Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19970730.htm
LUKE: GOSPEL OF CERTIFYING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Part II: Credible Evidences For The Divine Appointment Of John As Messiah's Forerunner
Lesson: There were multiple signs originating with events in the very Holy Place of the temple itself that signaled that John the Baptist's origin and ministry was entirely of the God of Israel's Old Testament, Scriptural heritage. Thus, John's id entify as a Servant from God was fully validated!
- In order to establish the credibility of Jesus as the real Son of God, the real Messiah, Luke felt called of God as a non-eyewitness to investigate the eyewitness reports and to arrange in order all the events so that non-eyewitnesses like himself would have certain evidence of Christ's validity.
- In starting at the beginning, Luke gave overwhelming evidence of the divine appointment of John to be the Forerunner of the Real Messiah as follows:
- Credible Evidences For The Divine Appointment Of John As Messiah's Forerunner, Lk. 1:5-25.
- When Zacharias went into the Holy Place to offer up incense, the very slim chances of his ever getting to function in that spot, especially late in his life, indicated that his even being chosen for it was of God!
- Those chosen for this ministry assignment were selected by lot, and one served there only once in a lifetime, Luke 1:9 (Ryrie Study Bible, KJV ftn. to Luke 1:9)!
- Also, Zacharias was getting up in years, so the fact that this opportunity came so late in his ministry as a priest was also highly emblematic that his being in that location was an act of Providence!
- Besides, the Hebrew people treated lots in this case as the selection of God, cf. Prov. 16:33. Thus, for Zacharias to have been selected by lot in addition to these other factors should have signaled to him that his being in the Holy Place was of Divine Providence!
- On top of this, the selection to this ministry at the Altar of Incense came by way of three, consecutive, single elimination lots, Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus, the Messiah, p. 134. Zacharias was clearly chosen of God to enter the temple as hinted by the sheer mathematical probabilities involved!
- The fact that Zacharias' wife, Elizabeth had been childless for so long, only to bear a child following Zacharias' encounter with t he angel in God's Temple signaled that the baby to come would certainly be of God, Luke 1:7, 13-17; after all, this pattern of barrenness followed by the birth of a child due to divine intervention fit the famous Hebrew precedent of Isaac's birth to Sarah and Abraham, Gen. 18:1-15; 21:1-3.
- The fact that both Zacharias and Elizabeth were upright, theologically conservative, God-fearing people fit the pattern of those would have expected to be used of God to bear the Messiah's Forerunner, Luke 1:6.
- When the angel of God appeared to Zacharias in the temple, he appeared standing at the right side of the Altar of Incense, Luke 1:11. This right-handed position would have represented a position of honor and might, and called forth the high standing the angelic messenger had with God. Thus, the message he had of John's birth and naming was verifiable from the very presence of Almighty God, Luke 1:13!
- The arrival of John to interrupt his mother's prolonged childlessness, and his being assigned to avoid wine and strong drink and to be filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb recalled the angelic announcement of Samson's arrival, Jud. 13:1-5. Thus, here was another Scriptural precedent signaling God's involvement.
- When Zacharias did not at first believe the message of the angel Gabriel, and was struck with dumbness until John was to be born, this activity would have signaled the work of God as well:
- Zacharias did not at first believe the angelic messenger, and was judged to be unable to speak until the child was actually born, Luke 1:18-20.
- Well, this encounter took a long enough period of time that the people began to wonder if Zacharias had died in the temple due to God's judgment at finding some sin in Zacharias, Luke 1:21, Ibid., ftn.
- When the priest returned, he was unable to pronounce his benediction to the waiting throngs, having been struck dumb by the Lord, a signal witnessed by the whole throng of worshipers that he had experienced an encounter with a messenger from God, Luke 1:22; Ibid., Edersheim, p. 140.
- Thus, when Zacharias was finally able to speak only at writing on a tablet that the newborn son would be named John, a name uncharacteristic since no one else of the clan had that name (1:60-61), the whole crowd of witnesses marveled, wondering what kind of child from God John would be, 1:63-66!