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Evidence Based Faith

Luke 1:1-4

How do you know that what you are told about Jesus is true?  The author of this gospel, and the Book of the Acts, was Luke.  He was a physician (Colossians 4:14), trained to discover the truth, expert in taking medical histories and comparing them with reports of similar diseases.  After Jesus ascended into heaven, many people wrote about His life and ministry.  But which accounts were authentic?  Luke, who also helped Paul, applied his training in literature and science to the task of evaluating the many reports about Jesus - finding the truth from eyewitnesses, and writing ...

Faithful Failures?

Luke 1:5-7

If God is on our side, why is life littered by unwanted challenges and broken dreams?  Luke introduces Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth as a godly, devout, faithful couple who obeyed the Jewish rules.  They were both descended from Aaron - Zechariah was a priest who served in the temple and any male children would automatically have become priests.  But there was no child.

The Fear of Dutiful Faith

Luke 1:8-12

Religious people have faith, but in what? Zechariah obeyed God's commandments in his private life, and fulfilled the requirements for priests when he was working in the temple.

Beyond our Dreams

Luke 1:13-16

Some people say that if you have great faith, then God will answer: and there are Scriptures to support that.  But God is also far greater than the limits of our faith (1 John 3:20).  In this narrative, Zechariah the priest had prayed for a child (Luke 1:13) but did not believe it was possible (Luke 1:18-20).  Nevertheless, his faithless prayer that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a child would be answered!

Back to the Covenant

Luke 1:17

John the Baptist did not choose his career.  God appointed him as the 'last of the Old Testament prophets' (even though his story is at the beginning of the New Testament).  Each prophet had the same task - to draw people back to God's covenant, and to look forward to the day when Jesus would institute a new covenant.  After 400 years of prophetic silence since Malachi who predicted John's ministry (Malachi 3:1), his task was to finish the prophetic relay race by personally identifying Jesus (John 1:29-34).

Nothing to Say

Luke 1:18-25

The angel had announced that a baby boy would be born to a geriatric couple.  At first sight, Zechariah's question seems very reasonable.  He and his wife knew that their biological power of reproduction had gone.  But that was not just a function of their old age; they had never produced any children.  Even though they had prayed for years for a child (Luke 1:13), Zechariah the priest did not believe that God would grant the request.  That is why the angel rebuked Zechariah's unbelief and struck him dumb for nine months.

Accepting the Favour

Luke 1:26-33

The old, childless couple had a baby on the way, because God said it would happen.

The Way God Works

Luke 1:34-38

Mary was a teenager who accepted the angel's message as truth from God: she accepted that her baby would become the Messiah King (see Luke 1:31-33).

Blessing comes through Faith

Luke 1:39-45

Mary, in the early stages of pregnancy, went to stay with her relative Elizabeth who was six months pregnant with John.

Blessings Promote Praise

Luke 1:46-49

Mary had received confirmation of the angel's message through Elizabeth's prophecy.