In our text, we see a couple – Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth – who came from the priestly lineage of their forefather Aaron. They were righteous, they walked in God’s commands and ordinances, and they were blameless ... but they were barren. They had no children, but even with the prospect of children quickly fading, they never stopped serving the Lord, and they had never stopped praying for their miracle.
Matthew doesn’t tell us how or when Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant. Still, it must have been shocking news resulting in many sleepless nights as he wrestled with his love for Mary on one hand, and the letter of law on the other hand, which said he could make a public example of her and humiliate her for what appeared to be her unfaithfulness. Verse 20 says that as Joseph was wrestling with his emotions and the decisions he had to make, he had a dream.
What is the longest you’ve ever prayed for something before God answered your prayer? When year after year goes by and it doesn’t seem like God is moving, at what point should we stop praying? I’d say if our prayers are in agreement with the Word of God and we are pursuing the will of God, then we should never stop praying. You may ask, “What if it takes years and it seems like time is running out on the possibility of an answer?” So what? Is anything too hard for God? Is God limited by time or distance?
In this life, we are often faced with unexpected circumstances and events that surprise us, catch us off-guard and initially cause some alarm. Regardless of how much faith we have, our first response is usually fear but if we remember that Jesus is with us, then fear can be destroyed where faith is employed.
Joseph heard the Lord in three dreams and the wise men heard God in their dream. As a result, Jesus our Savior was born, lived, and gave Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. He has earned the right to have our attention, our worship, and our obedience. Dream to believe that God has a plan for your life and if you hear Him, He will do exceedingly, abundantly, more than you can ask or think.
Luke includes four songs in the birth narratives, each following a powerful moment in the narrative. The early church gave each of these songs a title in Latin, which as the language of Rome, became the main language of the early church. Today I want to look at these four songs in the order they appear and explore the main message of each of them as an outline for the Christmas story.
As Christians, we try to model our life after the example of Christ and other people in the Bible who exemplified true Christian character. When it comes to a model for motherhood, two of the most powerful examples would be Jochebed, the mother of Moses, and Mary, the mother of Jesus. However, Mary would have to get the top spot because from the beginning she had to overcome obstacles, endure sorrow, and realize that she would never be the authoritative voice directing the destiny of her Son’s life.
When we look at the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, we find that it goes back to Abraham, who is the ancestral father of the Jewish race. However, Luke goes all the way back to Adam, the origin of the human race. Luke ends his genealogy in chapter 3 verse 38 with the words, “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” Luke understood that the story of Jesus begins with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sin created the need for the ultimate sacrifice, and only God can be the perfect sacrifice ... but God can't die. So God became flesh, fully man and yet fully God and Jesus died "once for all."