This message was preached by Colin DCruz via zoom at Word Of Grace Church on December 6th 2020. for the audio please click here. TO listen to the worship please click here
Sometimes we get so used to celebrating Christmas that we lose the meaning of Jesus’s birth. Today, we are going to look at Luke chapter 1.
Before that let’s look at Galatians
Galatians 4:4 - But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
What is the fullness of time?
There are certain things that were needed to be fulfilled.
Isaiah 40:3 - A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
The prophetic word of somebody coming before Jesus was fulfilled by John the Baptist.
Who’s the greatest? John the Baptist? Moses? Or Elijah?
Matt 11:11 - 11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
So, today, if you are a follower of Christ, then you are greater than John the Baptist.
This Christmas, let us rejoice in everything that God has for us in store. We are great not because of anything that we have done but because of God’s love.
Luke 1:5-7 - 5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
These verses say that there was a priest names Zecharaiah and he belonged to the priestly division. What does that mean?
Zecharaiah was a descendent of Levi tribe. The Levis were chosen to be priests. Those days God’s presence was in the holiest of the holies. Not every priest was allowed to go inside. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the inner most court.
In the passage, we see that Zechariah was a priest and his wife was Elizabeth. Both of them observed all God’s decrees blamelessly. But there was one problem. Elizabeth was barren and also old in her age. Those days, being barren was considered as a curse.
Luke 1:9-9 - 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
Here, we see that Zecharaiah was on duty as a priest before God.
To be chosen to go inside and light the incense is a great honor and that opportunity comes only once a year, that too by casting lots. Some would have never gotten a chance to enter God’s presence and burn the incense.
With Jesus and His sacrifice, we can go into the holiest of the holies. Even the gentiles have a chance to enter God’s presence, approach boldly God’s throne to receive His grace and mercy.
We don’t have a temple. We are God’s temple. Are you serving God is any way? Zecharaiah, descendant of Levi tribe, got this privilege to serve God. Others from other tribes didn’t have that privilege.
When we used to meet as a church at Ashirwad Hall, there were different teams serving in different areas. For example, the Setup team. They are there every Sunday morning, setting up things, cleaning, arranging etc. They recognize the temple of God and that’s how they served.
Even now, as we meet online, there are different people working behind every Sunday Meeting.
So, do you want to serve? If yes, speak to me.
Luke 1:11 - 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense
This is very significant.
Firstly, the angels are not small naked babies with wings. Angels are mighty. Every time an angel appeared to someone, they got scared and thus the angel said “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid”
The angel God placed at the entrance of the garden of Eden had a sword in is hand.
Secondly, an angel appeared for the first time after 400 years.
If we actually go through the Bible, we see 2 periods of 400 years of silence.
1st – The end of Genesis and beginning of Exodus.
2nd – After Malachi, 400 years passed away, and an angel appeared to Zecharaiah
For our personal application –
Let us ask ourselves – Are we hearing from God daily? It may not be angelic. But we hear him through His Word. We read His Word and ask Him to speak to us. Let’s be a people of Word.
Col 3:16 - 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
We have GYMs, Videos, Audios etc. Let’s make use of all these resources.
Luke 1:13 - 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John
From this verse, we understand that Zecharaiah and Elizabeth had been praying for a child especially a son so that he could pass on the priesthood. God steps in, angel appears and thus their prayer was answered.
We know that God is good. We put our trust in Him. We know that He works everything for our good in His perfect time. Even if we don’t see an answer, we need to continue praying faithfully and fervently. Whatever the prayer is, don’t give up. Continue to pray, continue to declare God’s promises and hold onto to God.
John means gracious gift.
Luke 1:14 - 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,
Luke 1:16 - 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
Mal 4:5 - 5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.
So, after 400 years, the prophesy came true.
John is special –
1. God supernaturally healed Elizabeth and answered her prayer
2. John was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in his mother’s womb
Luke 1:41 - 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
What an amazing calling upon John! He had a very limited time to prepare the way for Jesus.
We need to be a channel for people so that they’d know Jesus. Pray for them. As John the Baptist had his ministry, we have our ministry to do too. It is to pray for people who are yet to be saved., share the gospel with them. The true meaning of Christmas is gospel but not just the decorations.
Luke 1:18-20 - 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
For us, we can get depressed looking at the things that are going bad. God wants us to look to His Word. Continue to confess and declare the Word of God. Whenever you get doubt or thoughts of despair, we have a privilege which the Old Testament people didn’t have. So, let’s get a hold of the GYMs, worship evenings, Men’s prayer etc. Whatever be your prayer, confess it, declare it and hold onto it.
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