Today we are going to take a look at the life of John the Baptist. His parents, his ministry. And a bit of his eccentricities And we're going to do it a little differently, we're going to read through the passage of Luke.
And let it unfold as a "seven act play"
Before the opening scene, I want us to use our imagination. So I'd like to paint if you will the background of the set.. We start with John's parents. His father Zachariah, and his mother Elizabeth. it's in the hill country of Judah. The people of Israel are waiting, and expecting their messiah anytime.
Luke is the one who has undertaken to compile or take in account all that is going on. He is a doctor and he is investigating all these claims.
Vs 5 of Ch 1
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest name Zachariah, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
Now let's stop there, ... We can quickly read over that one little line. Of the daughters of Aaron. What we have here is the priestly line, they were direct descendants of the priestly line since the time of Moses.
They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 but they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced years.
Now let's stop here,.... As we read on, I want us all to look for the miracles that are happening as the rest of scripture unfolds. And it's very much like Abraham and Sarah. God is about to do something special, He is implicating Himself in the affairs of mankind.
Act one scene one
Vs 8 , Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 8 . according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.. 10, and the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 , And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the alter of incense. l 2 , Zachariah was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.
Zachariah is at the temple doing his duties. He is a righteous man, but we have to realize, we look at the Bible now we see all the stories of angels, we tell each other these stories of Christmas what not, and we have a nostalgic, yet somewhat separated romantic , beautiful view of it. Our angels are usually kids with towels on their heads acting in plays and being cute and cuddly and harmless.
But for Zachariah, this was real, and it was terrifying. It's not every day that an angel appears to people! And I can pretty much guarantee, we would all have the same reaction if we had that encounter.
Let's continue on.
Vs 13 But The angel said to him, do not be afraid, Zachariah for your petition has been hurt, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14 You Will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet and his mothers womb..
Stop! Mark that in your memory.
Filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mothers womb...
16. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17. It is he who will go as a forerunner before him in the spirit and the power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and disobedient to the attitudes of the righteous so as to make ready to people prepared for the Lord.
Vs 18. Zachariah said to the angel, how will I know this for certain? For I am an Old man and my wife is advanced in years.
Stop! Can't you feel for Zacharias? I sure can... Here's where he stumbled, he's afraid and he began to doubt and question the messenger, question the possibility. Not trust.
Lessons to be learned?
Fear and doubt and and and trusting heart can plague us. And they can hold back the blessings that God has for us.
19 . And the angel answered and said to him, I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20. And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in there proper time. 21. The people were waiting for Zachariah's, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22. When he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple, and he kept making signs to them and remained mute.
Fast forward, verse 36. We are purposely gloss over there foretelling of the birth of Jesus to Mary. Because this is about John, it's about the one that will point the way to Jesus. And tell the people. People get ready.
So basically it's The angel Gabriel again. Appeared to Mary and telling her about her Son. And the virgin birth, yet Another miracle. God is doing something, He is implicating himself in the affairs of men, implicating himself in the person of Jesus in a real historical context.
Then we have the Angel appearing to Mary
And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also can see the sun in our old age and she who is called Baron is now in our six month 37 for nothing will be impossible with God. 38.And Mary said, behold the bond slave of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word and to the Angel departed from her.
In contrast, rather than Mary being full of fear doubt and disbelief She is excepting, and trusting. She still had questions , How can that be when I know you're man'?
Mary visits Elizabeth, pay attention to the subtle miracles.
39. Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to the city of Judah, 40 and entered the house and Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary is greeting, the baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Stop, notice how Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
Let's continue on and again Pay attention to the subtleties.
42 and she cried out with a loud voice and said, "blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 and how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me
Stop and think mother of my Lord?
57 . Now the time is come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to her son. 58 her neighbours and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed his great mercy toward her, and they were rejoicing with her. 59 and it happened on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. 60 but his mother answered and said, no indeed but he shall be called John. 61 and they said to her, there is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.. 62. And they made signs to his father, as to why he wanted him called. 63 and asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, "his name is John." And they were all astonished. 64 And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God. 65
Notice their reaction
Fear came on all those living around them, and all these matters were being talked about and all the hill country of Judea. 66 all who heard them kept them in mind, saying, what then will this child turn out to be? For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
67 and his father Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied saying. 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited us and accomplished redemption for his people. 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant. 70 As He spoke by the mouth of His Holy prophets from of old. 71 . Salvation from our enemies, and from the hands of all who hate us. 72 to show mercy towards our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant. 73 . The oath which he swore to Abraham our father, 74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear. 75. In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. 76 . And you, child, will be called the prophet of the most high. Or you will go on before the Lord prepare his ways. 77 . To give his people the knowledge of salvation buy the forgiveness of their sins. 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the sunrise from on high will visit us, 79 to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
John grew up???, became strong and,??? Huh,???
80 . And the child continue to grow and become strong in spirit, and he lived in the desert until the day of is public appearance to Israel...
Scene 6 .. Fast forward 30 years
Chapter 3 , Vs 7-9 . So we began saying to the crowd who were going out to be baptized by him, " you brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
Stop! Why is John talking like that? You're not gonna win many converts speaking like that!
Matthew chapter 3 vs 7 clarifies who we was speaking to. That is the Pharisees, the religious leaders that were looking to stifle, and stop any opposition.
So just to clarify, John grows up become strong and full of the Holy Spirit. And then he moves out to the desert, dresses and camels here tunic and eats grasshoppers.... huh?
That was me I'd be saying, not exactly what I signed up for
Vs 8 . Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourself, "we have Abraham for our father,' . For I say to you that from the stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 9 .indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
Then in verse 10 to 14 John gives them the To do and the Not a lot to do list...
Into crowds were questioning him, saying, and what shall we do?. 11 and he answered and said to Them, the man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and he has food is to do likewise. 12 and some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, teacher what shall we do? 13 and he said to them, collect no more than what you have been ordered to. 14 some soldiers were questioning him, saying, and what about us? What shall we do? And he answered them, do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages..
Then people begin to question him if he was the Messiah.
15 now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ. 16 . John answered and said to them all, as for me, I baptize you with water, but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the throng of his sandals, He Will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Then we see the Christ coming to John the Baptist to be baptized. Verse 21 and 22
Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized and while He was praying Heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in. bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, You are My beloved Son, in You 1 am well-pleased..
John points to Jesus messiah king of kings lord of lords
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
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