Luke was a highly educated physician, a Gentile, and a skilled storyteller; Matthew was a tax collector — the lowest of the low in Jewish society — but more importantly, he was an author who takes special care to show the historical and prophetic significance of Christ; Mark attempts to show the power of Jesus and prove that He is the Messiah; and John chooses to focus more on spiritual themes that Christ’s life presents rather than the historical significance.
The book of Luke begins in Jerusalem at the temple. An angel appears to the priest, Zacharias and tells him that he and his wife Elizabeth are going to have a son, and they are to name him John. The angel reveals to Zacharias that John will fulfill a promise from Israel’s ancient prophets: Someone would come to prepare Israel to meet their God when He arrived to rule in Jerusalem.
In Galilee, an angel appears to a virgin, Mary and tells her she will have a son and she is to name him Jesus. He will be a king and rule over God’s people. Mary asks how this will come to be because she is a virgin. The angel explains to Mary, the Holy Spirit will come over her and she will conceive and give birth to God’s son. Mary goes to tell her relative Elizabeth about what the angel has told her.
Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem by order of Rome to register in Joseph’s family birth-line of David. While in Bethlehem, it became time for Mary to give birth, however there were not any rooms available. As a result, Mary had the baby in an animal stable. Angels appeared to shepherds and told them of the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem. The shepherds quickly found the baby Jesus. Returning, the shepherds praised God for all they had seen and heard.
- God reveals the birth of his son to an elderly priest, and a small town teenager. This is not who you might expect God to share his salvation plan with. We might expect God to tell important people about the important birth.
- God decided to use a no-name, small town, unmarried, teenage girl to bring His son into this world. It is reasonable to expect a future king to be born of a king and queen. God demonstrated that His ways are not always our ways or what we expect them to be.
- Jesus, the most important person ever is born in the barn and placed in a feeding trough. Not quite the accommodations one would expect for a future king.
- Jesus’ birth announcement is sent to farmers. Once again, not likely people to be the first to hear “the Son of God is born! The one who will save us is sleeping in a trough in the barn in Bethlehem!”
- We see God time and again use the least likely individuals to accomplish the most amazing feats. God didn’t use the superstars to make His plan happen. He used a bunch of nobodies who where willing to obey.
And Mary said, “My soul praises the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior because he has looked with favor on the humble condition of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and his name is holy. His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him. He has done a mighty deed with his arm; he has scattered the proud because of the thoughts of their hearts; he has toppled the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly. He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering his mercy to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he spoke to our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55
Talk About It
- Have you ever felt like God asked you to do something bigger, or more important than you believed you could handle? How did you respond? What was the outcome?
- What type of people does God usually pick to do His work? Why?
- Why do you think God decided to use the ordinary people to participate in the preparation and arrival of His son?
- We see examples where Jesus makes statements that seem contrary to what we might expect. Jesus says, “Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5. Why does this seem so bizarre? What do you think Jesus is means?
- What’s the opposite of humble? What happens when we are proud?
Challenge this week: Take a few minutes and ask God to reveal areas of you life where you may not be humble/demonstrating humility. Once He’s revealed it to you ask Him to begin walking with you and begin showing you what it looks like to respond/react in humility.
The Bible Project:
Matt Chandler: Magnify