A The Birth of the Perfect Man and his family
Luke’s message to Theophilus
1: Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2: Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3: It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4: That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
The Birth of John
5: There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6: And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7: And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. 8: And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, 9: According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10: And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11: And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12: And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13: But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14: And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15: For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. 16: And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17: And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 18: And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19: And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 20: And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. 21: And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22: And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 23: And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24: And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25: Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
Gabriel appears to Mary
26: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27: To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28: And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29: And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30: And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31: And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32: He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34: Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35: And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36: And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37: For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Mary visits Elizabeth
38: And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39: And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40: And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41: And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43: And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44: For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45: And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
Luke begins his Gospel saying that it seemed like a good idea to write a book to record the things which he had seen and heard of from the beginning of the life of Christ. Luke writes his Gospel as a medical doctor with a certain emphasis. He is interested in background, parenthood, pregnancy and birth. He is interested in disease; He is interested in women and children. Luke starts off his gospel with the parents of John the Baptist. He describes them as - And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years and so the age old dilemma presented is of old people living under the Mosaic covenant, righteous according to law and yet childless. Elizabeth is one of seven biblical women who are righteous but childless. The point is that the flesh will not give birth to the fulfilment of the promises of God. It is faith that brings the fulfilment of promise. The angel says to Zacharias that his wife will give birth and he describes the life and ministry of their son. The miracle was not the conception or the birth the miracle was the intervention of God in Elizabeth’s childless state. Her state is a type of Israel’s barrenness. Their son will bring Israel back from backsliding. When Elizabeth was six months pregnant the Angel of the Lord is sent to Mary, a virgin espoused to Joseph. The message is of a much greater order than to Elizabeth. He says… He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. This child will be the fulfilment of all Israel’s hopes and dreams. The angel speaks of Christ’s revelation in glory to Israel in which they will call him the Son of the highest and in which he will sit on the throne of his father David and in which as Messiah he will rule over the house of Jacob and of which his kingdom there will be no end. Mary asks how this will be seeing she is a virgin and the answer is the Holy Spirit will come upon her. Mary is overjoyed and submits herself unto the purpose of God in her life. Then she is told of her cousin Elizabeth who is now in her sixth month. Mary immediately sets out to see Elizabeth. And she stays with her until the birth of the child of promise.