Luke’s two-volume history of the life of Jesus and of the early decades of the church began with an inscription to “Theophilus,” which means “lover of God.” His purpose was that the reader might “have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” Luke’s “orderly account” was based on reports from “eyewitnesses” and “ministers of the Word.”
The gospel began with Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. This elderly priest was married to a barren woman, Elizabeth. While he was doing his priestly office in the temple in Jerusalem, an “angel of the Lord” announced to him the surprising news that he and Elizabeth would have a child. John would be a prophet “filled with the Holy Spirit” who would “go before” the coming Messiah, and would “make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
The author continued with another angelic encounter, this time involving a Hebrew maiden named Mary. She would give birth to the “Son of the Most High.” The miraculous conception of Jesus would come to pass by the “Holy Spirit.” Mary humbly submitted to the plan of the Almighty.
In the midst of a subsequent visit to the mother of John, Mary would deliver a striking prophetic oracle about the great Lord she referred to as “God my Savior.” She spoke of her own place in the drama of redemption as a blessing from “He who is mighty” who had done “great things” for her. The Holy One of Israel would fulfill His ancient promises to His people through Jesus.
John would be a “prophet,” but Jesus was at the very center of Jehovah’s powerful work of “salvation” as the perfect agent of “the tender mercy of our God.” He would be the “sunrise” of the Father, visiting us “from on high.” The Son of God soon began to change the course of innumerable lives, for He would “guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious God, we thank You for the good news of Your Son, Jesus Christ. You are a God of order, and You have set out for us the story of the Messiah in a way that is clear and wonderful. At just the right time You sent angels and prophets, raised up nations, and brought about events, that we might be prepared for the coming of our Redeemer. You gave John the Baptist to an elderly couple who had never been able to have a baby. Even greater than this miracle, a Hebrew virgin conceived a child who would be Your own Son. Thank You for the blessing of the gift of our Savior. Nothing is impossible with You, O Lord. We are Your servants. Let it be to us according to Your holy Word. May we be filled with the Spirit and speak rightly of heavenly truths throughout our days on earth. Look upon our humble estate and do great things for Your people according to Your strength and Your covenant faithfulness. You bring the high low, and the low You make high by Your grace. You have fulfilled the ancient promise to Abraham through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We hear the oracles that You have spoken and we wonder about all the marvelous blessings You have for us. We will be saved from our enemies through Your amazing mercy. May we serve You in holiness and righteousness all of our days. Forgive our sins and grant us light, that we might walk in the way of peace.