Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part III: Christianity's Validation In Christ's Rise To Greatness Out Of Oppressive Origins
(Luke 1:24-56)
  1. Introduction
    1. In today's world, rearing our children to become godly, effective servants of God may seem almost too overwhelming a task in view of the oppressive hurdles parents face to the contrary. Whether viewing secular humanism's encroachment through government on the family or local hurdles to child development at work, church or school, there is much that we view as oppressive toward their healthy development.
    2. The problem is not new. Elizabeth and Mary faced huge social, political, governmental obstacles toward the development of their sons. Yet, God intervened with great blessing in spite of these obstacles, providing evidence for the validity of the Christian faith and a witness to God's willingness to help parents and their saved children overcome obstacles to the healthy development of these children today.
  2. Christianity's Validation In Christ's Rise To Greatness Out Of Oppressive Origins, Luke 1:24-56.
    1. God equipped Elizabeth to overcome her own social stigma of being childless by providing her the gift of pregnancy with a son, John in her advancing years, Luke 1:24-25 with 1:11-14:
      1. It was a social, cultural disgrace for a woman to be childless in the Near East in Jesus' era, Lk. 1:25.
      2. Thus, for Elizabeth who was advancing in her years to receive news that God would bless her with a child who would be the Forerunner to Messiah, it was overwhelmingly positive, Lk. 1:11-14
      3. Apparently, so overjoyed were her friends that Elizabeth had to hide herself for the first few months of pregnancy to have some semblance of normalcy in her life, Luke 1:24-25, B.K.C., N.T., p. 204.
    2. God would equip Mary to overcome the religious & ethnic stigma of being from Nazareth in bearing Jesus:
      1. Jews in Nazareth were despised by Jews from Judea as being uneducated, straight-spoken, impulsive and religiously unacceptable, Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus, The Messiah, v. I, p. 144-148.
      2. So, for Mary, already low on the social scale by virtue of her unwed state, and that from despised, coarse Nazareth to be told she would bear Messiah Who would rule on David's Jerusalem throne because God would give Him that throne was religiously and ethnically very encouraging, 1:26-32b!
      3. To be told that this Messiah would reign forever as the Son of the Most High, a term in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Old Testament for God Almighty, meant that Mary was told her son was not only the Messiah, but the Eternal GOD Who was Equal with the Father! Since Judaism had not as yet understood Messiah to be deity, that news was as uplifting as it was unfathomable!
    3. God would equip the children of Mary and Elizabeth to overcome the oppression of Roman domination:
      1. The cruel, oppressive nation of Rome ruled Palestine through the Arab king, Herod the Great at the time, a matter of special oppression to the Hebrew people.
      2. On top of that, a large Roman garrison of soldiers was quartered in Nazareth, something of great emotional and political oppression to Mary and Joseph and their Hebrew associates in particular.
      3. Yet, Gabriel announced to Mary that her son would be Equal with the Father as God (Luke 1:32) and of his God-given kingdom there would be no end, by Rome or any other nation, Lk. 1:32-33. Such news would have great ramifications on the political scene, encouraging Mary and Elizabeth in Israel!
Lesson: Though the totality of these blessings for Elizabeth's boy, John and Mary's son, Jesus have yet to be realized in the Messianic Kingdom and Eternal State to come, the fact that their sons would become so famous and powerful out of such oppr essive origins is a testament to the credibility of the whole Christian faith established by their lives under God the Father's oversight.

Application: Since we as Christian parents and our children who know Christ are part of that coming Kingdom of Christ, though we today similarly face great social, political or ethnic hurdles toward the healthy development of our children, we can rest assured that the GOD of heaven who established the Christian faith through John and Jesus against their similar hurdles of childhood and famil y development, Who yet plans to set up His Kingdom through that son of Mary, His OWN Son, Christ, will work to develope our children who are part of that divinely-established kingdom!