1 – The one-word theme of Luke’s Gospel is: THE SON OF MAN. This title becomes Jesus’ most common way of referring to Himself in this Gospel. By it. He is constantly reminding us that He did not take on the nature of angels, but of mankind. He comes in the likeness of sinful flesh. Though no sin is in Him at all, yet He does not appear like the Adam before the Fall – whatever that glory might have looked like. He comes sharing our weaknesses, our griefs and sorrows, aches and pains. He suffers weariness, hunger, abandonment, misunderstanding, thirst, loneliness and whatever else belongs to the human condition. He is a Priest who can have compassion on us knowing the feeling of our infirmities. He did not insulate Himself from us. What a Savior!
2 – Luke 1:1-4 (ESV) Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
RAF: Critics of Christianity often accuse us of living by “blind faith.” It isn’t true. God does not consign us to mere hear-say, and then leave us to imagine some myth. We rely upon the historical reality that Christ came among us, died and rose again. We believe those who heard Him themselves, not mere stories about Him. We stand upon what really happened, and what God has miraculously, perfectly and divinely revealed and preserved for us by His Word. Faith? Yes. Blind faith – no. We are those who believe – God.
3 – Luke 1:19-20 (ESV) 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”
RAF: Even God’s most chosen vessels, can have doubts – failures of faith, even in the very midst of His greatest blessings toward us. Dear Zechariah will indeed spend the following months before John’s birth unable to speak – and it would seem – unable to hear. (v. 62) His 9 months in this state leaves him room to contemplate well what all was taking place, so that when John is born, there is no hesitation whatever to take on the full ramifications of who John was – and to name him John – boldy against all convention. Yes child of God, you too will most likely have your seasons of doubt. They may put you to silence for a time. But God is faithful. John’s birth was not hindered by Zechariah’s momentary lapse. Our God is faithful, even when we are not. Praise His holy name!
4 – Luke 1:76-79 (ESV)
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
RAF: Grace and mercy are the twin themes of the Gospel. In Grace – without regard to the undeserving status of fallen man, the prophet comes, but in that but to prepare for the visitation of the Lord. And to what end? That we might have the knowledge of salvation. Salvation which is located in the forgiveness of sins – because of God’s tender mercies. Never let go of these two glories. They permeate all of God’s dealings with us in Christ. Everything issues from GRACE – God’s blessings bestowed upon the underserving. Any and all good from His hand is due to grace. And then, mercy – the chief grace. Without it, we would never have forgiveness of sins. Oh the mercy that fills the heart of God! Oh the grace that brings it down to us!
5 – Luke 2:10 (ESV) 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
RAF: What ought to be “good news of great joy”, to all the people – is most tragically nothing of the kind to some. Oh the wickedness of sin, and the hardness it produces in our hearts. If Heaven did not sovereignly help us, none would ever be saved. All would remain obdurate.
6 – Luke 3:3 (ESV) 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
RAF: It must never be forgotten that forgiveness of sins is bound up with repentance. We often want the one without the other – the forgiveness without the repentance – or to make forgiveness the earned result of repentance. Neither of these is true. The heart wrought upon to recognize its sin, and to greive over it and want it put aside, is the repentant heart. The heart that simply wants freedom from sin’s penalty, but has no desire to be free of sin itself shows the heart to be still operating on its own. Even a dumb animal will run from danger. It signals nothing of its inward attitude toward one’s moral culpability and sorrow for it. Forgiveness of sins and repentance from sins go hand in hand. Forgiveness without repentance ultimately results in mere idolatry. Perform the rituals, and go your way. Repentance to earn forgiveness results in works salvation. Neither will save.