Saturday, December 5, 2020

Of Priests And Kings

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The telling of any true story requires details that can only be known by those that “lived” the story. Luke’s Gospel begins with minute details, and even a salutation for the one to whom he writes this tome.

After introducing the readers to his friend Theophilus, we are then taken back in time a bit in verse 5 of Luke 1, and introduced to Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. The time period is in the days of Herod The Great, King of Judea. And Zacharias, we learn, is a priest “of the course of Abia.”

It would be easy to read right over this last detail and miss the importance of Abia, a Grandson of King Solomon. This verse established Zacharias as being a priest in the Royal Family line. The same verse tells us also of Elizabeth his wife, who was “of the daughters of Aaron.” She is of the Aaronic Line of the Jewish priesthood. Aaron was the brother of Moses; they were born to a Levite man and his wife, Aram and Jochobed, and the Levites were the priestly Tribe of Levi. More Jewish “Royalty” in the Priesthood!

These are details that set the stage, tracing Zacharias’ and Elizabeth’s heritage back to the days of Moses, a Deliverer of the Jews in his own rite. But for Zacharias and Elizabeth, it places them in a difficult time living under a King of Judea that was not even Jewish, but an Idumean, and therefore not a son of Jacob, but a son of Esau.

Further on in Luke, and in Matthew, we are introduced to Mary, a cousin to Elizabeth and her espoused husband Joseph, both of whom trace their family line back to King David. There is enough Royalty in this family’s bloodline to make it a curious thing that their Son Jesus would have such a humble birth.

For criminal actions, we are told to “follow the money.” But for the love of God, we should be following the bloodline of this narrative, from God, to the first Adam, to the Second Adam, and then to those that believe on His name. Follow the details in the story and discover the truth of our Savior and King, Jesus Christ.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be on His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father , The Prince of Peace.” - Isaiah 9:6

Today's Audio Message: "Of Priests And Kings"

As we begin the Christmas Season, we will be looking at Luke’s Gospel for the real reason we celebrate.  There is no greater gift to mankind than the birth of our Savior and Lord. His name is  Jesus.  He is that indescribable gift that God gave to us. He is the Savior who delivers us from sin and death. He is the Messiah who fulfilled the Law and the Prophets.  Jesus, who is fully divine, and the Lord of Heaven, entered our world taking on human flesh.  He is Emmanuel - God is truly with us!

In this first section of chapter one, we read the apostle’s account of the announcement of the miraculous birth of John the Baptist, who would be the forerunner of the promised Messiah (Isaiah 40:3-5).  John was the chosen one to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.  We will learn about his parents, both from a royal and priestly heritage - God did not miss one intricate detail in the fulfillment of prophecy leading to the birth of Christ.

It’s interesting that even the names of John’s parents leave no room for doubt about God’s plan, His promises and His complete ability to fulfill every detail of His word.  Zacharias whose name means ‘God Remembers’, and Elizabeth, whose name means ‘His Oath’.  Together their names mean, ‘God Remembers His Oath’. That oath can be found in Psalm 89:34-37 - God’s promise to King David, that his seed shall endure forever, and the throne of this coming King will be established forever!

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