Friday, December 17, 2010

Front Row Seat - December 17, 2010

Luke 1:1-4 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

How do we know what we believe in is true? How is the Christmas story and the events surrounding it still as new 2016 years later as it was on the night it occurred? We have Dr. Luke to thank for that. He had a front row seat to many of the occurrences in the book he authored, and those he did not witness, he had the benefit of interviewing those who were eye witnesses.

Imagine being able to have conversations with Mary the mother of Jesus and the rest of her family members. Wouldn't have been great to follow in the footsteps of John the Baptist, the apostles and Jesus. Many of these stories happened to important people, such as was the case with Zechariah, who as a temple priest had access to the "Holy of Holies", and was considered to be very righteous and trustworthy. So when he related the events surrounding the birth of his son, his word was accepted as being factual.

As a physician Luke was of the mindset that what he would detail for readers needed to be as accurate and truthful as possible. In an effort to do so, he must have spent many days and hours with those whose stories he chronicled. Being a Gentile, he sought to write what would appeal to both Gentiles and Jews, and wanted to be sure he dispelled much of the error about Jesus that were circulating during his time. Since he interviewed direct eyewitnesses, we can be sure that he wrote what was true.

Luke 1:5-25 (New International Version, ©2010)
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.

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. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 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. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

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.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Follow me on my Advent journey as I travel the path that God has prepared for us back to Himself. Follow the path of "the coming" of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

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