Day 267 – Thru the Bible
Today we begin Luke. Here’s the video for the first part of Luke.
Video – Read Scripture: Luke 1-9
How does this video help you understand the beginning of Luke?
Luke 1 – This historical story addresses key heart issues. It is a story of human suffering and sadness, coming from the brokenness of infertility. Like Sarah and Abraham of old, Zechariah and Elizabeth are advanced in age but without children, even though they were righteous followers of God. This barrenness is a deep sadness for them and is even viewed as a reproach among others in their community.
Yet from the bird’s eye perspective that we are given, we learn that even in the midst of this decades-long trial for two godly people, God is working out a perfect plan of grace. He is using this couple’s barrenness and brokenness to show forth His miraculous power and to witness to the world that His final plan of redemption is now at hand in Jesus Christ. The story of this couple’s suffering turned to joy reminds us that in the pain of our own trials our limited perspective is not able to grasp the good plans that our kind God is perfecting for us (Romans 8:18–28; 1 Cor. 2:9). We are called by this story to renew our active trust in God’s will, even through our veil of tears.
Overlapping with this lesson, this story also shows the gospel’s real call on us to believe and trust in God’s words. While God is gracious from beginning to end in this story, with the miracle of barrenness broken there is also a message of the danger of hardness of heart. Zechariah, righteous and godly though he is, fails to believe God’s message delivered through the angel Gabriel. This is likely because of a natural jadedness that comes from years of trial, difficulty, and disappointment. Zechariah can only see the obstacles of his age and his wife’s closed womb. The result is a gracious but real discipline from the Lord. God does not condemn Zechariah, though he does experience a new trial of muteness. Yet even in this God is perfecting a greater and more robust faith in Zechariah, who will soon be not just a priest but also a prophet.
This story is the next stop on the angel Gabriel’s mission from God to prepare God’s people for the coming Savior. The engaged virgin Mary receives a message even more shocking than that given to Zechariah: she is going to give birth to the Son of God, who will reign as King forever, even though she is still a virgin! Unlike Zechariah, Mary exhibits the childlike faith that always brings joy to our Father God (18:16–17). Despite some lingering confusion and uncertainty and probably no small amount of fear, she responds to God’s gracious provision with faith: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
All of this happens because God has set His favor upon Mary. Such initiating and reassuring grace from God toward us finds fullest expression in Jesus, who enables us to respond with this kind of faith, which itself brings great pleasure and glory to God (Ephesians 2:1–10).
This Spirit-inspired proclamation from Zechariah gives us a beautiful and powerful picture of the gospel. We often think of the gospel as the message of God legally forgiving our sins (“justifying” us) because of Jesus’ work on the cross. While this is true, Zechariah’s song (along with many other Bible passages) shows us that the gospel is even more comprehensive.
The gospel is explained here as God visiting and staying with His people, saving us from our enemies, fulfilling His ancient promises for us, delivering us so that we might serve Him without fear, forgiving our sins, shining light on our darkness, and guiding us into a life of peace. The gospel is full of mercy (God not giving us what our sin deserves), but even more, it is full of grace, with God giving us countless gifts and His own presence!
When we begin to grasp the breadth and depth of the gracious, comprehensive work of God through Jesus as described here, our hearts are engaged with devotion to God. We begin to get a vision of all that God is for us. Understanding the gospel in this broader way makes Jesus not just the “religious” part of our lives but the focus of all our hopes.
How do you meditate regularly on the fullness of your salvation?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.