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Longing for a Redeemer

Everyone who was looking for Jesus to come enjoyed His arrival.

Zacharias = God remembers

Elizabeth = God of the oath, God’s oath

Zacharias was listening to God in His word.

Luke is very likely the first Gospel to be written. He picks up on the theme of Malachi 4:5 (““Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. 6“He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”)

“Continental Divide:

A raindrop falling on this side will flow to the Gulf of Mexico, one falling on the other side will flow to the Atlantic.”

Two raindrops can fall just inches apart, and yet arrive at two vastly different destinations.

The Christmas story contains side-by-side stories of several sets of “raindrop like” lives. People, so close in everyday life—yet so far apart in destiny.

How close can you get to Jesus and still be too far away? It is possible to be as close as the characters of Christmas were, and yet miss all that Christ and Christmas have to offer. 

 

As you read the pages of history in God’s word it doesn’t take long to see that sin is the number one cause of man’s woes. The sin of Adam and Eve caused them to become burdened with curses and cast out of the paradise of God. Sin forced the mighty hand of God in the destruction of life in the flood. The nation that sprung from Abraham constantly struggled with the effects of sin. It always caused some form of oppression. The sinful idolatry of Egypt oppressed them. God in mercy delivered them. However, they would continue to slide back into idolatrous behavior, once again sending them back into the oppression of slavery. This was the course of their history (God’s deliverance, idolatry, oppression, desperation, repentance, God’s deliverance).  God always responded in a merciful way to humility, repentance, and faith (See. II Chronicles 7:13-14 - 13“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,   14and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” ). Seeing this history helps us to understand the perspective of the faithful Hebrew people. They were well aware of God’s promises and warnings. They were privy to their own history of disobedience and the oppression that their sin caused. And the faithful remembered God’s mercy and mighty hand when they repented. The faithful realized their own sin and had an attitude of repentance and faith toward God.

In stark contrast there are the Pharisees. Their attitude was one of entitlement. Yet the faithful and the “entitled” coexisted in close proximity. They revered the same God, shared the same history, read and honored the same scripture. The faithful and the self-righteous were so close yet so far away. Hence, It is possible to be as close as the characters of Christmas were, and yet miss all that Christ and Christmas have to offer. 

Turn to Luke 1

Everyone who was looking for Jesus to come enjoyed His arrival.

Zacharias = God remembers

Elizabeth = God of the oath, God’s oath

Zacharias was listening to God in His word.

 

  1. Luke 1:5-20
    1. Zacharias and Elizabeth are walking in the ways of their God fulfilling their calling.
    2. They were righteous in the sight of God.
      1. Not just outwardly. Outward righteousness alone does not equal righteousness before the eyes of God.
    3. An attitude of doubt causes temporal oppression for Zacharias in the form of forced silence. He was muted.
  2. Luke 1:24-25
    1. Notice Elizabeth recognizing God’s favor in her deliverance from disgrace.
  3. Luke 1:41-45
    1. Elizabeth is overwhelmed by the faithfulness of God and encourages the faith of Mary.
  4. Luke 1:67-79
    1. He understands that God’s people need a redeemer and forgiveness of sin.
    2. The mercy of God and forgiveness of sin leads to salvation and deliverance from oppression.
    3. The goal of deliverance is holy and righteous living before God in peace.
    4. Humility, repentance, and faith lead us from darkness into light and death into life.
  5. Reflection
    1. How close are you to Christ?
      1. Does intimacy with Him drive you prayer and meditation each day?
    2. How do you feel about your sin?
      1. Does it humble you to a point that you are amazed at the mercy of God and His generosity toward you?
      2. Do you stay in a state of repentance?       
    3. Does the grace of God astound you?
      1. Who am I and who is my family?