The Beginning Of Christmas

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The Book of Luke was written by a Gentile Physician who accompanied the Apostle Paul on many of his missionary journeys. He writes to Theophilus, which may not have been a person but the Church. The word “Theophilus” literally translated means “Friend of God” and may remind us of the words of our Beloved Jesus:

John 15:15-17 (NKJV) No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

The writer of Luke is also the writer of Acts. As He writes, he doesn’t write as an eyewitness, but as someone who took eyewitness accounts from the Apostles. He starts with – if you’ll read with me …

Luke 1:1-4 KJV1 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 message of Luke is a delivered message – “Even as they delivered them unto us”. It was delivered by “eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word”. Luke gathered this information for the Church, and wrote it in order. He writes of the beginning of the ministry of Christ to the end. Christ had no beginning in eternity. He is very God of very Gods. He is the One of Whom the Apostle John declared:

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  [2]  The same was in the beginning with God.  [3]  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus is not first made in Christmas – Christ is re-made. He does not enter EXISTENCE but enters HUMANITY. God the Father sends His eternal, pre-existent Son to earth not in a space ship but through the Holy Spirit. The Bible declares:

Galatians 4:4-6 But when the fullness2 of the time3 was come, God sent forth his Son, made4 of a woman, made under the law, {5} To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. {6} And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

The Holy Spirit would bring Christ into the world. But His coming would not be through the rich or famous, the well known or the powerful. The Holy Spirit would send Jesus into the world through hyphenated people. Who are the hyphenated people? You might be one of them. I’m one of them. People ask who I am and I say “I’m David Buffaloe”, and they reply “David – Who”. I’m one of the unknowns. If you say Warren Buffet or Bill Gates everyone knows who they are. No one knows much about David Buffaloe, Luke, or perhaps even you. Yet God uses the hyphenated. God uses the little person who will do as God says. That’s why the first account in Luke is not about Herod or Caesar, but about a priest we will call Zacharias – Who?

Zacharias Who?

Luke 1:5-7 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.

The Old Testament story of the Fall begins with Adam and Eve, but the beginning of Christ does not start until you get to Abraham and his wife Sarai. Abraham was an old man who had an old wife, and both were without children. But God promised to bless Abraham – and the entire world – to give him a child and a Nation, if he would but follow God. God can bless you if you follow Him. God will not bless you if you won’t.

The New Testament lineage of Christ is no different. There is a priest called Zacharias who is married to Elisabeth. They were both childless, and past child bearing age. They were living out the life that God gave them. Though things had not worked out as they wanted them to, they nonetheless served God to the best of their ability.

they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

This is a good lesson for all of us. They kept on serving God to the best of their ability, honoring Him with their lives. They could have become bitter over what they didn’t have but refused to do so. Every day is a gift from God. Live for God. Love for God. You may not be rich or famous. So what? God will use you.

I was watching a little 8 year old girl – a singer – in a video recorded from America’s Got Talent. The little girl came up and the judges asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Without hesitation the little girl said:

I want to be a superstar!”

Here she is, 8 years old, and chasing fame. Her mother named her Celine after Celine Dionne wanting her to succeed. But what if she does? How many child superstars are now lost, cast aside after being eaten up with Hollywood and fame?

a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron, and her name [was] Elisabeth.

In the timer of King David the priests were divided into 24 different orders or courses, and they all rotated so that sacrifices could continually be made for sin. The course of Abia was the eighth course, descended from Eliazar, Aarons’ eldest son. Without a child their course or line would die out. God told His people when they went into the Promised Land:

Deuteronomy 7:14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you…

Yet Zacharias and Elisabeth were barren. Was God punishing them? No. Sometimes God withholds the GOOD from us to bring to us the BETTER. God had something BETTER for this precious couple.

We Are To Glorify God

God wants the BEST for our lives. When things do not go the way we want them to go, we should serve the Lord all the more. We are to love God not for what He gives, but because of WHO HE IS. We are to trust God’s love. We are to serve Him. This is what Zacharias did. We read:

Luke 1:8-9 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.

What do we see in this text? Obedience! Serving God. Not serving self. Not sulking because he didn’t get what he wanted. No, Zacharias executed the priests office BEFORE GOD. He knew that God was watching him. He did so in the order of his course. Zacharias was not – as we called it in the military – absent without leave or AWOL. He did what he was supposed to do. The Bible commands us to trust in God, and to serve Him with all out hearts. We read:

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: {7} Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Don’t worry – serve!
Don’t fret – live for Him!

God will not bless you when you do not do what He asks you to do. If you are not happy with how life has played out for you, then as the old Poker Players used to say:

Play the hand you’re dealt!

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:17 (ESV) And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Zacharias was doing what God told him to do. He was being obedient, glorifying God, magnifying His Name. Oh Beloved, are we not to do the same? When one of us does not glorify God in opur lives, does this not act as a cancer in the Body, spreading outward, killing worship? But notice that as Zacharias was doing what He was supposed to do:

Luke 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

Zacharias shows us something. When WE are obedient to God, we lead OTHERS to be obedient to God. There was a multitude of people praying that day, following what Zacharias was doing.

Those who watch you follow your leadership – what are you showing them? Are you yawning through the sermons? So are those around you. Are you self centered and selfish? So are those around you. Your children and grand children will follow you. Your friends will imitate what you do.

his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord

The incense, as it burned, smoked, and that smoke symbolized prayers going up to God. The Psalmist said:

Psalms 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee [as] incense; [and] the lifting up of my hands [as] the evening sacrifice.

Revelation 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

When God’s people are obedient, worshiping and glorifying Him, then great things will come.

We cannot come to Church and be focused on what others are doing or not doing and expect to be blessed. We cannot come to Church for our own entertainment, nor to be lifted up above God.

God is God, and when we meet we are supposed to worship and glorify Him. As everyone was serving God, we next see this:

Luke 1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

The Angel Gabriel appears on the RIGHT SIDE of the altar of incense. The RIGHT side is the position of bestowed authority. In ancient times the one who had the closest confidence with the King sat on His RIGHT hand.

When the inheritance was given, the RIGHT HAND was laid on the blessed.
Exodus 15:6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power
Luke 20:42 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand
Acts 5:31
Jesus hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins

Gabriel is on the RIGHT HAND of the altar to show us that GOD BLESSES OBEDIENCE. If Zacharias had not been doing as the Lord said, he would not have been blessed.

Luke 1:19 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.

Obedience In Little Things Brings Big Blessings

Gabriel that stand in the presence of God emphasizes that this is one of the mightiest of angels. If this angel stands in the presence of God then he must be one of the chief angels, a cherub, a guardian in the throne room of God. This Gabriel is a powerful angel, and he brings a powerful message. You see, in the Old Testament God gave certain key prophesies that would show us when the Messiah had come. One of these key prophesies in The Herald of the King. 700 years before Christ came Isaiah prophesied:

Isaiah 40:3-5 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. {4} Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: {5} And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see [it] together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

And four hundred years prior to the first Advent of Christ the Prophet Malachi said:

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

When the King of Kings entered this earth, He would have a Herald of Heralds, someone well suited to be His announcer. This would be the child of Zacharias and Elisabeth, a child named John. Gabriel tells Zacharias:

Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias..

Don’t be afraid. If an angel were to walk in this place tonight we would probably all be afraid. These are immense creatures composed of light, creatures that have stood in God’s presence. Don’t be afraid. This is only good news, the beginning of God’s Gospel.

Luke 1:13 .. for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

John had never stopped praying for a child. Though he and his wife were well past child bearing years, they never gave up on God. They kept praying for a miracle, and God blessed them. Oh, that we would trust God as this man did.

Luke 1:13-17 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 (Elijah), 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.

John would be one of the greatest Prophets of Israel. John would be born a Nazarite Priest. The Nazarites were a special type of priest in the Old Testament. God established this priesthood in:

Numbers 6:2-8 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate [themselves] to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate [themselves] unto the LORD: {3} He shall separate [himself] from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. {4} All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. {5} All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth [himself] unto the LORD, he shall be holy, [and] shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. {6} All the days that he separateth [himself] unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. {7} He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God [is] upon his head. {8} All the days of his separation he [is] holy unto the LORD.

Most of the Nazarites chose to be so. God chose John from his mother’s womb to be a Nazarite. The Hebrew word NAZIR, simply means “to be separated or consecrated” to God. John would be so consecrated his entire life. Smith’s Bible Dictionary states:

Of the Nazarites for life, three are mentioned in the Scriptures — Samson, Samuel and St. John, the Baptist. … We do not know whether the vow for life was ever voluntarily taken by the individual. In all the cases mentioned in the sacred history, it was made by the parents before the birth of the Nazarite himself.”

What a glorious promise had been made to Zacharias. Christ was coming, and his son John would make ready a people prepared for the Lord!

Faith births faith.
Obedience leads to obedience.
God blesses obedience!

Then Zacharias stumbled. And He suffered for the stumble.

Luke 1:18 (KJV)  And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

He asked for a sign when no sign was needed. Here is the Chief Messenger of God, Gabriel, standing before him. Gabriel has just spoken. So Gabriel tells him:

Luke 1:19-20 (KJV)  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.

Zacharias lost his voice because he did not believe. God will do what God has promised He will do. Trust God, or lose your voice! Trust God, live for Him. What He has said, He will do. God is faithful.

May God bless us as we enter into this Holy Season of Christmas!

1All Scripture quoted is King James Version, Unless otherwise noted

2 G4138, πλήρωμα, plērōma, play’-ro-mah, From G4137; repletion or completion, that is, (subjectively) what fills (as contents, supplement, copiousness, multitude), or (objectively) what is filled (as container, performance, period): – which is put in to fill up, piece that filled up, fulfilling, full, fulness., (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)

3 G5550, χρόνος, chronos, khron’-os, Of uncertain derivation; a space of time (in genitive case, and thus properly distinguished from G2540, which designates a fixed or special occasion; and from G165, which denotes a particular period) or interval; by extension an individual opportunity; by implication delay: – + years old, season, space, (X often-) time (-s), (a) while., (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)

4 Aorist Deponent Participle, G1096, γίνομαι, ginomai, ghin’-om-ahee, A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be (“gen” -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.): – arise be assembled, be (come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, be divided, be done, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled, + God forbid, grow, happen, have, be kept, be made, be married, be ordained to be, partake, pass, be performed, be published, require, seem, be showed, X soon as it was, sound, be taken, be turned, use, wax, will, would, be wrought., (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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