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Gene’s Daily Scriptural Postings.

Reflective Bible Study.

Promised a Son: Luke 1:5-25

Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on in Luke – Episode 2: Luke begins Jesus’ story sharing not about Jesus’ birth, but about the events leading up to the birth of Jesus’ forerunner in ministry, John the Baptist, and the amazing promise of John’s birth to an unlikely, old, childless couple. Read the transcript: As we continue our year focusing in on Luke’s gospel, it seems a little odd in my mind to jump into the Christmas story, especially since last month, we both likely heard and were reminded of this amazing event. However, Luke’s gospel shares more about Jesus’ birth and childhood than any of the other three gospels, and some of these details are only included in Luke. While I know it might seem redundant being reminded again of events in the Christmas story, especially when everything built up to our Christmas’ celebrating last month, I’ve found it is fascinating looking at many of the Christmas-time passages outside of the Christmas season. Looking at Jesus’ birth not during Christmas helps us see this event with new eyes, and new insights often stand out when we break out of our cultural routines. With that said, our passage for this episode leads in to the birth of John the Baptist, who was Jesus’ forerunner in ministry. Let’s read from Luke’s gospel, chapter 1, using the New International Version. Starting in verse 5, Luke tells us that: 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. Pausing briefly here, I think it is valuable for us to realize that Zechariah and Elizabeth were both righteous in the sight of God, they were obedient to God’s commands, but they were both childless. In the culture they lived, having children was one of the primary ways that God showed His blessing on a couple, and it seemed that Zechariah and Elizabeth, while being obedient and righteous, appeared to be punished by God because of their lack of children. This didn’t just happen over a few years. Luke describes both spouses as being very old. This couple’s childlessness had lasted for decades, and they may have even resigned themselves to dying childless. However, God had not forgotten them. Even when it looked as though God had forgotten them, He was actually setting the stage for something big He was getting ready to do. In our own lives, even though it may seem at times like God has forgotten us, it is possible He is really setting the stage for something big He is getting ready to do. Continuing reading in verse 8, Luke then tells us: 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, a