Have you ever had to wait until it’s time?
Of course, you have. Every expectant mother waiting for a baby, every schoolchild waiting for recess, every chemo patient waiting for hair to grow knows what it’s like to wait.
When we come to the New Testament, we’re looking at a people who have waited—waited for some sign that God is there, that He cares, that He’s coming. Four-hundred years have gone by. The nation is occupied by a foreign power. The work of the priests in the temple go on. But … nothing. No word from God.
Luke records what happens when God breaks His silence (Lk 1.1-4). His gospel account takes the form of a meticulous, “orderly account” written for a certain Theophilus, probably a high-ranking Roman official having something to do with the Apostle Paul’s impending trial in 61-62 CE.
Luke then tells the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth (Lk 1.5-25). Of their desire for a child, and (like Abraham and Sarah and Hannah before them) of God’s deliverance of a baby for the benefit of the whole nation. It’s a sign that God has not forgotten them; that God cares and is coming for them.
As we begin Advent at Woodland, we’re recognizing that people are still looking for signs—in nature, in near-death and out-of-body experiences, in the clouds. Everybody wants to hear from somebody who (like Zechariah the priest) gets to go behind the curtain and hear from God.
In the midst of all this searching and anticipation, we get to celebrate the greatest sign ever given by God. It’s the coming of the Lord Jesus, carefully researched and documented by Dr. Luke (see Col 4.14). A man of science, he gathered the eyewitness accounts of the Lord Jesus, and we get to benefit.
The reason Luke prepared his orderly account is so that the world may know that the Christ has come.
And, you know what? Because Jesus came the first time, He’s coming again. And, that’s our hope as we enter into this Advent season.
Here’s some questions to consider with friends:
What about Luke’s approach as a researcher you do you as a modern person find compelling? What about his content is appealing to modern people, but also hard to believe? (Think: angels, prophecies, private experiences).
How do you see Luke setting us up, in this first chapter of Luke? You know the story, but there’s a contrast between Zechariah and Elizabeth (and their “fitness” to bring about a prophetically significant child) and what God will actually do. What is Luke preparing us for?
Have you been waiting for a sign from God? Are you waiting to believe? What would you consider a “good” sign, the kind of sign you’re looking for?
What do you think about the idea that the Lord Jesus is the best and clearest sign that we could possibly receive from God?
See you Sunday, or next week. Then, we’ll hear from Luke as he develops his careful account of the Christ-child who has come, and will come again.
Have a great week, in the Lord.