39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a
town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah's home and
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the
baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed:
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43
But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As
soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped
for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his
promises to her!"
46 And Mary said:
glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state
of his servant.
From now on all
generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great
things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear
from generation to
51 He has performed mighty deeds with
he has scattered
those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from
but has lifted up
53 He has filled the hungry with good
but has sent the
rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be
55 to Abraham and his descendants
just as he promised
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then
The Birth of John
57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to
a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great
mercy, and they shared her joy.
59 On the eighth day they came to
circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father
Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called
61 They said to her, "There is no
one among your relatives who has that name."
62 Then they made signs to his father,
to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing
tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John."
64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to
speak, praising God. 65 The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout
the hill country of Judea people were talking
about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking,
"What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with
67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy
Spirit and prophesied:
68 "Praise be to the Lord, the
God of Israel,
because he has come
to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn of
salvation for us
in the house of his
70 (as he said through his holy
prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of
all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his
73 the oath he swore to our father
74 to rescue us from the hand of our
and to enable us to
serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a
prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on
before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of
forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our
by which the rising
sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in
and in the shadow of
to guide our feet
into the path of peace."
80 And the child grew and became
strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.
Mary traveled about 50-70 miles from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea in order to see her relative Elizabeth (because the angel Gabriel told her that Elizabeth was also pregnant).
In Luke 1:15 we are told that Elizabeth’s baby “will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.” When Mary greeted Elizabeth, her baby leaped.
More than half a year earlier, Gabriel told Zechariah that his son would “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Elizabeth – who was also filled with the Holy Spirit – recognized that the baby in Mary’s womb was the Lord that her son would prepare people for. She even calls Mary’s unborn baby her Lord.
Elizabeth tells Mary that she is blessed to believe God’s promises for her. Mary’s faith seems to be an integral part of her being selected for this most amazing mission – birthing and mothering God.
Mary responds poetically and prophetically. This response is often referred to as a song called The Magnificant, which comes from the first words of the song in Latin ("Magnificat anima mea," which translates, "My soul magnifies...").
This is the longest direct quote from any woman in the New Testament.
This song has about a dozen Old Testament references in it. This clearly indicates that Mary knew the scriptures and had them written on her heart.
This song (which celebrates God’s goodness, faithfulness, and power) can be divided into 2 parts. In verses 46-49 Mary speaks about how God has blessed her. In verse 50-55 she focuses on how God has dealt with Israel and all humanity.
Mary studied Scripture in the sense that she heard it read and explained by rabbis during synagogue services. In her day, young women did not have the same opportunities to study Scripture that young men had.
Mary had arrived when Elizabeth was at least 6 months pregnant (see verse 36). She stays with Elizabeth for 3 more months before returning home. But scripture does not tell us if Mary was present or not when John (the Baptist) was born.
As promised, Elizabeth had a son.
According to custom on the 8th day, the baby would be circumcised and named after his father (Zechariah). But Zechariah and Elizabeth know he is supposed to be named John according to God’s command (see LK 1:13).
Since Zechariah can’t speak, he uses a writing tablet to insist that his son’s name is John. This second chance to believe God’s promise results in Zechariah being able to speak again after at least 9 months of silence. His first words were words praising God.
The buzz about this miraculous birth filled the countryside. People new this baby was given from God, and people wondered what was in store for him.
Zechariah speaks in a poetic and prophetic way similar to Mary’s song.
Zechariah knows and says that his son would announce the coming of the Messiah (v.76). He also announces that salvation will come through forgiveness of sins.
This verse spans about 30 years. Sometime in his life (maybe as a young adult) he moved to the desert (possibly his elderly parents died.) He lived in the desert until he was in his young thirties when he began his public mission of preparing people for the Messiah.
we've covered three lessons (examining the gospel writers, Jesus' preexistence,
and Jesus' genealogy), we are just now starting into the story of Jesus' life.
It begins with a couple of birth announcements (more accurately, conception
announcements). And the first announcement isn't even about Jesus. It's about
his cousin John - now commonly known as John the Baptist.
one very important historical context to keep in mind to fully appreciate the
impact of the story below. It's the fact that God has essentially been silent
for 400 years. It's been four centuries since He has spoken to or through a
prophet announcing what He is going to do. The last thing He said is recorded
in the last book of the Old Testament. He said:
I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the
LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the
hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the
land with a curse" (Malachi 4:5-10)
read the passage.
An Angel Tells Zechariah that He Will Have a Son Who Will Be
a Prophet Like Elijah
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 well advanced in years.
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 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back 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 righteousâto 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
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."
An Angel Tells Mary that She Will Have a Baby (though she is
a virgin), and He Will Be the Son of God
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's
pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth,
a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to
be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was
Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly
favored! The Lord is with you."
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his
words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said
to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You
will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He
will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will
give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of
Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34 "How will this be," Mary
asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel answered, "The Holy
Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So
the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your
relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be
unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever
38 "I am the Lord's
servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me according to your
word." Then the angel left her.
It is approximately 6 B.C. (It can be no later than 4 B.C.
because Herod, also known as Herod I, or Herod the Great, died in 4. B.C.)
We are introduced to a priest named Zechariah and his wife
Elizabeth. They are described as righteous in God's sight, but they have been
infertile and are now elderly (probably well past 60).
Zechariah wins a lottery for priests - he doesn't win
money - he wins the honor of preparing and burning the incense (which
represented people's prayers going up to God) in the temple.
An angel appears; (it even gives a specific detail - at
the right side of the altar). Zechariah is "gripped with fear", and the angel
says what angels usually have to say when they show up "don't be afraid."
Apparently angels don't look like chubby baby cherubs.
The angel says that Zechariah's prayer has been heard. It
seems to be very likely that Zechariah stopped praying that prayer a long
time ago. He probably prayed for it when he and his wife were in there 20's,
30's, and 40's, but he knew that the time for having a baby had passed several
Then angel is very specific in his description of this
The baby will be a boy
Name him John (meaning God is gracious)
He will be a joy to you
Many will rejoice because of his birth because he will be
a great in God's sight
He is never to have any alcohol
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is
He will bring many Jews back to God
And this one is the
biggie - this one
fulfills the 400 year old prophecy: He will appear before the Lord appears, in
the spirit of Elijah, making people ready for the Lord.
Zechariah reveals his doubt about this. He explains to the
angel that he and his wife are too old to reproduce. (Maybe he figures angels
don't know about that stuff.) So Zechariah basically asks for a sign, some
proof, that this will happen.
The angel is a bit put off by Zechariah's skepticism. His
reply is basically saying, "Do you know who you're talking to?" He finally
introduces himself. He says, "I am Gabriel." Then he lists his credentials: He
stands in the presence of God, and he has been sent by God to tell Zechariah
this good news.
Gabriel says to Zechariah, "because you don't believe me,
here's your sign: you will be deaf and mute until what I said would happen
comes about." (It is clear from this passage (v. 20) that Zechariah will be
mute, but not as clear that he will be deaf. The verse says "you will be silent
and not able to speak." What does "you will be silent" mean? It probably means
that he will be deaf (as in "live in silence") because later on (in v. 62)
people use sign language to talk to Zechariah.
After being in the temple unusually long, Zechariah comes
out literally speechless.
Zechariah and Elizabeth go home, and she gets pregnant.
She remains by herself for five months and thanks God for making this happen.
is six months pregnant, God has another assignment for the angel Gabriel. He
doesn't send him to Jerusalem again; instead
Gabriel goes to a small town called Nazareth to appear to a young girl who is engaged to a man named Joseph.
Joseph is a descendant of King David (the Messiah must
come David's lineage).
The girl's name is Mary. Gabriel opens with a warm
greeting; he tells her that she is highly favored and that God is with her.
But Mary is "greatly troubled" by his words. So Gabriel
has to resort to his standard line, "don't be afraid." Then he gives his second
birth (conception) announcement.
She will have a son
His name will be Jesus (meaning God saves)
He will be great
He will be called the Son of God
God will give him the throne of David
His reign and kingdom will never end
Mary asks how this is possible since she is still a
virgin. This is an important verse, because the words used to describe Mary as
a "virgin" can also be translated to mean "young woman" (but not a virgin). But in
this verse she makes it clear she hasn't ever had sex.
Gabriel answers that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her.
He makes it clear that this virginal conception is from God by saying "so the
holy one to be born" (an interesting phrase in itself) "will be called the Son
He then further convinces Mary of God's ability to do this
by informing her that her relative Elizabeth is six months pregnant. He then finishes with this exclamatory statement: "for
no word of God will ever fail."
She must know that what is going to happen to her is going
to throw her world into chaos. The man she loves will think that she was
unfaithful to him. The ramifications were huge: Joseph could break the
engagement, she could be ostracized from her family and friends, and she could
even be put to death. But unlike Zechariah's skepticism, Mary responds with utter
trust. She says that she is God's servant and may what she heard be done to
The angel leaves her and, as far as we know, never appears
to her again.
Last week we looked at Jesus’ divine origin. This
week we are going to examine his human origin. Specifically we will consider
his genealogy which is recorded in Matthew 1:1 and Luke 3:23-38
I have pasted the two genealogical lists side by
side so you can more easily see the similarities and differences in these two
recordings of Jesus’ family tree.
To minimize confusion, notice that Matthew begins
with Abraham and moves forward through history until he comes to Jesus. But
Luke begins with Jesus and moves back through history until he comes to Adam.
1A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of
David, the son of Abraham: 2Abraham was the father of
Isaac the father of
Jacob the father of
Judah and his brothers, 3Judah the
father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of
Hezron the father of
Ram, 4Ram the
father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of
Nahshon the father of
Salmon, 5Salmon the
father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of
Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of
Jesse, 6and Jesse
the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose
mother had been Uriah's wife, 7Solomon the father of
Rehoboam the father of
Abijah the father of
Asa, 8Asa the
father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father
Jehoram the father of
Uzziah, 9Uzziah the
father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of
Ahaz the father of
the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of
Amon the father of
Josiah, 11and Josiah
the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. 12After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father
Shealtiel the father of
the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of
Eliakim the father of
Azor, 14Azor the
father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of
Akim the father of
Eliud, 15Eliud the
father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of
Matthan the father of
Jacob, 16and Jacob
the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is
17Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham
to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the
exile to the Christ.
He [Jesus] was the
son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
the son of Heli, 24the
son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25the son of Mattathias, the
son of Amos,
the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, 26the
son of Maath,
the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,
the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27the son of Joanan, the son
the son of Zerubbabel, the son of
the son of Neri, 28the
son of Melki,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,
the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29the son of Joshua, the son
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, 30the
son of Simeon,
the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31the son of Melea, the son of
the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David, 32the
son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,
the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33the son of Amminadab, the
son of Ram,
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, 34the
son of Jacob,
the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35the son of Serug, the son of
the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, 36the
son of Cainan,
the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37the son of Methuselah, the
son of Enoch,
the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
the son of Kenan, 38the
son of Enosh,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
the son of God.
What’s the Point of These
Matthew begins his book with the genealogy of Jesus.
Matthew wrote to Jews who had a great interest in genealogies because God had
promised several people (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David) thousands of years
earlier that the messiah would be a descendant of theirs. To prove this
descent, it was important to maintain accurate genealogical records.
Matthew's genealogy emphasized Jesus' legal right to the
throne of David, presenting Jesus as King of the Jews. This fact is immediately
set forth in verse one, which states Jesus was the "son of David, the son
of Abraham." His kinship to David the King of Israel is mentioned before
that of Abraham, the father of Israel. The placement of Luke's genealogy is after Jesus baptism.
When Jesus was baptized, God said "This is my beloved son."
Immediately following this event, as if to prove God's declaration, Luke
inserted the genealogy.
The original readers of Luke's works were Greek
Christians. Since Luke's readers were less concerned about the fulfillment of
Jewish prophecy, his genealogy focused on Jesus' descent from God. The
genealogy culminated by showing Jesus was the "son of Adam, the son of God"
(Luke 3:28). This emphasized the humanity of Jesus, and that Jesus came to save
all peoples, regardless of ethnic backgrounds.
Does “Son” Mean a Literal, First Generation Son? Well, yes and no.
In these genealogies, the word “son”
could be applied to one who was not a literal, first generation son. It
could mean a descendant; which could be a grandson, great grandson, or son of a
more distant generation. For example, Matthew 1:1 states Jesus was the "son of David,
the son of Abraham." This does not mean that David was the
father of Jesus, and Abraham was his grandfather. First century Jews knew that
Matthew did not mean there was only one generation between these men; but that
Jesus was a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Abraham.
Joseph Jesus’ Father?
Although Jesus was a legal descendant to Joseph, he was not a physical
descendant. Luke's genealogy directly addressed this issue by stating Jesus “was the son, so it
was thought, of Joseph,” (Luke 3:23). By virtue of being Mary's
husband, Joseph was considered the father of Jesus. Since Jesus was born into
Joseph's family, he was a legal heir. Through Joseph, Jesus obtained a rightful
claim to the throne of David.
Why Are There
Differences in the Two Genealogies?
Matthew and Luke did not record the
same names in their genealogies. Matthew traces Joseph's line
through Solomon and the successive kings of Judah.
But Luke traces Joseph's
line through Nathan, Solomon's brother. Several explanations are
possible as to why the lists diverge:
Matthew and Luke
traced two family histories. Matthew recorded the ancestors of Joseph, the
legal father of Jesus. Luke recorded the ancestors of Mary, the biological
mother of Jesus.
2. Matthew gives the legal line of descent from David, giving the legal
heir of the throne in each case. Luke, on the other hand, gives David's actual,
3. Both genealogies are through
Joseph. Luke records Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph's father. But Matthew records
Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph's maternal grandfather. Matthew’s genealogy
does list five women lending some support that this might be a woman's
Who Are the Women Listed in Jesus' Genealogy?
Matthew included five women in his genealogy of Christ. This is notable since
it was not customary for Jews to include women in their records. Even more
remarkable is the fact that Matthew included some women who had disreputable
histories. The five women included were:
Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah. She was a childless widow, who was given to her brother-in-law after her husband's death. But he refused to impregnate her. He was then killed – and she was widowed again. But Judah would not give Tamar to any of his other sons. So Tamar disguised herself as a harlot and seduced Judah (her father-in-law), and he impregnated her, and she became the mother of Perez.
Rahab was a harlot who lived in an enemy city - Jericho. She hid Jewish spies. Because of this, the Israelites spared her life when they conquered Jericho. She later became the wife of Salmon, and the mother of Boaz.
Ruth was a foreigner from the land of Moab. She was the widow of a Jew. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, also lived in Moab. Naomi journeyed to Israel after her family died. Ruth left her own country to follow Naomi. While in Israel, Ruth was married to Boaz, one of Naomi's relatives. Ruth later became the mother of Obed, the grandfather of David the King. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the
Hittite, who was a soldier in the army of King David. She and David had an adulterous
affair. When David discovered Bathsheba was pregnant, he sent word to his army
to set up Uriah to be killed in battle. After Uriah was slain in this manner,
David took Bathsheba as his own wife. God punished them for this by allowing
their first child to die. Bathsheba later became the mother of Solomon.
Mary was a virgin who was engaged to
Joseph when she became miraculously impregnated by the Holy Spirit. This was
scandalous. Some suspected they had sex outside of marriage (not a big deal
today, but a huge one then), and Joseph, knowing he hadn’t had sex with her,
concluded she had cheated on him. However, an angel told Joseph what had
happened. So Joseph took Mary as his wife, and kept her as a virgin until she
gave birth to Jesus.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke begin their account of the life of Jesus when He was on
earth, John begins his account of the life of Jesus before there was an earth.
In John's prologue he calls Jesus “the Logos” (the Word), and reveals Jesus to be eternal and divine.
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him
nothing was made that has been made. 4In
him was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all
might believe. 8 He himself was not the
light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was
made through him, the world did not recognize him.11
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who
believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of
human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory,
the glory of the one and only [Son], who came from the Father, full of grace
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying,
"This is he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me
because he was before me.' ") 16 Out of
his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and
truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one
has ever seen God, but the one and only [Son], who is himself God and is in
closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Eternity ● Divinity ● Trinity
begins his gospel with one of the most profound sentences ever written. “In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
how some other translators have put it.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. New Living Translation
The Word already was, way back before anything began to be. The Word and God were together. The Word was God. Worldwide English
In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. New International Reader's Version
In the beginning was the Logic, and the Logic was with God and the Logic was God.Gordon Clark
beginning was the Word,
starts his first line with the very first words of the Bible, “In the
beginning...” (Genesis 1:1). He alludes
to the creation account in Genesis 1:1 to show that “the Word” preexisted the
world. The Word was not created but was the creator.
translated “Word” comes from the Greek word “logos.” Even though it just has
five letters, it is a huge word. The Greek philosophers saw the logos as
the ultimate reason and power which puts sense into the world, making the world
orderly instead of chaotic. Jewish rabbis often spoke of God Himself as
"the word of God."
John made creative use of
double meaning in the word "Logos" to communicate to both Jews, and Greeks.
“For centuries you've been talking, thinking, and writing about the Word (the logos). Now I
will tell you who He is.” John meets both Jews and Greeks where they are at,
and explains Jesus in terms they already understood.
Word was with God, and the Word was God. With this
brilliant statement, John 1:1 sets forth one of the most basic foundations of
our faith - the Trinity. We can follow John's logic:
1. There is a Being known as the Word.
2. This Being is God, because He is eternal (In the beginning), and He is plainly called God (the Word was God).
3. At the same time, this Being does not encompass all that God is (the Word was with God).
4. So, God (a.k.a. the Father) and the Word (a.k.a. the Son) are equally God,
yet distinct in their Person. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the
Father. Yet they are equally God, with God the Holy Spirit making one God in
Other Scriptures Mentioning
Jesus’ Eternal and Divine Nature
But thou, Bethlehem
Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee
shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth
have been from of old, from everlasting.
In this prophecy the
prophet Micah is promising a coming deliverer to Israel. But what is significant
about this specific "Christmas prophecy" is the prophet's description
of that coming Deliverer--He is One Who is "from of old, from
everlasting." The claim is that this One to be born is One Whose existence
will not have begun at his birth! Unlike any other man or woman, this
One is One Who lived before his birth! In fact, He has lived from eternity! Clearly,
Micah was speaking of God Himself, for only He has existed from eternity. What
is so significant, then, is that Micah is speaking of incarnation--that
God would become man! God would be born!
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn
over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on
earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
"I tell you the
truth," Jesus answered, "before
Abraham was born, I am!"
"You are not yet
fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen
"I tell you the
truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At
this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away
from the temple grounds.
1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have
been fulfilledamong us, 2just as
they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and
servants of the word. 3Therefore, since I
myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed
good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
4so that you may know the certainty of the
things you have been taught.
If all of
human history were a book, Jesus would be the main character. Time Magazine
named Jesus the “Man of the Millennium” and elaborated that he was the most
influential person “not merely in these two millenniums but in all human
history.” H.G. Wells admitted, “I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I
must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easly the most dominant figure in all history."
secular history recognizes the existence and influence of Jesus – and although
there are other apocryphal (fictitious or legendary) accounts about Jesus – almost
everything we know about him comes from just a few reliable resources. That is what Luke (one of the reliable resources) is getting at with in the introduction to his account about Jesus.
Luke – who was a historian – is saying a lot of people attempted to
record what Jesus did and said. But some of what was being told about Jesus
wasn’t accurate. So Luke took it upon himself to investigate the life of
Christ, separate fact from fiction, and then write an accurate account about
Jesus. (He wrote this account to a man named Theophilus, though Theophilus may
also be a code name for a group of people since Theophilus means “God Lovers”).
all, there are four accurate accounts about Jesus. These are the Gospels known
as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. So before we begin our journey looking at the
life of Christ, let’s take a moment to look at these four accounts and the four
men that wrote them.
Brief Overview of
the Four Gospels
first three gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are sometimes called the
'synoptic' (same view) gospels. This is because they each cover similar sayings
and actions of Jesus – though they each have much uniqueness from each other
too. The fourth gospel, John, records many other sayings and actions not
covered in the other three accounts.
people say that the four gospels contradict each other. That isn’t true at all.
They each have their own perspective, style, details, and emphasis, but they
all tell the truth about Jesus.
of differences, all four gospels present Jesus as both the Son of God and son
of man. They all record His baptism, the feeding of the 5,000 from five loaves
and two fishes, Mary's anointing of the Lord Jesus, His prayer in the garden of
Gethsemane, His betrayal, trial, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection.
of this blog in 2007 is take the four gospels and harmonize them and put the
events they record in chronological order. In other words, it will take the
four gospels of Jesus and create a single story line.
A Few More Details About
Each Writer and His Gospel
Matthew was one of the first twelve
disciples of Jesus (Matthew 9:1; 10:1-4) and an eye-witness; he records more of
Jesus' teaching concerning God's heavenly kingdom than the other writers, for
example the entire Sermon on the Mount.
Peter's son (I Peter 5:13, possibly spiritual son), who wrote down what Peter (Peter
was one of Jesus’ closest disciples) said about the life and teachings of Jesus.
Mark's gospel is a record of Peter’s eye-witness account.
Luke was a
doctor, historian, and a co-worker with the apostle Paul (Colossians 4:14;
Philemon v24). Because some spurious stories about Jesus were circulating, Luke
decided to interview local eye-witnesses and people who had followed Jesus
John was one
of Jesus’ closest disciples and an eye-witness to the life of Jesus. (John
19:35); John lived to be older than any of the other writers. It is therefore
likely that he was familiar with their accounts and wanted to supplement theirs
with additional teachings and miracles by Jesus which had a bearing on the situation
towards the end of the first century AD.
GOSPEL According to...
tax collector & apostle
3:18; Matt 9:9; 10:3; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13)
Mark of Jerusalem"
(Acts 12:12; 15:37; Col 4:10; Phlm 1:24; 1 Pet 5:13)
physician & companion of Paul
(Col 4:14; 2 Tim 4:11; Phlm 1:24)
John, son of Zebedee; one
of 12 apostles
(Mark 1:19; 3:17; cf. John 21:2)
Number of Chapters
five major discourses;
well-organized sections of