Saturday, December 4, 2021

Prepare Ye The Way

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Christmas is the time of year when children’s eyes get wide in anticipation of Santa and gifts around the tree. Much of our culture has devalued Jesus’ birth to that degree. It is human nature to celebrate the birth of children. We see it a little bit in Genesis 4:1 as Eve declares, “I have gotten a man from the Lord,” when Cain was born. The excitement must have been palpable, there had never before been a human birth!

But we should keep in mind that Adam’s children were not born until after his disobedience and fall from grace. Eve’s words are striking, with the emphasis on “I have gotten a man from the Lord." No longer were Adam and Eve’s hearts focused on others, for after the fall came their focus on “self. " That was the temptation Satan presented to Eve in Genesis 3:5, “...your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Thus, Satan had launched his evil plan to corrupt all godly things, including God’s plan of Salvation, and His original design for the hearts of mankind.


The Word of God was clear: His promises of a Redeemer would be fulfilled, and it was every Jewish girl's prayer that she might be the one chosen to bring God’s Redeemer (Genesis 3:15) into the world, that He might turn the hearts of mankind back to being “oriented towards others.”

Malachi 4:5&6– “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day* of the Lord: And He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the Earth with a curse.”

With today’s reading in Isaiah 40:1-5 and with Isaiah 7:14, a young virgin’s heart was turned to God and the Child she was chosen to bear. Her humble prayer (The Magnificat) is recorded in Luke 1:46-55 as evidence of God’s ability to change hearts.

So, as we enter this humble time of year, the celebrations of Believers should be for the changed hearts of fathers, mothers, and children as we look to the Father of all for what He has gifted to us:
“For unto us, a child is born, unto us a Son is given: ~ Isaiah 9:6(a)

Today's Audio Message:
Luke 1:1-25 - "Prepare Ye The Way"

As we enter the Christmas season, we are taking a break from our in-depth study in the Gospel of Matthew to focus on the reason we celebrate. It is ALL about Jesus. The fulfillment of the promise of His coming. Jesus our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord and King.  We will resume our ongoing study in Matthew's Gospel after the holidays.

This morning we will be studying the first chapter of Luke.  Luke was a physician and companion of Paul who traveled alongside on many of his journeys. As he was a doctor his attention to detail is shown through the two letters he wrote, which became part of the New Testament as he reflects upon the history and life of Jesus the Christ.

In Luke’s writing of the gospel of Jesus Christ, he details the account of divine intervention in human history. He endeavors to write an “orderly account” of the events surrounding Jesus so that “the full truth about everything which you have been taught” would be known. God is faithful to His promises and will fulfill every detail according to His plan and purposes.

Luke is a careful historian who understands the importance of His writings, the critical importance of an accurate, truthful, and factual account in order to assure his readers that Jesus is not just another human story.  Jesus is not a cultural myth.  He is not a fantasy. The story of Jesus is the revelation of the God of the universe that would become human flesh and dwell amongst us. It is the story of how God works through the events of history, through ordinary people to bring about His plan of redemption.

After years of prophetic silence, God is supernaturally acting in ways that the world has never seen. He is breaking His silence. He sends His messenger, an angel of the Lord, to announce a birth.  It is the miraculous birth of a son to a faithful couple, an elderly couple.  A couple praying for a child in spite of years of barrenness.  
What seems impossible to man is absolutely possible for God. It is interesting that the name Zecharias actually means, “The Lord remembers,” or The Lord watches over you.” Elisabeth means “My God is an oath,” or “My God is faithful,” or, if you like, “My God keeps his promises.” They would see the fulfillment of prophecies of old (Isaiah 40:1-5; Malachi 4:5,6). 

Who were this couple? They are a picture of true believers. Luke’s beautiful description of them tells us precisely that. We know that Zacharias was a priest, and his wife Elisabeth was the daughter of a priest. More importantly we know they were committed to God. They were righteous before God, serving Him, loving Him, and obeying Him. They walked blameless according to the Levitical law. They were also obscure, humble, common, doubting, fearful and even chastened, just like you and I. God blessed them, and He used them just as He does us.

If you ever doubt God’s promises, His ability, and power, His involvement in the details of our lives, and world events, don’t. God not only knows exactly the who, when, where and how He will fulfill His promises, but He is the One orchestrating the events of history.  He will fulfill every promise, every word because He is faithful and true.  

The announcement illustrates the mystery of God's work throughout history. The events surrounding the birth of Jesus reminds us that the providence of God can be seen at work in ordinary events, both good and bad.

“In the days of Herod, king of Judea...” Herod the Great was a tyrannical, cruel, vindictive maniac of a ruler. His reign was a reign of terror. But there is no darkness that can thwart the work of God.  God brings light to darkness, and He is about to turn on the lights in the most powerful way. The promise of the “voice of one crying in the wilderness” is about to be born, and He will prepare the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.

God has heard the prayers of their hearts, and He answers them in His own way and in His own time.  Oh, what joy that will follow.  A joy not only for these parents, but for the whole world. 

Join us as we study God’s word together.

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