Jesus' Birth (1)

  • We are close enough to December 25th for this teaching to be posted. There have been many that have already told this story concerning Jesus’ birth. It is not anything new to have several messages about this. Luke begins his story by mentioning that his is simply another account of what he recollects.

    I chose to use his writings and then fill in around it with the accounts of the other disciples that had input into this familiar, single most majestic, powerful, unmatchable event of all times.

    This is not a debate about whether or not December 25th is the exact birth date of Jesus, because that’s not what’s important to this awesome event. It’s also the reason I didn’t call this the Christmas story. The date is simply a time when man decided to formally celebrate His birth. We ought to be celebrating each and every day that He was born, died, rose again and is coming again.

    People are not saved by someone proving to them that December 25th could not be the date that Jesus was born. They are saved by the truth that He was born, died, went to the grave and rose again for our salvation and deliverance from all bondage.

    There are enough studies, by the so-called theological calendrical experts who are in bondage to vain disputations about facts that have nothing to do with the gospel of the Kingdom. Besides, when the facts meet the Truth, the facts have to go. So let’s move on to the story. Here it is in the Easy To Read Version.

    Luke 1:1-38.

    1 Most Honorable Theophilus: Many others have tried to give a report of the things that happened among us to complete God’s plan. What they have written agrees with what we learned from the people who saw those events from the beginning. They also served God by telling people his message. I studied it all carefully from the beginning. Then I decided to write it down for you in an organized way. I did this so that you can be sure that what you have been taught is true.

    Did you catch all that Luke said in those first four verses? He said, several other people have already written accounts of what God has been bringing to completion among us. They are using the reports of the original eyewitnesses. These are people who were there from the start to witness the fulfillment of prophecy.

    Then Luke says that just like those other servants who have recorded the messages, he’s giving us his carefully researched, orderly account. It’s at that point in verse 4 he says he wants us to know we can fully rely on the things we have been taught about Jesus, God’s Anointed One.

    Why is it that people will not fully rely on the “things” they are taught about Jesus. The answer….Because many have distorted the truth about Truth (Jesus). They do this based on wrong believing, false teachings, and opinionated pride. Throw in the traditions of men and religious legalism and you have people trying to tell you what they think Jesus said, rather than just teaching what Jesus said.

    Okay. Luke moves on, but informs us that before we can understand the life of Jesus, we first need some background history. Some details about events that occurred when Herod ruled Judea for the Roman Empire. 

    During the time when Herod ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah. He belonged to Abijah’s group. His wife came from the family of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Zechariah and Elizabeth were both good people who pleased God. They did everything the Lord commanded, always following his instructions completely.

    These were good godly people. They walked in integrity. Now there’s a word (integrity) that is solely missing from church folks today. I have maintained for years that this is the big “I” that ought to be a part of those who call themselves Christians. Instead it’s been replaced by the “I this” and “I that” crowd.

    But they had no children. Elizabeth could not have a baby, and both of them were very old.

    If you just study this verse for a moment and wonder about it. That is to say meditate, you will conclude that there was sadness in their lives due to her inability to have children. By now she’s well past childbearing years.

    Zechariah was serving as a priest before God for his group. It was his group’s time to serve. The priests always chose one priest to offer the incense, and Zechariah was the one chosen this time. So he went into the Temple of the Lord to offer the incense. 10 There was a large crowd outside praying at the time the incense was offered. 11 Then, on the right side of the incense table, an angel of the Lord came and stood before Zechariah. 

    Zechariah was chosen at this time to perform some priestly duties. This was a great honor. All of a sudden, he realized he was not alone in the sacred temple. He realized a messenger of the Lord was with him.

    12 When he saw the angel, Zechariah was upset and very afraid.

    Why was he upset? Because he was a priest working in the temple. In those days, priests didn’t normally hear from God. Unlike today where we can come boldly to the throne of grace and speak directly to God. Also, God speaks directly to us, but like in his day, many believe only the preacher or minister hears from God. We think those who hear from God are called prophets.

    In Zechariah’s day, one becomes a priest by being born in a priestly family line. Prophets, on the other hand, arise unpredictably and have no special credentials except the message they carry. So he has no reason to believe his duties will be interrupted in this way.

    There truly is nothing new under heaven. Even today, as in biblical stories, when people receive a message from God, they start asking questions. That is after they get over the initial shock. They push back; they doubt.

    13 But the angel said to him, “Zechariah, don’t be afraid. Your prayer has been heard by God. Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a baby boy, and you will name him John. 14 You will be very happy, and many others will share your joy over his birth.

    This further confirms the statement above that is made concerning Zechariah and Elizabeth’s sadness. Remember in verse 7 it said they had no children. Elizabeth could not have a baby, and both of them were very old. The comment made was if you study that verse you would conclude they were very sad. Here in this verse, it says they will be very happy.

    15 He will be a great man for the Lord. He will never drink wine or beer. Even before he is born, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

    He will never drink wine and beer. It doesn’t say no one should drink wine and beer. We’ll leave that for another truth teaching.

    16 “John will help many people of Israel return to the Lord their God. 17 John himself will go ahead of the Lord and make people ready for his coming. He will be powerful like Elijah and will have the same spirit. He will make peace between fathers and their children. He will cause people who are not obeying God to change and start thinking the way they should.”

    Just look at the immensity of the statements made here. Many times we get a prophetic word for someone that is so out there that we question it or don’t give it to that person. After all, how could it possibly be from the Lord. It’s just something that popped into my head. In the words of my wife, “we take way too much credit for our own thoughts”. The same thing happens when we get a powerful prophetic word from someone. We just can’t receive it and doubt sets in. Well, you are no different than Zechariah.

    18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know that what you say is true? I am an old man, and my wife is also old.”

    Basically he is saying, “I am an old man. How can this possible be from the Lord? How can it be even close to being true?”

    19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, the one who always stands ready before God. He sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. 20 Now, listen! You will not be able to talk until the day when these things happen. You will lose your speech because you did not believe what I told you. But everything I said will really happen.”

    Wow. The angel says “I am Gabriel who inhabits God’s presence and you don’t believe me?” Okay, well you will lose your speech as a result until such time as you experience the fulfillment of my words”. Now our consequences for not receiving powerful revelation from God is not so severe, but just as inhibiting. Without the revelation of the great grace of God, you will continue to walk out your Christian life with less than the fullness of all that God is trying to get to you. This is as if Zechariah was a shadow of Thomas, the doubting disciple who would not believe until he could see the holes in Jesus’ hands.

    21 Outside, the people were still waiting for Zechariah. They were surprised that he was staying so long in the Temple. 22 Then Zechariah came outside, but he could not speak to them. So the people knew that he had seen a vision inside the Temple. He was not able to speak, so he could only make signs to the people. 23 When his time of service was finished, he went home. 24 Later, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth became pregnant. So she did not go out of her house for five months. She said, 25 “Look what the Lord has done for me! He decided to help me. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me.” 26-27 During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary.

    Here the angel comes again. Gabriel once again is sent on a prophetic mission to bring the supernatural Word of the Lord to a little teenage Jewish girl. Play close attention to how she reacts in comparison to Zechariah.

    28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord is with you; you are very special to him.” 29 But Mary was very confused about what the angel said. She wondered, “What does this mean?” 30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. 31 Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. 33 He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen? I am still a virgin.” 35 The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High God will cover you. The baby will be holy and will be called the Son of God.” 36 And here’s something else: Your relative Elizabeth is pregnant. She is very old, but she is going to have a son. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant now for six months. 37 God can do anything!” 38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let this thing you have said happen to me!” Then the angel went away.

    Notice the difference. Mary was very inquisitive and wondered about this thing the Angel was telling her, but she did what Bill Johnson so often says we ought to do. That being, “give up your right to understand”. Experiencing something brings full understanding.

    Have to stop right here, but don't lose the impact of this story and the two different reactions from Zechariah and Mary to the prophetic words given them by the Lord through Gabriel. There's much more here and we will study that in part 2. Grace and Peace