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

Luke: Jesus, The Son Of Man For All Mankind
Part II: Clarifying The Biblical Credibility Of God's Selection Of Jesus' Forerunner
(Luke 1:5-25)
  1. Introduction
    1. When God leads His people by way of circumstances (such as in Acts 16:6-10), He does so in ways firmly entrenched in obvious and clearly Biblical precedents that indicate to His people that He is leading them.
    2. This fact was noted by Luke as he sought to show the validity of God's selection of John the Baptizer as Jesus' Biblical forerunner to a non-eyewitness Gentile, Theophilus, Luke 1:3. Himself a Gentile and a non-eyewitness of Christ's life, Luke had found ample evidence by circumstances VERIFIED by Old Testament precedents that Theophilus could validate that John's ORIGIN was of God (as follows):
  2. Clarifying The Biblical Credibility Of God's Selection Of Jesus' Forerunner, Luke 1:5-25.
    1. Luke wrote that John's parents were both of pure Aaronic priestly heritage, a likely genetic origin for a messenger of God to Israel in line with the Old Testament, cf. Luke 1:5 with Exodus 4:14-15.
    2. Luke added that this "forerunner's" parents were upright with God, a quality typical of others the Lord had used in the Old Testament, something Theophilus could himself validate, Luke 1:6 with Gen. 7:1; Job 1:1.
    3. Then, similar to the well-known Old Testament Hebrew patriarchs, Abraham and Sarah, John's parents had been childless until they were quite advanced in years, Luke 1:7 with Genesis 17:15-17.
    4. The appearance of the angel to John's father occurred late in life a divinely-appointed, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be chosen by lot to minister at the altar of incense, indicating it was God's angel, Lk. 1:8-9:
      1. The Old Testament Scriptures to which Theophilus had access (via the Greek Septuagint translation) revealed God was involved in choices made by lot in the dispensation of the Law, cf. Proverbs 16:33.
      2. Also, a priest was chosen by lot, and hence, by God, only once in his life to burn incense in the holy place as Zecharias had been chosen in Luke 1:8-9, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., ftn. to Luke 1:9.
      3. Thus, Luke's report of Zacharias' selection to minister in this capacity late in his life as a priest revealed the appearance of the angel in that ministry event was clearly of God due to these Biblical precedents!
    5. While the people prayed and Zacharias was offering the incense as representative of the nation, the Angel appeared beside the altar, circumstantially clearly indicating this appearance was from God, Luke 1:10-11.
    6. Zecharias' resulting fear was typical of past Old Testament saints' experiences when met by God's angels, Luke 1:12 with Judges 6:22; 13:21-23. Gentile, non-eyewitness Theophilus could thus validate this fact.
    7. The angel's call for Zacharias not to fear (Lk. 1:13) recalls the same experience of Gideon in Jud. 6:22-23.
    8. The angel's announcement that Zacharias' son, John would drink neither wine nor strong drink recalls God's directive to Samson's mother in Judges 13:3-5 that he be separated unto the Lord as a Nazarite.
    9. The angel's announcement that Zacharias' son would be Messiah's Forerunner in the spirit of Elijah recalls the Malachi 4:6 prophecy John would fulfill, another fact Theophilus as a non-eyewitness could validate.
    10. When Zacharias doubted the message after all of these Old Testament precedent signals of God's Angel, he was left unable to talk until his son's birth in discipline for inexcusable unbelief, Luke 1:18-20. That God would discipline Zacharias this way would be believable to Theophilus, for he would see the Old Testament repeatedly verified the precedents of signs listed above, indicating the angel was from God!
    11. The fact that the whole crowd outside the temple saw Zacharias return to beckon with his hands instead of speak to them, and that after he had been a long time in the Holy Place and the people had feared what might have happened to him (Luke 1:21-22) proves many verified an unusual event had occurred to him!
    12. Elisabeth's ensuing conception in old age and her hiding herself due to excitement over her pregnancy (Luke 1:23-24) indicates Zecharias' unusual temple experience was behind it all, that it was thus of God.
    13. Elisabeth's remark that God had taken away her reproach among men recalls the Old Testament remark of Rachel, Jacob's wife, when she too had conceived after long barrenness, Luke 1:25; Gen. 29:31; 30:22-23.
Lesson: Luke related how many Scripture precedents that, united with circumstantial events of John's origin, certified he was a man sent from God, a fact non-eyewitness, Gentile Theophilus could verify.

Application: (1) May we trust that John the Baptizer was sent from God. (2) May we also heed current circumstantial signals that clearly align with Biblical precedents as being from the Lord Himself.