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Friday, December 20, 2019

2019.12.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 1:5-25

Questions from the Scripture text: What time period is it in Luke 1:5? To whom does Luke 1:5-7 introduce us? What are they like? What is their difficulty? What does he get the opportunity to do in Luke 1:8-10? Who appears to Zacharias, and how does he respond (Luke 1:11-12)? What does the angel tell him (Luke 1:13-14)? What will be some unusual things about this son (Luke 1:15)? What will the Lord use John to do (Luke 1:16)? Before whom will John go (Luke 1:16b-Luke 1:17a)? What effect will John’s ministry have (Luke 1:17)? What does Zacharias ask in Luke 1:18? What does the angel’s response in Luke 1:19-20 reveal about the spirit of Zacharias’s question? What did the people outside find unusual about Zacharias’s time in the temple (Luke 1:21-22)? What happens after this (Luke 1:23-24)? What does Elizabeth do (Luke 1:24-25)?
The Lord has given to the barren. This was true of Abraham and Sarah. This is true of Zacharias and Elizabeth. This is true of all who are redeemed in Christ (cf. Isaiah 54:1). In Luke 1:24, Gabriel draws an analogy between what God is doing for the elderly couple specifically and what God is doing for “many” more generally. How will this happen? Because the Holy Spirit will be using John to “turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God” (Luke 1:16).

It’s at this point that Gabriel drops a huge hint about who Jesus is: this John is going to go before Him—in context, the “Him” is the Lord, the God of Israel! Jesus is Yahweh!

So, what exactly is baby John going to grow up to do? John’s ministry is going to be one of preparing the way for Jesus, and the angel tells Zacharias that this happens by “making ready a people prepared for the Lord.” We know that John preached repentance of all sorts (cf. 3:10-14), but here the focus is especially on that repentance that Malachi had predicted (cf. Malachi 3:1Malachi 4:5-6).

Lack of love between fathers and their children is an especially grievous sin before God, who created this relationship to show something about His own relationships both within the Godhead (the Father and the Son) and toward His people (whom He adopts in Christ). One of the key parts of the repentance that John will preach will be the reformation and revival of this relationship (Luke 1:17).

How desperately we need this work of the Holy Spirit to change our hearts about everything! We’re so much like Zacharias—hearts so hard with doubt that we can go from being terrified of the angel to arguing against his words.

But this is our reproach. That we are so spiritually barren. So wicked before God. So unbelieving of His gracious Word. So God sends that Word out in front of the Lord Jesus, preparing our hearts by the Holy Spirit’s powerfully using the preaching of His Word. And He grants unto us a repentance that prepares the way for Jesus—that we might recognize and rest upon the Lord Himself who became a man to save us!
From what sins in your life is the Holy Spirit turning you, to trust in Jesus to save you?
Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH180 “Kind and Merciful God”

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