s anticipated provision of salvation in Christ by faith, which identifies the true gospel.

16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 (ESV)

2. Bold Correction
19  But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, Luke 3:19 (ESV)

3  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 2 Timothy 4:3 (ESV)

17  The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. Philippians 1:17 (ESV)

The verb tense indicates John continuously challenged the character of Herod and Herodias.

3. Bold Consequences
20  added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison. Luke 3:20 (ESV)

Often, one in sin seeks to remove the source of exposure rather than heed a warning of love.

8  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 2 Timothy 1:8 (ESV)

58  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV)

John: the Ultimate Role Player: Luke 3:15-17

John: the Ultimate Role Player
Luke 3:15-17

1. The Question of John’s Role in Relation to the Christ
15  As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, Luke 3:15 (ESV)

19  And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20  He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
22  So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John 1:19-22 (ESV)

2. The Disposition of John’s Role in Relation to the Christ
16  John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Luke 3:16 (ESV)

Threefold priority of Jesus: Jesus is stronger than John, he brings a better baptism than John, and he is the Judge.

John knew and understood his role.

27  John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” John 3:27 (ESV) . . . the key principle

Point: we must content ourselves with the place and provision that the Sovereign God has given us, seeking only to be faithful to Him.

A Joyful Attitude
29  The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. John 3:29 (ESV)

A Humble resolution
30  He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 (ESV)

3  For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3 (ESV)

3. The Purpose of John’s Role in Relation to the Christ
17  His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Luke 3:17 (ESV)

Water may cleanse what is outside, but fire purifies that which is within, namely the heart.

49  “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50  I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51  Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52  For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:49-53 (ESV)

The Breastpiece: Exodus 28:15-30

The Breastpiece
Exodus 28:15-30

1. God’s promise and the breastpiece
17 You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; 18 and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree. Exodus 28:17-20 (ESV)

The word translated "breastpiece" means "ornament," and the priest’s role as representative was symbolized in this article of clothing.

12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. Genesis 2:12 (ESV)

13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. Ezekiel 28:13 (ESV)

19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. Revelation 21:19-20 (ESV)

It appears as though the high priest’s breastplate looks back at Eden and forward to the New Jerusalem, picturing a promise of restoration to Paradise lost. (vv. 17-21)

2. God’s people and the breastpiece

21 There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes. Exodus 28:21 (ESV)

9 You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. Exodus 28:9-10 (ESV)

The names engraved into the onyx stones on the High Priest’s shoulders represents the commonality and unity that we have in Christ, while the diversity of precious stones with the engraved names of the tribes represents our diverse make-up as a thing of beauty.

3. God’s placement and the breastpiece
29 So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the LORD. Exodus 28:29 (ESV)

The gold chains secured the breastpiece next to the priest’s heart, signifying the love of God for His people, His concern for their interests, and serving as an article of remembrance before the Lord.

Genuine Repentance: Luke 3:7-14

Genuine Repentance: Luke 3:7-14

1. A False Picture of Repentance

         -A sarcastic rebuke

7  He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Luke 3:7 (ESV)

          -A charge to bear fruit

8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance . . . Luke 3:8 (ESV)

19 . . .I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. Acts 26:19-20 (ESV)

          -A warning about relying on heritage

8 . . .And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Luke 3:8 (ESV)

7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:7, 29 (ESV)

          -A reminder of imminent judgment

9 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Luke 3:9 (ESV)

48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ Mark 9:48 (ESV)

2. A True Picture of Repentance

          -The fruit of repentance for the crowd

10 And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?”
11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Luke 3:10-11 (ESV)

13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. Matthew 9:13 (ESV)

          -The fruit of repentance for tax collectors

12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Luke 3:12-13 (ESV)

8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” Luke 19:8 (ESV)

          -The fruit of repentance for soldiers

14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14 (ESV)

God's Purpose for John the Baptist's Ministry: Luke 3:1-6

God’s Purpose for John the Baptist’s Ministry

1. God’s purpose for John’s ministry in a dark world
1  In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas . . . Luke 3:1-2 (ESV)

John’s ministry was inserted into a complex political situation.

2. God’s purpose for John’s ministry through his message
2   . . . the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3  And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:2-3 (ESV)

The specific use of “word” (rhema) infers a particular message of God rather than the entire scope of the message. (logos)

Repentance produces a life lived with a sense of responsibility before a sovereign God. It is an internal attitude that aims at a product. (Darrell Bock)

Forgiveness comes to those who acknowledge and turn from their sins in repentance.

6  “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7  let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV)

16  John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Luke 3:16 (ESV)

4  And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” Acts 19:4 (ESV)

3. God’s purpose for John’s ministry as fulfilled prophecy
4  As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
5  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways,
6  and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” Luke 3:4-6 (ESV)

John’s ministry is a fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3-5:

3  A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5 (ESV)

The highway that clears the way for God is a purified heart.

The highway refers to a means of access to God and His city is found in Isaiah 57:14 and 62:10. (Bock) Isaiah 57:14-15

The Boy Wonder: Luke 2:39-52

The Boy Wonder


1. The childhood growth before Jesus’ first Passover

39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. Luke 2:39-40 (ESV)


2. The background of Jesus’ first Passover
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. Luke 2:41-42 (ESV)


Jesus trip at twelve was significant because in another year, as a thirteen-year-old, Jesus would officially become a "son of the commandment," a full member of the synagogue (cf. Mishnah, Niddah5:6), similar to the modern custom of bar mitzvah


3. The problem after Jesus’ first Passover
43  And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44  but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45  and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.Luke 2:43-45 (ESV)


4. The knowledge of Jesus at the time of His first Passover
46  After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47  And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.Luke 2:46-47 (ESV)


5. The parent’s distress in Jesus’ first Passover

48  And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”Luke 2:48 (ESV)


Mary wanted to know why Jesus did such a “seemingly” insensitive thing, which prepares for Jesus to reveal His identityand the fact that His parents must come to understandHis mission.

Kent Hughes: The point is, he (Jesus) was capable of unknowinglycausing his parents distress; but as a sinless being, he was incapable of knowinglydoing it. 

6. The insight of His mission at the time of Jesus’ first Passover
49  And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”50  And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51  And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.Luke 2:49-51 (ESV)John 5:17-18 (ESV)


Jesus’ response is not so much a reproach about having right priorities as it was a declaration of His mission.


7. The adulthood growth after Jesus’ first Passover
52  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.Luke 2:52 (ESV)


Rod Matoon: Jesus grew mentally(wisdom). As a human, there were things He needed to learn. He matured physically(stature), spiritually(favor with God), and socially(favor with men). 

Nunc Dimittis ([You] Now Dismiss) . . . Simeon's Song

Nunc Dimittis([You] now dismiss)

Luke 2:25-35


1. The Praise of God’s Faithfulness
29  “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; Luke 2:29 (ESV)


Now may release (or depart): expresses a servant’s release from a task.


2. The Salvation of God’s People
30  for my eyes have seen your salvation 31  that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32  a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 33  And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. Luke 2:30-33 (ESV)


A strong tie exists between salvation and the one who personifiesit. 


Light and glory should be seen in parallelas descriptive of the salvation found in 2:30. (Isaiah 60:1-3)


Jesus as light brings salvation to all humanity, illuminatingthem into God’s way.


Through Jesus as the light, attention of all people is drawnto Israel (Is 49:6).

6  he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6 (ESV);Ephesians 2:14; Isaiah 42:6;

Isaiah 52:10.

1  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORDhas risen upon you. 2  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but theLORDwill arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3  And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3 (ESV)


3. The Division that God Brings

34  And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 
35  (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”Luke 2:34-35 (ESV)

51  Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.Luke 12:51 (ESV)

Jesus exposeswhat is really in our hearts. 

15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.” Isaiah 8:14-15 (ESV)

16  therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,a stone, a tested stone,a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’Isaiah 28:16 (ESV)


Isaiah 8 and 28 connect the Messiah with the personificationof God’s deliverance and the agentof His justice. 1 Peter 2:7-8.


Sign to be opposed: means to speak against,reject, to deny, or to contradict. Matthew 12:48-50 

The Remnant

The Remnant Luke 2: 21-38


1. The Dedication of Jesus
22  And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23  (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24  and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:22-24 (ESV)

4  But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,Galatians 4:4 (ESV)

Similar to Jesus’ baptism, He was circumcised to fulfill all righteousness as God commanded it; and though he was not conceived in original sin, Jesus came to identifywith sinful humanity as its sacrifice. Matthew 1:21 

2. The Dedication of Simeon
25  Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27  And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28  he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, Luke 2:25-28 (ESV)


Devoutrefers to a sensitive God-fearer or faithful law abider.


“The consolationof Israel” means messianic hope.

1  Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.Isaiah 40:1 (ESV)Isaiah 49:8-13; Isaiah 51:3-12; Isaiah 52:9; Isaiah 54:11; Isaiah 57:18. 

1  The Spirit of the Lord GODis upon me,because the LORDhas anointed meto bring good news to the poor;he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim liberty to the captives,and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)

10  “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her;rejoice with her in joy,all you who mourn over her;11  that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast;that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.”12  For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.13  As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.Isaiah 66:10-13 (ESV)


Simeon was a man who was ledby the Spirit of God, taughtby the Word of God, and obedientto the will of God.


3. The Dedication of Anna
36  And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37  and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 
38  And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.Luke 2:36-38 (ESV)


In the events that surround both that statements of Simeon and Anna, there is a hint of the remnantconcept: found in those who wait.

The Shepherd's Story

April 7, 2019

The Shepherd’s Story Luke 2: 8-20


1. The Presence in the Shepherd Story

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 
9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. Luke 2:8-9 (ESV)


These were probably nomadic shepherdswho were disconnected from the community for long periods. 


2. The Proclamation in the Shepherd Story
10  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.Luke 2:10 (ESV)


The purpose of the angelic visit is to bring good news, so one could say that this was the gospel according to the angel.


3. The Person in the Shepherd Story
11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”Luke 2:11-12 (ESV)


Jesus would be called Savior, for He would deliverHis people from their sin.

21  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”Matthew 1:21 (ESV)


4. The Praise in the Shepherd Story
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:13-14 (ESV)


The Jewish word (shalom) for peacemeans much more than truce in the battles of life. It means well-being, health, prosperity, security, soundness, and completeness.

7  when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 

Job 38:7 (ESV)


20  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:20 (ESV)


5. The Pursuit in the Shepherd Story

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:15-20 (ESV)


Halford Luccock called the Shepherds trip to Bethlehem “the first Christmas Rush

The Birth of Jesus

The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-7)


1. The World Setting as relates to Christ’s birth
1  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3  And all went to be registered, each to his own town. Luke 2:1-3 (ESV)

 God providentially moved the heart of the most powerful human ruler to accomplish His divine purposes.

 2. The National Setting as relates to Christ’s birth
4  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Luke 2:4-5 (ESV)

 God’s purposes were to bring Mary and Joseph to the town in which Jesus was prophesied to be born.

2   But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2 (ESV)

 3. The Personal Setting as relates to Christ’s birth
6  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
7  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7 (ESV)

 Kenneth Bailey: despite improvised arrangements, Middle Eastern hospitality, then as now, would have ensured that Mary, Joseph and Jesus were properly cared for.

22   . . . ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, Exodus 4:22 (ESV)

  6  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:6-7 (ESV)

God purposed that Jesus’ birth would reflect the service of His life and ministry.

The Benedictus: Luke 1:67-80

67  And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, Luke 1:67 (ESV)

 1. Praise to God for the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant
68  “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69  and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70  as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71  that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72  to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, Luke 1:68-72 (ESV)

 Benedictus comes from the Latin word for “blessed.”

2 Samuel 7:11-13 (ESV)

 The metaphor for horn represents strength or power.

 2. Praise to God for the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant
73  the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74  that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75  in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. Luke 1:73-75 (ESV)

 The referral to Abraham reveals that God is faithful to His original commitments.

 God saves us so that we might serve Him with our entire being.

 3. Praise to God for John
76  And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,77  to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins . . . 80  And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel. Luke 1:76-77; 80 (ESV)

 Forgiveness of sins is a precondition for salvation as it relates to peace with God.

 4. Praise to God for “the rising sun”
78  because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79  to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79 (ESV)

1  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3  And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3 (ESV); Jeremiah 31:31-34; Malachi 4:1-6

 Darkness often symbolized intellectual ignorance and error (Eph 4:18), along with the immorality of sin as it relates to the world and the realm of Satan (Col 1:13).

17  and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:17 (ESV)

The Birth of John the Baptist

The Birth of John the Baptist: Luke 1:56-57

 1. God’s Promise is Veracious

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. 57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. Luke 1:56-58 (ESV

 God’s promises are veracious, or true, which means they will most certainly come to pass.

56 “Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. 1 Kings 8:56 (ESV)

7  The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;

Psalm 111:7 (ESV)

 The birth of John the Baptist removed the awful stigma that overcast Elizabeth’s life, and her neighbors and family rejoiced with her in God’s great mercy.

 2. God’s Purpose is Gracious

59  And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60  but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61  And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62  And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63  And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. Luke 1:59-63 (ESV)

 The name “John” means “God is gracious.” and that concept paired with the meaning of Elizabeth’s name “my God has sworn” and Zacharias’ name “God remembers” speaks to the faithfulness of God’s gracious purposes.

 Elizabeth showed great obedience under peer pressure in insisting that the name of the child be John, as was directed by the angel.

22  And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (ESV)

 3. God’s Power is Wondrous
64  And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65  And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66  and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:64-66 (ESV)

 The word “immediately” reflects the power of God displayed in relation to the faith of Zachariah.

 The neighbors responded to the power of God with fear when they realized that God had worked in their midst.

 The purpose of these miraculous events led to the question “What then will this child be?” a question that anticipates his role as herald and preparer for the Messiah.

14  Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:14 (ESV)